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in the last week, I have lost

1) several important documents
2) a receipt for a letter the post office is holding for me
3) fifteen pounds
4) the boy I thought was the love of my life

and I have gained

1) a cold
2) the aforementioned boots from comptoir des cotonniers
3) a therapist
4) a new blog host


The documents may turn up. I can't get the letter without the receipt so I may never get the letter back. The weight will stay off unless I go to Italy again and stuff more pizza down my gorge. The boy may come back. The cold will go away. The boots are hot. The therapist may be a long-term committment. And we'll see about the blog host (get a sneak peek here)...

Stay tuned, and get ready to adjust your bookmarks and RSS feeds.


You thought I had holed myself up in some Parisian cave, didn't you.

I thought I had, too.

But this blog has never been about doing just one thing and sticking to it. So screw it. I sing. I mentioned that, I think. I'm tired of singing to myself. I've discovered how to put audio on my blog and life will never be the same. I just hope I don't drive all my readers away with my warbling!

This one goes out to all those lovebirds out there... and to all those pissed-off bitter ex-lovebirds, too. Maitresse sings: a snippet of Patty Griffin's "Rain."


the new reality

maitresse is on indefinite hiatus. please check back from time to time. I may have the heart to blog again. but I don't know when.



Maitresse style, part deux

Don't get me wrong: I love the Face Hunter.

But looking at the shots FH is presently blogging from Iceland, I am left to draw the following conclusions:

1) Either people in Iceland dress the way I did when I was eleven, or;
2) I had a really kickass sense of style in sixth grade.

Probably both statements are within a few degrees of accuracy.

I went to middle school at a time (this would be around 1990) when one of the hottest trends was layered, different colored slouchy socks. My favorite pair of socks were tye-dyed all the colors of the rainbow, and I wore them with my skintight white Farlow jeans (that's right, skinny jeans way back then, beeyotches). If you weren't layering your socks, then you had to pull down the slouches of your socks so they lay just so over your Keds. And god forbid your socks should be too thin; you could tell cool socks from dorky socks at a glance by the thickness of the weave. The socks had a label too, but I've forgotten what they were called.

Are you getting a sense of what middle school on Long Island was like? The only thing that could save you from social obsolescence was the labels you wore. "Clueless," which thinks it's a movie about fashionable teenagers in the nineties, didn't come close. Put "Heathers" together with "Mean Girls," take out the cathartic relief of the school blowing up or Rachel McAdams getting hit by a bus, and you have some idea of it: relentless peer judgment in a pressure cooker that never went off.

But there was a time, before Farlows, before I knew which were the cool socks and which ones the "dorky" ones, a naive time when I wore whatever inspired me in my drawer that morning: I had tights in some really electric colors, blue, fuschia, crazy patterns, and I would coordinate them to match or to contrast the colors in my outfit. One day, thus garbed, I arrived at school, and, judging from the way the kids were looking at me, I had the sneaking suspicion that I had gone too far. This is the first recollection I have of feeling like everyone else had received some brochure on "how to be cool" in the mail over the summer, and I had not.

I quickly turned to my best friend at the time, who was already beginning to stray from me to become best friends with a bland wisp of a thing called Meghan, and acted like we had decided it was going to be "crazy color day." "Why didn't you wear your crazy tights today?" I said to her, loudly enough to be overheard by anyone passing by who might deride me for, or be blinded by, my ensemble. "We said it would be crazy color day!"

In retrospect, I can't blame her for ditching me. I was trying to implicate her in my fashion faux pas.

Today, I tend to think, and think hard, when picking out an outfit. And I play it safe in that Parisian gamine vein; all my stuff comes from Claudie Pierlot and Comptoir des Cotonniers. But I saw a cool co-worker last week wearing violet tights with camel brown boots... and who knows. I might be tempted to deviate from my opaque black tights...

(If you're just discovering Face Hunter through this post, check out The Sartorialist while you're at it...)



I know, dearies, I haven't been posting much at all, at all, but there are big things to come, I promise. Time is precious now that I've started teaching again, and I want to make my postings just so. So. In lieu of a "real" post, an anecdotal one (which somehow always feels like cheating to me).

It was my birthday, right? and my family is far away in New York, right? so my mom, who is the best mom, told me to go pick something out for myself and put it on her credit card. So I went to "Le BM," as the French call it, pronounced bay-em and short for Le Bon Marché, which seems to me a rather scatalogical way of referring to the best department store in Paris, indeed the world, but alright. I went to Le BM around six pm, because I was giving an English lesson in the neighborhood at seven, thinking I could get in and have a quick look-- pre-shopping, if you will-- and then go back, more informed, when I had more time.

Big mistake. I should have known: if a French department store closes at seven pm, it really closes at six. I have never felt such a wave of cold stares assail me as I walked through each of the designer nooks in the first floor annex. Every salesgirl turned her back and started to play with a pile of sweaters, and I got the message loud and clear: "we're closing, don't make us do any additional work, like wait on you or clean up after you."

Determined to at least try on a pair of shoes, I approached the saleswoman asking for a 36 in a pair of brown boots, and at the last minute, a pair of 1940s-inspired robin's egg blue Mary Jane pumps. The boots, those Castaners with the rubber bottoms, were awkward and looked kind of cheap. I mentally resolved to buy the ones at Comptoir des Cotonniers I had seen over the weekend.

But the pumps, oh my. They looked so kicky, so funky on the display. But when I put them on, I realized the chunky strap, a contrasting shade of beige leather fastened with--I kid you not--Velcro, actually resembled an Ace bandage. I made a face and started taking them off.

"You don't like them?" the saleswoman asked wearily.

"No," I said apologetically, and offered a rationale, as I've noticed women tend to do here: "I think the strap is too thick, it's too bulky."

She sniffed. "It's true that it takes a certain--" she paused-- "style, to carry them off."

I stared at her. Was this woman actually suggesting that I didn't have the style to carry off a two hundred euro Ace bandage? Dita Von Whatever-her-name-is the queen of burlesque could put them on and they would still look fugly.

"Sans doute," I said, coldly, and took my Converse-clad self away from there, feeling at the same time vaguely insulted and derisive. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt: she had probably had a long day.

(of customers complaining about the strap)


Et la Maîtresse fût

October 10th, 1978. Game One of the World Series. Yankees versus Dodgers, away game.

October 10th, 1978. Yom Kippur begins at sundown.

October 10th, 1978. My mom goes into labour. There is not a single doctor to be found at North Shore Hospital, on Long Island, NY. The Jews are home fasting. The Gentiles are in front of the TV. Hell, I think my dad was too. He didn't make it in time for my debut sur scène.

October 11th, 1978, 5:34 am. In the immortal words of Tristram Shandy, I am born. And so is a Mommy.

Happy Birthday to both of us.

photo by Musings Orchards


looking and listening

I've been quiet lately. That's largely because my iBook is currently in critical condition at the Apple Emergency Room after shutting off and going into a state they call "kernel panic," which basically means it won't turn back on.

But it's also because I've had so much to do since I came back from Italy that I haven't had time to blog about the trip, or Festival America, or any of the other things I've been up to that might be post-worthy.

What it comes down to, however, is not computer failure or lack of time. It's that I'm in one of my hazes, what happens when things are fulminating and I'm taking in a lot of information but am not really processing it. I'm mulling a lot of things over right now. I'm just living one day to the next and trying not to default on any of my responsabilities.

I'm turning twenty-eight this week. I can't even bring myself to plan a party. I can't commit to a date and a location. I just feel very fluid about it.

I've even stopped wearing my iPod when I go places. It was because of the computer failure, initially-- it ran out of battery and needed the computer to be turned on to charge. But even after I bought a charger I haven't used it. It's just another complication; another layer distancing me from where I am. It's having to be conscious of one more thing, the discomfort of headphones and the wire hanging down my front leading into my pocket.

I think N and I are going to go out of town for the weekend. I think maybe when I get my computer back I'll plug myself back in.