Distractify

If you are a yoga teacher, or have been in a yoga class at any time in the last decade, you well know the sound of a metal water bottle crashing triumphantly to the floor, the sacrificial divas of lost balance and forgotten edges.

About three months ago, after Savasana, I started saying, “Be careful of what’s over there, but roll over to your right side.”

I figured it was worth a shot to remind people, not of where the edge actually is, but to consider where it might be.

The day before Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, Henriette Caillaux, the French Prime Minister’s wife, was acquitted of murder four months after she shot and killed the editor of Le Figaro newspaper, Gaston Calmette. Her exoneration was donned as an explicable crime of passion, an act of sacrifice on behalf of her husband’s honor, and of course, due to her condition as a woman, emotional instability.

The story dominated French news and shared front page space in the newspapers with the Archduke’s demise, of which set in motion all the wheels that turned toward global panic and outright war.

When World War 1 began, the French populace had been distracted for months with the sensationalism of the Caillaux drama.

We are not new to distraction or media sensations. We, as humans, are easily excitable even when we think we’re focused on the most incredible, indelible, and important story at hand.

I read about the precedence of the Caillaux story in reading a narrative nonfiction book on the life of Claude Monet, who himself was wrapped up in the drama and did not see the outset of war as a realistic possibility. A man of means, when the war did break out, he was mainly concerned with rations of meat, alcohol, and gasoline in order to fund his lifestyle of breakfast wine and canvas-buying jaunts.

Of its own accord, the Caillaux trial is fascinating and strangely relevant. Only when it is placed in the context of history does it sound more like trivial, dangerous, self-serving news coverage than a comment on the legacy of patriarchy.

Which begs the question - where are we distracted now?

Even if we are not careening toward outright disaster, which seems highly suspect if not generously optimistic, what of all the optional disasters is it exactly that we will crash into, head-first and with all the warnings we’ve read about, only below the fold?

It’s been three months, and zero water bottles have crashed to the floor. I know it sounds dramatic, but I teach an average of 18 classes a week, so it is, actually, dramatic. All anyone needed was a gentle reminder. Nothing scandalous, nothing calling for too much attention, and certainly any bottle casualty is an accident. Just a quick nod toward where one might be in space at a given time. It seems like we might need this more than we know.

Rabbi

29/30.

Apologies if you have lip fillers, but they make everyone look like a Mrs. Potato Head. One in a long list of trends I do not understand, especially in LA.

As someone who only occasionally has a sense of style, I have figured out a hack for dressing in this city: take what you think is a good idea for an outfit, and swap out one piece of it with a completely random item.

Tonight I wore yoga leggings, a jean jacket and Vans, but instead of a shirt, I wore a sports bra. Ta-da! Fixed it.

One time I was on the MTA in NYC and a lithe girl wearing one of those medium-wide black hats was blocking the doors. An older gentleman got on and asked her, politely, to move.

“Sorry,” she said.

He looked up at her, in her boxy sleeves and purposely under-done makeup and he blinked, asking:

“Are you a rabbi?”

I snorted outwardly so it sounded like a cough, and then it made me cough, and the would-be rabbi glared at me which is not the level of dignity I would expect from a clergy person.

The first time I saw models in real life was in Paris in high school. Someone in our group was shopping for a prom dress in some high-end stores and the rest of us tagged along because we did not have parents who would pay for such things. As Jen tried on her third, black satin number, I ditched off to the Louvre with my friend Chloe to see my favorite sculpture for the second time.

They were staging a fashion show on the floor under the glass pyramids, and two of the models walked by, all legs and hollowed out eyes, moving with the grace of giraffes and the width of paper dolls.

“When they put makeup on they’re stunning,” my friend Chloe said.

“They look dead.”

“Yeah.” But she said it in the wistful way.

My friend Kyla recently did an Instagram story series spoofing beauty routines where she held up normal items and gushed about them and then stiltingly used them on-camera.

“This is the most AMAZING face cleanser,” she said, holding up a Dove bar. “I think it’s like five dollars in select drugstores, but you can get it for cheaper if you buy in bulk on Amazon.”

It was one of my favorite things to happen on social media this year. I have nothing against the construct of social media; anything can be corrupted, subverted, made to be a shallow and divisive thing. There are bad people just as there are corruptible teachers, selfish drivers, and marauding rabbis. Where you fit, who you are, how you put the good in, that’s what crafts your experience just as it shapes the reality of the thing itself. I’m not going to get lip fillers no matter how many beauty bloggers talk about it. I do have an idea for a Mrs. Potato Head IG live though.

Blaq Mask

The label on the “blaq mask” said to check the website for instructions, and this is why it took me two months to try it because that seems really inefficient, and fuck you for not printing it on the bottle like responsible humans.

The website, in turn, has six simple steps, one of which is, “gaze at your fine self in the mirror,” so, five.

I don’t know where I get this from, except I do and it’s courtesy of my dad, that I can’t be bothered with printed instructions. I read them and immediately forget key elements like numbers and all the words in bold. If I’m cooking, I will read the same recipe 47 times to make sure I didn’t forget a step, and then realize I used a full tablespoon instead of a teaspoon of something important.

RIP pumpkin muffins, 2018.

Step number three of the famous charcoal face mask trending on social media is:

“Apply an even layer to your t-zone areas, avoiding the lips, hairline, and brows.”

Check. If only “t-zone” meant “your entire fucking face.”

As I swiped more of the staggeringly shiny goo on my cheek, I had a quick thought to how I hadn’t seen any photos of anyone covered in full on the website. Initially I had assumed this was due to the striking resemblance to black-face the company would rightly want to avoid. Especially as the bottle had a “share your selfie with #blaqmask” that I cringed at. But upon second look, all the models had a swift, fallen-Zorro-mask look. A quick strip across the nose and upper cheek, which even with my zero-sum skills at personal care I know is not the t-zone. That’s a minus sign.

I sat on the edge of my bed, watching paint dry, and googled more info, and there I found the video of poor Joanna, who put the mask on her whole face and then uploaded the sordid affair to YouTube. The deal with this experience is that the substance shrink-wraps to your skin so that what was once gooey tar is now duct tape and you are freeing yourself from a hostage situation. Between Joanna’s screams I took a look at my own face and cursed my impatience while also remaining impatient at the whole ordeal.

It started well enough, even if it was way less satisfying than advertised. How do such fresh-faced models have so much gunk to pull out of their pores? I got nothing. Some extra skin, and then some skin that wasn’t so extra and I would have preferred to leave it on my face.

The actual t-zone area came off with relative ease, as did my chin. Then I got to my cheeks, and the ghost of Joanna past came right up alongside. If you knew your bikini wax was going to look as bad as it felt, you wouldn’t get one, right? This is my FACE, I thought as I pulled patches of black strings as far as they would give, watching the meat of my cheek strain from the force. Finally, I had long seaweed strips hanging from the sides of my head when I gave up.

Since I had actually followed step one (apply a patch test in case you’re allergic,) I knew that the mask came off with warm water when it was in goo form. Which surely it would go back to with enough warm water. I let the tarry fruit leathers melt off in the shower, wondering why Joanna didn’t just do that too. Or why they didn’t add that to the instructions, but again, logistics did not seem to be the strong suit of the company.

Anyway, my cheeks have an enviable rosy glow, and I’m basically a beauty blogger now.