Hello, friends and strangers!
Your beloved Dames have the week off, and as they -- we assume -- sit on the lanai and raise mai tais to one another over slices of a giant cheesecake carved into the shape of Bea Arthur’s face, we are delighted to take the wheel of this ship and try not to run it into the rocks. We are Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, and you may know us as the Fug Girls. If you don’t, and cannot imagine why two grown people would call themselves that voluntarily, we promise there’s a reason: We are the editrixes (we prefer that to “editrices” because it’s closer to Bellatrix, as in Lestrange) of the celebrity fashion blog Go Fug Yourself, where we chronicle the good, the bad, and the fugly of red carpet fashion; recap a variety of television shows; and keep a watchful eye on the royals of the world. On that tip, we also recently wrote a book called The Royal We, which imagined what it might be like for an American woman to fall in love with the heir to the British throne. (And yes, we did it before Meghan Markle was even a glint in Harry’s eye, and don’t think we haven’t wondered if that means we magicked them into existence -- like The Secret, but mixed with Tinder.) [Editors note: This book is AGGRESSIVELY Dames Approved.] At any rate, we’re delighted Margaret and Sophie asked us to step into their very cute shoes this week.
SPEAKING OF ROYALTY... WE NEED TO GOSSIP IMMEDIATELY
Royals news got us like.
The Internet has been ablaze this week with all things Harry and Wills. First, photos surfaced of William boozing it up on a lads’ ski trip to Switzerland... which took place at the same time as the Commonwealth Day service, a major interfaith event that’s of particular importance to his grandmother. His absence was conspicuous given that he’s the heir, he’s attended the last two years, and the other major royals not present -- Anne and Sophie -- were both on official engagements. Even Andrew, who’d been in the same ski town as William (with Fergie...) made it back for the ceremony. Now, in fairness, the service wasn’t on William’s or Kate’s calendar this year. But with no explanation given for that omission, and the almost defiantly carefree excursion he scheduled for the exact same weekend, it adds kindling to the already blazing fire of stories suggesting William is being petulant about the role into which he was born. Worse, being papped partying with two blondes while Kate was at home with the kids has kicked open the door for speculation about his marriage, which is unkind to her at best.
Kate is NOT impressed.
Contrast that with Harry’s big news, which is that he’s possibly trying to protect Meghan from the release of ill-gotten photos of them canoodling in Jamaica (a couple of bathing suit shots did get published). He looks like a strapping romantic hero (and they’re poised to ascend to No. 1 Royal Couple in the eyes of the world’s watchers), whereas William seems a truculent, ungrateful, spoiled brat. The Cambridges need to take a page from Olivia Pope: It’s about optics, and these are bad ones. Feel your feelings, if you must, but you have to be smarter and wiser about your public face. Are you allowed to cut loose? Sure, but how about not on the same weekend as one of your grandmother’s most prized events, at which your non-presence would be a story. And which came first, the supposed planned absence, or the ski trip? How about not making us ask that question in the first place, Wills!
What is this-- amateur hour!?
He and Kate seem astonishingly unsavvy about the media, almost as if they were coasting on global goodwill from their marriage and that ride came to an end without them noticing. Missing the Commonwealth Day service would’ve been a lesser blip on the radar if he’d stayed under it himself. Frankly, we wish Kate had attended without him, and if we were her, we’d be tripling down on solo royal engagements as a way of showing that she at least takes this seriously. It’s high time she did that anyway, besides which William evidently needs someone else on the homefront to remind him: You didn’t ask for the job, but it’s yours, and it comes with major lifestyle perks that you seem more than happy to accept. If you’re going to rebel, at least be smart about it. Seriously, JUST DON’T BE DUMB, kids. It’s all we ask.
But if you’re concerned about his marriage, take solace in this video of William dancing, alone and drunk, like -- may we say it -- a complete old tool of a dad. You will be way, way less worried that he might be banging random blondes. We assume Kate has gone around and made stills of this the desktop photo on every device at Kensington Palace that she can find.
On this assertion, The Duchess of Cambridge has absolutely no comment.
And in case William needs reminding about the gravity of what awaits him, The Guardian recently published an exhaustive article about the preparations for the Queen's eventual (and hopefully theoretical for as long as possible) death. Other than the fact that the subject matter is depressing, it is seriously a delicious buffet of logistics. There's a 10-day agenda! Newscasters have a particular and much-debated wardrobe for making the announcement! And there is THE JUICIEST tidbit we did not know about George V (the Queen's grandfather) basically being euthanized to spare him suffering. It's the deepest of deep dives, and we recommend you savor it. Possibly with a hanky handy.
Finally, if you are as profoundly annoyed as we are that season two of The Crown plans to shift its focus to Prince Philip, come rant with us. That show already suffered from a lack of female creative perspectives despite its fascinating female lead, and turning it into Prince Philip's Pity Party is not an appealing choice, to say the least. Not for nothing, but which actor there is your Golden Globe winner? EXACTLY. The one that wears the titular crown.
God Save Our Bossy Dame
AND NOW, JESSICA PRESENTS A VARIETY OF INTRIGUING THINGS YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN READING, INCLUDING SOME MODERATE SELF-PROMOTION
Bjork, Patron Saint of One of Fug Madness's Four Brackets, is ready to take a bite out of the competition.
As you may or may not know, March Madness kicked off yesterday -- and with it, Go Fug Yourself’s annual foray into bracketology, Fug Madness, wherein Fug Nation votes to determine which celeb’s sartorial missteps were the most majestic of the year. We love college basketball almost as much as we love a good boxed wine, and nothing -- nothing -- is more fun than the first few breathless days of the tournament, with its buzzer beaters and burgeoning Cinderella stories. (And speaking of buzzer beaters, The Ringer has a good look back at last year’s winning game, and what’s happened in the interim between that tournament and this one, to its major players.) But as great as the tourney is, we think Fug Madness is a pretty damn good alternative, whether you’re in a nervous froth about basketball or not. You’d be surprised how long, and with what fervor, you can weigh whether two potently atrocious Beyoncé dresses should defeat a way longer list of less dramatically hideous stuff from, say, one of the Fannings. In short: It is fun.
Almost as fun as eating someone else's hair is to Bjork!
In totally unrelated news, I recently stumbled across this story whilst researching something related to my collection of royal memorabilia (who hasn’t spent her evenings thusly), and although it dates from 2014, I believe the subject matter to be timeless, and it is fascinating: Royalty, Espionage, and Erotica: Secrets of the World's Tiniest Photographs. We are interested in all those things, and even if you are not, this piece has everything: illicit nude photos, hot air balloons, World’s Fairs, and tiny secret-concealing parasols!
We know Stefon is on the edge of his seat.
Speaking of stories that have everything, did you read about how they discovered these mystical caves behind a rabbit’s hole in Shropshire? (a) They’re amazing-looking, (b) no one seems to totally know what their deal is, and (c) everyone quoted in the stories about said cave has thrown around words like “Knights Templar” and “black magic” very casually. We don’t know why we’re not all touring those caves right now, quite frankly.
While we’re on the topic of Ye Olde Mysterious Discoveries, don’t you want to read about a recently-discovered collection of surprisingly revolutionary motets -- which are, to quote our leaders of the Resistance over at Merriam-Webster, “polyphonic choral composition[s] on a sacred text usually without instrumental accompaniment” --that were probably written by a nun princess whose mother was Lucrezia Borgia? We had you at the words “nun princess,” yes? The rest of the story is fascinating, too. And who doesn’t love a musical nun?
God bless Vanity Fair. Who else would rank Bette Davis’s and Joan Crawford’s lovers by how scandalous they were? Did you know that both women were married to men who died under similar mysterious circumstances? What if Bette and Joan were actually a pair of black widows, keeping each other’s murder-y secrets? Why isn’t Feud about THIS? And all this talk about Feud, and glamorous movie stars of yore getting up to no good, with sexy results, reminds us: Make a mental note to pick up Taylor Jenkins Reid’s new book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo when it comes out in June. We got to read an advanced copy, and it’s fantastic. While we’re discussing Great Books About Huge Stars Who Got Married a Lot, we’d be remiss if we didn’t twist your arms to make sure you’ve read Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century,which is beyond delicious, and also will make you feel better about how much money you personally spend on booze.
Just the kind of comfort We Your Dames always seek...
And, finally, on the topic of Books We Like And Want People to Read, Nylon had a great piece this week wherein thirty women writers recommend a book that was important to them in their 20s. We are particularly delighted to see the seminal autobiography of Motley Crue, The Dirt, on that list (thanks to Maris Kreizman, who is the Editorial Director of Book of the Month Club, and a former Two Bossy Dames guest editor). If you haven’t read The Dirt, you must. It....also has a lot of drinking in it. But it’s a great, juicy, compelling read, even if you couldn’t care less about Motley Crue. You’ll never look at a breakfast burrito the same way.
AND NOW, HEATHER ADDS HER THREE CENTS, WHICH MAY BE AN INFLATED VALUE
No, Heather! It's Heather's turn.
1) I love a good lipstick. We’re constantly yammering on GFY about how celebs need to be bolder in their lip choices -- or at least look like they HAVE lips -- but too often I get stuck in the same old rut, or just wear the stuff we got in some random gift bag three years ago. However: I broke the cycle. I lovedEmma Stone’s red look from the Oscarsso much that I ordered the whole damn thing --liplinerandlipstick-- from Nars. It is my duty, then, to share with you how that worked out for me. Note: It did not give me her face. Also, I have bedhead in these photos. WELCOME TO ME.
The pictures of me were taken like ten seconds apart in my yard, so that’s how much the look can change based just on where you are. Emma, obviously, always stands in a spotlight shone down by her own proprietary pack of glitter angels; I stand under light that was burped out by the sun when it has a hangover. First tip: If you want to try thist but are guarding your pennies, start with just the lipstick (Mona). These pics both use the liner; I couldn’t tell the difference between lined and unlined in side-by-side photos, except that I have a drunk and unsteady hand with lipstick and so the liner (Karekare) helped me keep neater contours. But if you do want to splurge on both, Karekare is a nice pinky-red neutral I plan to play with a base for some other colors I have. Maybe it’ll give those old faithfuls new life. (Hah, look at me, acting like I know what I’m doing.) The lippy Mona has a nice rich feel and a mostly matte finish. I feel sufficiently moisturized. I’m pleased, and I look forward to deploying them somewhere other than my home office, where the horrified or unperturbed expressions of the people around me can be the judge(s).
2) Tomorrow, I’m going to start listening to the “Missing Richard Simmons” podcast, which you’ve probably heard about by now, if you’re not already listening to yourself. Back in the summer of 2013, I took one of Richard Simmons’ classes in Beverly Hills at his Slimmons studio. Some friends were going, and had been before, singing the praises of what a dance-party experience it had been. I of course knew of his all-go, high-energy, total-spandex persona -- Simmons’ appearances on Letterman were so legendary that when he missed Dave’s last run of shows, I suspected something was awry with him -- and for $12, I couldn’t resist the idea of letting a legend in spandex make me shimmy in public. As promised, it was a very lively, welcoming experience. We did aerobics. Lifted some weights. Did the conga. Cha-cha’d. He shouted encouragement and teased people with his trademark sass, all designed to make us wriggle deeper and sweat harder and basically stop having inhibitions and just have fun. At the end, he wandered through the rows while we cooled down and offered affirmations and support for our various journeys to and through health. Oh, and he did the whole thing wearing makeup that I can only describe as Kiss of the Spider Woman.
“Hey there, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” he said to me. I was the last in a very very long line of photo-seekers -- we are Vogueing here -- and his smile never wavered, nor did his attempt to make a personal remark to each person.
I heard later that his last classes lacked that same joy and positivity. It was a more brittle experience, by the sounds of it, and then he vanished from the public eye entirely. A longtime student (and former Daily Show producer) who became something of a friend to Simmons has been investigating his disappearance for the podcast. I gather the two were discussing a documentary when Simmons faded out of touch with pretty much everyone in his life, and the podcast is an attempt to make sense of it. He said something I think is really true: Richard Simmons had spent the better part of his life being “on,” bending over backward for people he’d reached out to and hoped to carry on his back to a healthier life, and you just can’t put that kind of energy out there 24/7 without burning out. Maybe he got sick, maybe he had personal problems, maybe a hundred other things happened that could’ve pushed him away from all the people and trappings of the life he’d built. But I have to believe that one factor is that he poured so much of himself so wholly and honestly into The Richard Simmons Experience that he forgot to leave anything for himself. That pendulum was, perhaps, fated to swing back hard. There has been some understandable backlash against giving Simmons the “Serial” treatment -- is it invasive, insensitive, inappropriate? Is a celebrity not allowed to retreat? Do we have to turn him into a salacious mystery? -- and to be honest, I think he has a right to take a forever vacation, as long as the authorities continue to determine that he’s not being mistreated by caregivers. Richard Simmons doesn’t have a contractual obligation to be our RIchard Simmons for any longer than he chooses. If, in listening, I find the podcast is in keeping with the stated intention of making a loveletter to everything Simmons has meant to his clients and friends (often, one becomes the other), then I’ll press on with it, but otherwise... maybe let the dude live in peace.
3) My new hero is this jogger from Seattle who was attacked by a lurker when she stopped to use the women’s room. (Her GPS tracker was on -- it’s unreal to see how the map looks.) Even in her blurry and scared state, she was able to fight back using a couple self defense moves she’d recently learned, all the while shouting, “NOT TODAY, MOTHERF*CKER.” That last bit, besides being badass, is important. Not everyone has taken self-defense, but we all have that same tool: a voice. Volume. My taekwondo teachers have stressed that even if the protective moves abandon you in the moment, stay loud. It can save your life on both a micro and a macro level. As we shake our heads in confusion at the things happening around us, we can remember this woman, who used her voice and fought and prevailed. Not today, motherf*ckers, indeed.
FINALLY, A VIDEO TO REPLICATE EVERY TIME YOU NEED TO ANNOUNCE A DECISION
You don’t have to enjoy sports to appreciate this: Usually, football recruits announce their commitments with the same old boring “which baseball cap will he choose” routine, but that was not good enough for this kid, Tahj Rice, who instead made a weirdo rescue caper complete with special effects. I won’t spoil who he picked, but please know that I intend to make one of these whenever I can. What’s for dinner tonight? Let’s eliminate the choices VIA LASERS.
And with that, our sojourn as your guest Bossy Dames comes to an end.
Come by Go Fug Yourself and see us some time. And if you’re in Los Angeles, we’re appearing on a panel at The Ripped Bodice in Culver City on March 23rdalong with other amazing dames -- Alisha Rai! Sarah Maclean! Akela Cooper! Beth Scorzato! Sarah Kuhn! Lindsay Ellis! -- to discuss, in the words of our fair hosts, making art in the current political climate. Come say hello, and join us in writing potentially furious postcards to Paul Ryan.