Love Is Strange And So Are We

Look, Dames Nation. We could hide it from you, but we have to live in our truth: we are trash for Wes Anderson movies.

Live footage of Your Dames preparing to Turn Up

It’s not that we disagree with all the jokes about the profound whiteness of Wes Anderson making a movie about a magazine inspired by The New Yorker. We are just also sometimes incapable of denying our love for highly saturated images of many fine, tiny things centered in frame just so. And our fondness for obscure needle drops. And our passion for emotionally devastating lines delivered as quietly as possible. So obviously, we’ve watched the trailer for Andrerson’s upcoming film The French Dispatch many, many times already. Join us as we watch it again:

Livetweet Reminder: To All The Boys 2: P.S. I Still Love You, This Sunday, 7:30 PM!

We fell head over heels for Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky when they first graced our screens in 2018, and, thanks to Dame Margaret attending an advance screening last week, we can assure you with absolute confidence that its sequel is, somehow, impossibly, every bit as effervescent, emotionally nuanced, and captivating as the first. We are so excited to watch this one with you!

Who: YOU, darling Dames Nationals! Bring a friend! 

Special Guest: Joining us will by the inimitable Maurene Goo, the author of many great YA novels such as Somewhere Only We Know ( Roman Holiday, but make your royalty K-Pop instead of patrilineal) and I Believe in a Thing Called Love (what if everything you knew about romance was gleaned from K-dramas), and a certified Lara Jean fanatic. We are so excited to see what she adds to the conversation!

When: Sunday, February 16 at 7:30 PM ET

Where: Watch on Netflix and howl delightedly with us on Twitter using the hashtag #ToAllTheBoys2 or our handy thread, to be sent out the day of the grand event!

Dame Margaret’s Loosely Arranged Thoughts on Female Rage & Relationships

Anne Helen is absolutely correct: it *is* thrilling to watch Jennifer Aniston be so angry.

  • Recently, thanks to the influence of Notorious Morning Show Booster Christina Tucker, I watched all 10 episodes of Apple TV's utterly riveting but not exactly good flagship drama, The Morning Show. In addition to discussing it on my TV podcast (where we got into the value of a show where every decision is INTERESTING even when not all of them are good), I also really loved this piece from Anne Helen Peterson, who uses the show as a way to write about Jennifer Aniston's star image and female rage. I do not recommend infecting yourself with these particular brain worms but, if you do, please @ me (and Christina) so we can share our obsessive thoughts with one another.

  • Adjacent to the subject of female rage is the complex trauma of the friend breakup. I have two links pertinent to that subject to share with you. First, from the wonderful Laura Lippman, comes the essay “The Art of Losing Friends and Alienating People” in which Lippman reflects on what it’s like to watch Sondheim’s friend breakup musical Merrily We Roll Along when you’re the friend dumpee instead of the friend dumper. Second, is #damespal and former guest editor Amy Spalding’s terrific YA novel We Used To be Friends, which tells the story of a friend breakup from two perspectives, but with an interesting extra twist: one character’s narrative is moving forward in time, while the other character’s narrative is moving backwards. I really loved this book— it wrecked me, but in such a nice way. 

  • Combining the themes of female rage and emotionally fraught break-ups, this essay by Zan Romanoff (yet another previous guest editor— it’s not our fault that we only feature superstars!) is one of the best I have read on the subject of the emotional process of learning that a foundational artistic influence (in this case, David Foster Wallace) was a reprehensible human being (here, specifically, a physically and emotionally abusive intimate partner), by way of examining the recent memoir by Wallace’s editor and sometimes partner Adrienne Miller.

  • And finally, for something purely lighthearted and excessively trashy, I come bearing news concerning not one but two dating shows on Netflix. First comes the unambiguously positive but less immediately helpful news that Netflix’s surprisingly terrific show Dating Around is getting a second season that will drop sometime this year! If you missed the first season when it aired last year, however, this is a great moment to binge it— with six half-hour episodes, its runtime amounts to only 1.2 Marvel movies (or 0.8 The Irishmans, depending on how you prefer to count)  and (save for the first episode) it’s a welcome change from dating TV shows that seem to take place in a world where no one who isn’t white, straight, and under 27-years-old exists. If you have already watched Dating Around, I have news of mixed utility for you: Netflix did premiere a new dating show today and there are 5 episodes (out of a total 10) that you can binge right now: Love Is Blind, a show from the team that brought you Married at First Sight, the premise of which is that people must agree to marry one another without ever seeing what the other person looks like. It is not good and, robbing the show of much of its potential for dramatic tension, every single contestant included is a regulation hottie. But it is extremely addictive and I am going to watch it in its entirety. I know this about myself. If you are looking to make a low-stakes bad decision, please join me, and then we can all yell about whether what Nick and Vanessa Lachey do should actually count as “hosting.”

Bonus Content: Lara Jean-ie Miniskirt Roundup

  • IF you don’t wear skirts but still want some Lara Jean related retail therapy, there is some Korean skincare (you know LJ has a complex routine) on sale this weekend. The brand Neogen is 20% off on Amazon today and many products from Dr. Jart— including this gift set featuring a nearly full-size jar of the Color Correcting Cicapair day cream that has been a staple of my morning face care for over a year now— are on sale this weekend at Sephora.

  • For reasons beyond my comprehension, ASOS's options for plus-size miniskirts are nowhere near as robust as they should be. However, I did find three I find "Lara Jeanie" enough to include here. A denim wrap-skirt, with very charming side-button details, is available in both mid-wash blue denim and washed black denim (14-24) . And this flippy black mini, while simple, makes an ideal blank canvas for any number of cute tops and sweaters.

  • The most obvious recommendation I have is for ASOS's scallop-hem miniskirts. Unfortunately only available in straight sizes (00-14), they are nevertheless too cute to overlook. I own this skirt in.... four colors. They are very me, *very* Lara Jean, and relatively affordable— $35 even when full price, and frequently on sale. 

  • This black denim wrap skirt is one of the most fetching items of clothing I own at present. The a-line cut really does make my waist look very small while the short length makes my legs look very long. And the fabric looks equally good with a cute sweater or a plain t-shirt tucked into it. 

  • This ditsy floral skirt* (0-14)— just $26— is already sold out in many sizes. But it would look so good with a cream mock-turtleneck tucked into it that I simply must include it. 

  • This belted, wide-wale corduroy miniskirt with utility pockets (0-14) is so Lara Jean that I am almost surprised it wasn't actually featured in the movie. 

  • I am not entirely certain how I feel about this box-pleat plaid miniskirt made out of jersey (0-14), but it's only $12.50 and, if it DOES work in person, it could be a very cute addition to your wardrobe. 

  • This plaid wool miniskirt with prominent zippers is available in grey (full price of $48, but available in most sizes between 0-14) and red (on sale for $28.50, but not available in every size) is a strong look for winter. 

  • Although Lara Jean does not often go in for midi-length skirts, thisolive-colored polka dot jersey skirt (0-14) feels LJ-adjacent, and at $19.50, including it feels like the right choice.

  • There is also a very similar one in carnation pink that's a more Lara Jean miniature length (0-14). On sale, so only available in limited sizes, you can also find this silhouette in white with black polka dots (only $8.50?????) and yellow with scattered black floral.

  • If you want something to pair with the skirts, allow me to recommend Uniqlo’s crew neck and turtleneck cashmere sweaters (XXS-XXL, on sale for just $49.90) or their crew neck and ribbed turtleneck (MACHINE WASHABLE) merino wool sweaters (XXS-XXL, $39.90 and $29.90 respectively). They are all plain, but the available colors are wonderful, and the fibers used are really high-quality and they will last you a good long time. 

  • And, most importantly, let me note that many of these skirts (and sweaters!) have been made for many seasons running, which also means that many of them are available for less money on Poshmark. Just browse through “ASOS miniskirts” limited by your size— and see what you can find for mere pennies. Less expensive and more sustainable— it’s a win-win. One note: if it’s not specified, check in with your seller before you purchase to make sure the garment you’re buying is listed under its US size rather than its UK size. Have only just barely avoided buying a cute skirt that would have been two sizes too small for me when it arrived, I speak to you from the heart, and hope you heed my warning.   

*Fun fact: when applied to patterns, “ditsy” means a small-scale, dense floral, like the one on this skirt. I am not, in this case, attempting to insult this skirt’s intelligence. And anyway, the term that refers to a hyper-feminine dim bulb is “ditzy”.

Dame Sophie’s Self-Referential Tidbits

A truth universally acknowledged (by this newsletter)

Hi, Friends! As Dame Margaret mentioned last week, I’ve been writing my little heart out, recapping the new adaptation of High Fidelity for Vulture. As of this writing, the first three episode recaps are up (Ep 1 | Ep 2 | Ep 3) and the rest will go up over the course of the weekend (there will be ten total). 

This show isn’t perfect (I think the final episode is wobblier than it should be, especially considering how assured the other nine are) but it pulls off something I would have thought impossible by giving us reasons to care about a self-absorbed mess of a record store owner in the Year of Our Beyoncé 2020. Zoë Kravitz’s Rob is still an emotional trash heap, but we can see more of what’s lovable about her in this adaptation, and best of all, she’s surrounded by appealing supporting characters who love and care for her, and who keep the fun quotient high, even when she’s mired in a funk of sad bastardness. There’s substantially more joy and sincere friendship in this iteration of the story, and TV Rob is part of her record store’s broader community from the beginning in a way that John Cusack’s Rob in the film was not. It’s a small treasure, and very gracefully manages to incorporate homages to its source material while being entirely its own thing, so whether you come to it as a fan of the book or film or with entirely fresh eyes, if you like music, or stories featuring unreliable narrators, or stories about friendship and romance, this could be a good show for you!

The other thing I want to share is a piece I co-wrote with beloved past guest editor Karen Corday, about our decades-long fascination with SARK and Sarah Ban Breathnach, 1980s & 1990s queens of the self-help genre. We wanted to shine a light on these Vintage Beautiful Life Brand Ladies, who are still influencing the influencers to this day, though they seem not to be household names anymore, and the more we revisited their work, the more connections to contemporary self-care practices we found. Gratitude journaling! Live, Laugh, Love aesthetics! Feminism that’s more about individuality than dismantling systemic oppression! At the same time, we admire their career longevity and dedication to living authentically. It’s a real both-and situation over here. 

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