Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tight One On

When he was much, much younger, my now-handsomely adult brother used to give my mom tights. Every Christmas and birthday, he would proudly hand over a new pair or two, the rest of us would grouse about the predictability of it all, and she would graciously thank her toddler child, who was probably attracted to the bright colours and knew that, as a small child, legs were the most promininent feature of the visual field.

If I was a creepier older sister, I would crack wise about a nascent lingerie fetish, but that's so far offside that I wouldn't be able to see the side any more. Since, for once, I'm erring on the non-disgusting side of the mind - that would be the left side, probably - let's talk tights.

Much like cruiser-style bikes and fingerless gloves, tights are the perfect seasonal bridge. With cruiser bikes, you can coast into winter knowing you're upright and your brakes aren't quite as likely to crap out on you mid-yellow light. With the fingerless gloves, you retain your beer-bottle-opening dexterity and warmth into the chilly season. And tights provide the perfect way to showcase both your summer miniskirts and the leftover thigh muscles you earned through the aforementioned bicycling. They're all throwbacks and promises: remember when things were nice? Think they'll ever be nice again? God, I hope so.

On the especially chilly winter days, I like to layer up with two pairs of tights: one solid, one fishnet, for added warmth. Yeah, I know that's like putting on my finest mesh parka and claiming to be "totally toasty," but the teensy bit of added fabric makes a huge difference. I hate wearing pants (I'm the author of the permanently hiatused comic book"A Jihad Against Pants"), and prefer almost any other option. Short shorts? Bring 'em on. Summer dress? Obviously. Snow pants? I do make an exception there, since snowpants are inherently funny and totally awesome during urban blizzards, if only for the quizzical looks from the sushi resto staff. But tights + skirts + winter is usually a winning combination, of nothing more than it keeps me out of pants.

Despite American Apparel's attempt to sex up tights even more - Dov, they're skintight sheer pants with built in socks; the fetish is already there - by making an assless version, tights have a noble and lengthy history of being for the horsey, poncey set. They also have a variety of sordid cousings, like leggings, which are pretty much the sole domain of Professional Tragedy Lindsay Lohan. I'll be sticking with a nice, classy tight. Sure, the fishnet might add a little sass to the mix, but it's not like my ass is hanging out of my pantyhose. (Sheesh.)

Tights are just one of those little things, those seemingly unimportant details that make both a day and an outfit that much better. In the winter, when the days are short and the wind is just a-howlin', sexy miniskirts bring the mind to summer. Maybe my tot-sized bro, who was gifting my Scorpio mother during her personal high holidays, recognized the shot-in-the-arm value of a brightly coloured pick-me-up during the year's least skirt-friendly months. Or maybe he just really like legs. Either way, I'm feeling it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Toronaissance

I've been sort of up in the air lately, what with the impending graduation from university/getting of a real life that's hanging, Damocles-like, over my head. At first I was like, "I'll do grad school!" but, what with my terrible grades and questionable work ethic, I think grad school is going to have to wait until I have some modicum of self-discipline. Then I was like, "Maybe I'll go out West!" but, like with the '49ers, the rush for gold that may not be there isn't that stable. And by "gold," I mean, obviously, "cash money." Then I was like, "I'll go to Africa!" but it took me about 45 seconds to regain my senses and remember that I'm not that adventurous; volunteerism is awesome, obviously, but I'm not into getting eaten to death by the wildlife.

So, where does that leave me? It leaves me where I am now. It leaves me in Toronto, working towards a career in housing (if I have my way) or writing (if my mom can wrestle me into co-operation), or being a professional bum and money-ower (I'm amateur right now, what with OSAP and all). It leaves me having a tiny love affair with Toronto these days.

Oh, sure, the other day I was railing against the winter - we were in the middle of a cold snap that made me question my allegiance to Canada - but generally speaking, there's no other city I'd rather live in. Toronto is urban without being totally insane, with decent transit, great neighbourhoods, an active municipal government, a bitchin' park on the lake, tasty eats, great shopping, the foremost in current fake penis sculptures, good jobs, a variety of loud-'n'-proud scenes (bike, queer, sports, whatever), and

I know Toronto isn't perfect: the architecture can be terrible, the winters are grey and lame, and apartments are expensive. Even if I get into a housing co-op (oh yeah, living the dream!), it's still pretty pricey to live and work in the downtown core. However, there's nowhere else I want to be. Where else am I supposed to live? Milton? Oakville? Jeez Louise, that seems terrible. I love urban living, especially in Toronto, where core-dwellers still have access to things like groceries not bought from a bodega. The energy, the very Canadianess of the place, is so fun to be in. Whenever I go my parent's place, the small-town vibe is almost oppressively quaint; granted, my hometown is designed to be charming, and the encroaching seediness from outlying parts of town is especially disconcerting given that Stratford gives every impression of having some secret social eugenics program designed to obscure and weed out anyone not attractive/rich enough to mug for the limelight.

So, leaving the small town and coming to the Big Smoke was a good move, eventually, though the culture shock was actually fairly acute. After a while, though, adjustments were made and I got used to living in a bustling, vibrant place (which took a surprisingly long time, actually); I found friends and a passion, favourite places to be, libraries, restaurants, magazine shops and patios...all the hallmarks of a cosmopolitan city. Not to mention the chance to get outside of that small-town vibe, to create my own priority list. I have access to things that just don't exist the same way in other places: the Leslie Street Spit, for example, or co-op housing, or bikes. My love affair continues unabashedly.