Saturday, January 5, 2008
Looking for anything in Paris is kind of a drag because every single district tends to look the same, there are some subtle nuances to each one but they all retain a very monotonous Parisian flair.
Looking for a thrift store in Paris is another challenge, the French do not necessarily make the concept of thrift readily available; gone are the days of Buffalo Exchange and shoplifting at Goodwill stores. That is not to say that there are no stores such as this within the city, they are just hard to come by. When one does come across one it is quite a treat because of the quality of the clothing.
Cheap Versace for the burgeoning Versace ghetto thug look so prevalent in metropolitan outskirts. Prada and Dior from the 1970’s and 1980’s with flawless construction and a faint mothball smell. One can neither deny the tasteful tackiness of bright flowered apron dresses or the refinement of checkered dress pants for 20 something dudes that wear scruff because it is the only way that they can pass off as attractive in scenester visual vernacular.
A treat indeed, and such treats as this can easily be uncovered in one particular area of Paris called Le Marais. Le Marais is a maze-like quarter with fag hangout spots and impeccable boutiques with garments from Japan made by shy patient Asian girls; among other things like Ted Baker or conventional Diesel stores. In one particular area of Le Marais owned exclusively by Jewish merchants, there are roughly two or three amazing thrift stores that should be considered a must for anyone in search for anything other than uniform wear sold by the mainstream.
On a boring Thursday afternoon it is definitely redeeming to shoplift or “buy” amazing clothing from places such as this, it just tends to make the day a little brighter after finishing your second can of Amsterdam beer.
Walking through the racks is a bit tedious, especially from a guy’s perspective. There is much more attention to be drawn on the selection of clothing for women. Even ‘Your’s Truly’ has to compromise by purchasing jackets made for women that are somewhat unisexual. But one can understand the envy that arises from coming across beautiful dresses and other wonders that women can so often take for granted. I take the risk like sounding like a total fucking fag right now but I will take it, coming across clothes like this make me wish I was a chick. Excluding the fact that if I was I chick I would most likely be a total gang bang whore, I would more than likely be clothes crazy.
But alas, I have a cock and I don’t have long hair to play with. Also I can not, in my right mind, wear amazing dresses. Although, this does not mean that I can not dress girls up like Barbies in any which way that I want, isn’t this the reason why Karl Legerfeld and AIDS exists? But this isn’t just any girl that I want, my tastes are more specific, and there’s more to this than physical beauty. In thrift store places such as this I long to be around those girls with very vague particularities that I can only describe in retarded descriptions.
Finally, I arrive at my point for this particular article.
The Sophia Coppolla Girls.
There are times when I wish I was straight, really. Especially when I come across girls that I can only describe as Sophia Copolla Girls. Ladies such as this make me wonder if I could settle for soft skin and supple natural breasts instead of throbbing hard cocks and hairy chests. More often than not, I can only admire and befriend them from a platonic distance within a fag hag relationship construct.
There are physical attributes to these types of girls that are quite discernible, but surprisingly enough a lot of what gives a girl a Sophia Coppola quality comes from within.
Now, to clarify I must elaborate on the fact that I am referring to the female characters from pretty much all of the Sophia Coppola films; except Marie Antoinette. I am, in fact, referring to the female characters from: Lick The Star (Kill the Rats), Virgin Suicides, and Lost in Translation.
Each of the female characters in these films possesses feminine mystique in it’s most raw of forms. These are not babes or Gwen Stefani types, but rather beautiful girls that can be beautiful without the use of make-up or big tits. The operative word here is ‘natural.’
To me, these are females that at 27 are still able to retain a lot of the fascinating qualities that make them girls. As someone that understands the patriarchal society from which I come from, I have often said that I will never understand the degree to which girls have been fucked with psychologically by their commercial culture and familial background.
A constant confrontation by society telling someone that they should behave or look a certain way can only, I imagine, do wonders to one’s own sense of identity. Bitches and Ho’s have a reason to get angry.
But this isn’t a written qualm directed towards the passe sentiments of the feminist revolt. This is, at least to me, a written admiration and homage to the girls that are still able to remain, for the most part, unadulterated girls within a mass consumer nation.
As a person that holds a strong disdain for the reasoning of a woman that feels the need to mask herself with layers of colorful wax in order to be perceived as a ‘woman’, I am enamored whenever I come across girls that disregard this constant need for make-up. I can only back up my disdain by describing instances when I get to know a girl only when she wears make-up, and then I am surprised to find that I can’t recognize her without it.
It is quite hard for me to describe the simplistic yet complex feminine mystique that I associate to the Sophia Copolla girls. It is, for the most part, an abstract notion that I can only point out once I come across it; and even then I can only blurt out, “That’s so Sophia Copolla girls.”
I will loosely elaborate on characters from the Virgin Suicides from the Jeffrey Eugenides novel and the visual language behind Coppola’s film adaptation of these characters; primarily the Lisbon sisters. Lux Lisbon,Mary Lisbon,Cecilia Lisbon,Therese Lisbon, & Bonnie Lisbon
It is appropriate to state that the story, Virgin Suicides, does not originate from the girls’ perspective but rather from the perspective of several neighborhood boys and their reflections of the past when they all had this infatuation, this obsession,with these ideal girls. These girls are presented as these kind of magical, beautiful creatures.
This curiosity and infatuation is best illustrated with a very poignant scene in which one of the boys, after being invited to the Lisbon household for dinner, casually rummages through Cecilia Lisbons belongings. He picks up a chap stick and smells the flavor which causes him to daydream about Lux Lisbon (Kirsten Dunst). He is also drawn to the packed shelves of Tampax and other girl products and that he would normally never come across. The boys locker room will always be 275 feet away from the girls locker room, and that will inevitably give anyone warped perceptions about the opposite sex.
The horror of being in high school is only a faint nostalgia to me. The aspect of pretending to be something that I am not at 15 is now a mere novelty, and only because I refuse to take my identity seriously. Then again, these are things that matter a great deal when one is caught within the subjective constructs of life between recess, lunch, after school, home, and prom night. Even then, this is my interpretation as a boy, and then again what I know is very limited. The construct that high school girls create for themselves and their group of friends is in a way the blueprint that precedes the real life outside high school, the life worth fighting for; or so it seems.
Sophia Coppola illustrates the justifiable turmoil quite well with an early film titled,”Lick the Star.” In the most simplistic of terms the story is:
1. Girl has friends.
2. Girl and friends dislike another group of girls.
3. Girl and friends decide to poison one of the members of another group.
4. Plan is set, rat poison is used.
5. Friends of Girl change their mind and conspire against Girl.
6. Girl is ostracized from original group of friends or any other clique and is left to walk halls of school by herself.
A simple explanation, I know, but it works as a way to illustrate that a high school experience for a girl is quite different from a boys’. Everything that is talked about in all those teen dramas and Mean Girls blockbusters is, for the most part, true. This kind of social behavior is embedded within a a lot of us, and we are left listening to Nine Inch Nails thinking that we can’t trust anyone; until we grow out of it and get pregnant or become other kinds of cliches.
Sophia Coppola girls are able to communicate longing and sexuality in a way that does not require words, or even tangible notions or signals. The manner in which a girl plays with her chewed gum is enough of a key into a girl’s subconscious realm. A scene such as the one in which Lux Lisbon and Trip Fontaine (Josh Hartnett) are sitting in a car outside of the Lisbon household making out is strong in it’s implication of innocent sexuality. Before Lux gets out of the car, she kisses Trip Fontaine and leaves her chewed gum in his mouth. This is a layer into a central characters personality and motivation in expressing intimacy.
Nothing is completely accessible within girl characters such as these, and it is much more apparent and elusive when one encounters real life Sophia Coppola girls. This factor of elusiveness is better underlined when I admit that I will never understand the extent to which girls have been fucked with by the world around them; to the point that it is almost invisible or even mistakenly instinctual by nature.
Much like the scene between the child psychologist (Danny DeVito) and Cecilia Lisbon when she is asked why she tried to kill herself and that she doesn’t know enough about pain. Cecilia responds by saying, “Obviously doctor, you’ve never been a 13 year old girl.”
Aside from the fact that I enjoy that I never really know what Sophia Coppola girls are thinking, I also love how the one’s that I know in real life look amazing in thrift store clothing. Their aloof nature makes me wish I liked pussy, or at least makes me wish I was one of them.
A common add on to the aloofness is a drive toward mild self destruction that is often very attractive. Whether emotional or physical carelessness over personal safety, I can always count on a haunting smile over any dangerous endeavour that I share with any Sophia Coppola girl that I encounter.
Like a lot of us in the other sexual gender, these girls are affected or even somewhat damaged by their past; sometimes I can only describe such traits as, “Daddy’s little girl at 24.”
When I hold their hair as they are puking the night away in a toilet in Oakland or an Echo Park party, I look at our awkward reflection in the mirror and recognize them as my equal but respect them for the distinguishable and obvious attributes that I can only hope to understand.
As I help them fit into a sweater that we stole from an American Apparel store I look at the scars on their wrists not with shock or ignorance, but with an understanding that their pain can sometimes come from a deeper place that is closely connected to the earth itself.
Even as we smoke too many bowls of pot inside of their Honda Civic outside of their parents house in Downey, I can imagine myself being one of them; because we are them. Without the menstrual bleeding of course.
Pass the apple buttercup.