Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 152: An Interview w/ the Groom (to be)

I'm writing this post from my comfy, fluffy bed in Los Angeles. It feels SO GOOD to be back in California.  Never one to stay in one place for long.... I'm headed to San Francisco Thursday night to spend some long-overdue time with my fiancé.

Speaking of Michael, this project would have been impossible without his support and encouragement.  He calls himself my "cheerleader" (awww!) and really has been unwavering in helping me stick to my "rules" - even when it's inconvenienced him.  Like that time I "requested" that he help me cover the vanity mirrors in our first place in San Francisco, and dragged him to a record store in the creepy Tenderloin district in search of something bohemian-esque...  I digress.

Anyhoo, it's been almost 4 months since Day 0, and I haven't yet asked Michael to tell his side of this story.   (Also, the theme for this month's Feminist Fashion Bloggers post is "Dating and Relationships."  What perfect timing!)  I "interviewed" Michael on the phone tonight.  This was our conversation:

KJERSTIN: What were your first thoughts when I told you I wanted to avoid mirrors for a year?
MICHAEL: Ummm... it was the same reaction I had when I first met you.  My first thought: this is interesting and exciting.  My second thought: shit. this is going to be a pain in my ass!
KJERSTIN: Ha. Ha. Very funny.  But seriously though...
MICHAEL: Well, I thought it was a creative idea. It was also just cool to see you so excited about something.  You'd been having a hard time.  
KJERSTIN: Totally.  What has it been like being my partner during this project?  Has it been any different?
MICHAEL: I'm proud of you.  I've enjoyed watching you follow through on something you're passionate about.  You're really doing this!  But, it's definitely altered our trajectory a little bit.  We've had to work our lives around the project, both physically and sometimes emotionally.  I never thought I'd be on a blog.  I'm a more private person than you.
KJERSTIN: Yeah, I do try to respect that. By the way, thanks for letting me post those camping pics of you in your undies that one time!
MICHAEL: You still owe me about 2 hours of backrub for that.
KJERSTIN: Right. Ask me tomorrow. So, have you noticed any changes in me? Good?  Bad?
MICHAEL: Yeah, I have actually, a little bit.  It has been interesting.  I definitely noticed that you don’t prim and prep as much as you did before. Really, not under any circumstances, these days.  Before - especially if we were going out or something - I felt like you’d be fluffing about in the bathroom forever. Now I feel like you’re out of the house in a halfway reasonable time.  It probably takes you 15 to 20 minutes to get all of your shit done… but, hey, it’s not an hour anymore!  That’s progress, right?
KJERSTIN: Wait, I never took an hour to get ready in the morning!
MICHAEL: Right, an hour was for times we were going out, like on the weekend.  You didn't take too much time getting ready on an average day.   But now on a normal day you just put your hair in a ponytail and we’re out the door.  It's great.
KJERSTIN: So the big change is that I don't wear as much makeup and don't do my hair as much?
MICHAEL: Well, frankly, you don't look that much different.  I didn't notice any big change in your appearance, I just noticed that we're getting out of the house quicker.  
KJERSTIN: Well, I still am wearing some makeup.
MICHAEL: Yeah, but you're wearing a lot less.  And I think it's sexy.  It reminds me of my mom's cousin, who I've always thought was a strikingly beautiful woman.  She's had grey hair since her thirties - it's beautiful silver-white hair - and she's never dyed it.  She wears it proudly, and doesn't wear much makeup.  There's something so simple and appealing about it.    I look at her and think, wow, she's obviously self-confident and comfortable being herself. There is something really attractive about that.  And now there's the same thing going on for you... though I can't tell if you're actually comfortable being more minimalist, or if it's just an unavoidable effect of giving up the mirror!  
KJERSTIN: It's a little of both, I think.  It started as a necessity, but I'm getting more confident.  No Makeup Mondays have helped!
MICHAEL: I like it.  I think it's really sexy.  You have beautiful eyes and beautiful cheeks, and I see you more now.  And since you're not wearing much makeup I can actually see your skin instead of a layer of film and gunk, and stuff.
KJERSTIN: Film and gunk!??!  Hey now!  You never complained about it before.
MICHAEL: Well, whatever.  There's just something really nice about you being just you, without the costume.
MICHAEL: But I also think it feels more special now when you DO wear more makeup.  You've made it meaningful instead of mundane, because it marks special occasions.  Now when you take the time to put on a lot of eye makeup - and I still don't know how you do it! - it's a signal that we're going to have a special night.  Even though I think you're beautiful without makeup, I also think it's okay to go through some of the courting formalities on special occasions.  Maybe that's just the Kentucky boy in me.  We're getting all dressed up in silly formal clothes for our wedding.   And that's okay, because it's an important day and we want it to stand out and feel special compared to all the other days.  Maybe on a smaller scale, it's the same when you wear more makeup now. It feels special.
San Francisco.  How romantic! :)
KJERSTIN: Have your own appearance habits changed since I started avoiding mirrors?
MICHAEL: I don't think so.  I'm forced to look in the mirror a little bit less since most of the mirrors at home are covered. But I still use one every morning when I shave.  I don't think I was too mirror-focused before.
KJERSTIN: Whatever, I see you admiring yourself sometimes!  You've been more into fashion since you moved to California.
Indeed, this is how Michael's pants fit, B.C.
(Before California!) 
MICHAEL: (Laughs) Okay, that's probably true.  Moving to California helped me feel comfortable wearing more fashionable clothes.  There's more freedom here.  Nobody questions your masculinity or sexuality if you wear your jeans in the proper size.  I think in other places I've lived, caring about my appearance wasn't manly.  Here, there are more options for self-expression, for men especially, I mean.  There's a wide degree of acceptance here... not that I'm one to really push the envelope!
KJERSTIN: Well, I think you look great!
MICHAEL: Yeah, well you ought to!  You might not realize it, but ever since you stopped looking in the mirror you've been a lot more interested in helping me pick out my clothes.  A few weeks ago you cleared out my closet, and talked me into buying a bunch of new stuff at the Gap.  
KJERSTIN: You needed new jeans and t-shirts, AND it was all 30% off! 
MICHAEL: Yeah.  But I also know you miss experimenting with fashion.  Putting together outfits used to be a bigger part of your life.
KJERSTIN: Okay, now you're making me feel a little sad.  At least buying shoes is still fun!  
MICHAEL: Yeah, in an "I can't stop buying shoes" kind of way.
KJERSTIN: SHHHH!  I haven't told them that yet!  Okay, we have to stop now.  I'm writing too much.  Readers will get bored and grow cross-eyed.
MICHAEL: We wouldn't want that!  Alright.  I love you. Goodnight.
KJERSTIN: I love you too.  Goodnight. 

So there you have it.  Thanks for inspiring this, Feminist Fashion Bloggers! This exercise helped me learn a few things about my partner and myself. :)

P.S. I must give proper credit: all of the photos on this post (except the lame one of Michael's baggy shorts) were taken by Lisa and Geoff Bardot, the insanely talented photography duo behind The Goodness photo and design.  I feel so lucky that they'll be snapping memories of our wedding in October. This is them:
Lisa + Geoff = Genius Photographers.
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  1. It sounds like you have a very supportive partner in many ways. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Really interesting to hear his perspective on it!

  3. Yeah, he's pretty great! It was nice that he was willing to chat "on the record" because he is a lot more private than I am.

  4. Found your blog through Yahoo. I started from the beginning, it has taken me several days to finish it. (Reading via iPhone took more time).
    Inspiring! Courages! Honest!
    Thank you.

  5. Great interview. I am so glad that you and Michael found each other.
    He is the exact kind of man that my daughter needs (eventually)...

    Have you notice that you and Lisa Bardot bear a striking resemblance
    to each other?

    Thanks for today's post.


  6. Marilyn! What a compliment! Lisa is gorgeous. :)

  7. Now that there's a picture of picture of my backside on the web, I really expect to cash in that backrub this weekend!

  8. I just want to tell you that you are beautiful! I have self esteem issues even though other people have told me I am pretty or beautiful ( my hubby) but I just don't see that. I am now trying to look in the mirror less. You have inspired me! Thank You!

  9. Fun interview! I was wondering about your mirror project...what do you do when you go to a store or a public bathroom and there are mirrors? Do you just not look at them?

  10. first of all beautiful pictures!! I love reading your blog. I'm trying to not worry about how I look everyday. The truth is no one really cares and my husband always thinks I'm beautiful!! Keep up the good work!! Mary

  11. what very fun photos. I love that your shared your special guys part of the story and I think it must feel so amazing to hear him say those things about you...who needs a mirror when the people you love make you feel prety just with a glance right?

  12. Fascinating. I especially like this quip of his:
    You might not realize it, but ever since you stopped looking in the mirror you've been a lot more interested in helping me pick out my clothes.

  13. This day was my birthday, and it made me smile. Thanks for being awesome

  14. I am inspired by your blog. My boyfriend is always telling me to stop wearing makeup. He says that even though I look different with/without makeup I still look like me. He tried to take a picture of me without makeup and I was upset and covered my face. Later I thought, why does that make me so upset? Why do I believe that I cannot look pretty without makeup? Which is not how I feel at all. While I am not going to stop looking in mirrors I am going to do my best to look at myself through my eyes and not how I believe others see me. Thank you for putting your heart into this project.

  15. Great interview! It's so nice to find out a bit more about him and how he sees your project!

    I may give the mirrorless thing a try for a weekend, or maybe even a week!

  16. I loved hearing his perspective! It's nice for woman to hear a guy say he likes you without make up because of what it says about your confidence inside. I totally agree!

    I've been reading this for about a month (after one long initial catch up) and I noticed you are getting the occasional negative comment about you and how you look. I hope you aren't giving a second thought to any of those. You are really and truly beautiful and you have great fashion sense too!
    I love the pictures, especially the umbrella one. Keep doing what you do and pay no attention to the negative meanies!

  17. Hey, I read the article about your blog in Huffington Post. I didn't know the story behind this blog and you are very brave. I commend you and I think it's wonderful you are taking the focus off your looks. I'm sure it will be life-changing in a great way!

  18. I don't think Michael deserves a backrub for a 'picture of [his] backside' since it's practically under a bustle. I mean, those are some seriously baggy shorts! Maybe he deserves a backrub for other stuff... but that is NOT a backside shot. Sorry.

  19. I just read your article on yahoo's front page! Your story moved me so strongly I wanted to comment, to tell you how powerful your story was for me. You are amazing!! I have also struggled with both eating disorders and health issues as a result of trying to become "happy" with my appearance. It took about 10 years for me to recognize that altering the outside and not the inside also was futile. That I would never find" happy" that way. There was never anything wrong with how I looked, or what size I was, but something wrong with how I saw myself. I recognize that now. But I was so inspired by your realization that you had to change how you were doing things, and by how you ACTUALLY did! I hope that this past year has created new habits and confidence that will last you a lifetime! Being able to go somewhere and see people without spending that time obsessing and worrying about your appearance really allows you to LIVE life and enjoy the moments as they come. Although you are a beautiful person as society defines it, your confidence and self esteem are so beautiful and attractive too! Thank you for sharing your story!

  20. Also I just realized I posted this comment on a year old blog post and I am waaay off topic and appologize! UCLA article has linked to this post, so MY BAD!

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