Category Archives: personal branding

Reputation Management and Appropriation, Lessons in Ethics from Edmond Dantès

My study of communications and public relations was taught by passionate adherents to Ivy Lee’s Declaration of Principles – that it is the ethical responsibility of a public relations practitioner to offer uncompromising truth to the public on behalf of one’s clients. Perhaps because of this, and despite working in high tech for 16 years, it should be un-surprising that I view the use of technology in the form of bots exponentially deployed during the United States 2016 presidential elections, let alone anywhere else, as abhorrent.

My various social media accounts address the complexities of my person; Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram serve as outlets for my professional existence while Pinterest and Facebook are more intimate expressions – at the intersection of these social platforms is my blog. While I have a blog I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself ‘a blogger’ (it is not a commercial venture). Yet my writing on this platform, having gone viral, has had impact – in part responsible for shifting public policy and the proposed exploitation of the pristine waters of the Adriatic in 2015/2016.  While building my own Instagram presence I admit to being thoroughly perplexed as to how (with the quality of photos and nominal content offered) fellow travel specific accounts could possibly have earned followers approaching 100,000 in less than a month. Thus, the clarity offered in reading Jess Gibson’s Dear PRs post referencing ‘bot-gate’ was genuinely appreciated, and it’s also why I take a particular delight at the failure of Instagress.

The truth has always found a way to be revealed, in our connected world discovery of appropriation, fraud or illicit behavior comes down to days, minutes or even seconds with a few keystrokes and keen intelligence. Throughout history there have been individuals whose jealousy, ruthlessness, greed and sloth have risked fortunes and reputations for (perceived) gain or retribution – Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo anyone? Just as Edmond Dantès took full advantage of his time falsely imprisoned to learn every skill imaginable in developing a faultless reputation and re-branding himself, every effort in thought leadership and in garnering a dedicated follower base, and fostering epic levels of engagement takes considerable patience, skill and acuity.

Beyond the Instagram bloggers’ ‘bot-gate’ other more widely known unveilings of deceit relate to appropriation of the resistance movement by Pepsi and State Street of New York City’s iconic bronze sculpture created by Arturo Di Modica.

The Tate Modern offers this essay on appropriation,

[…] to create a new situation, and therefore a new meaning or set of meanings, for a familiar image. Appropriation art raises questions of originality, authenticity and authorship…

All great art is subversive, a commentary manifest with physicality. Co-opting the passion found in resistance to injustice in its many forms, feminism, racism, environmental stewardship, and its related arts for commercial gain by the advertising industry has a vast history in the United States.

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I don’t like what Fearless Girl ‘is’ specifically because she is contrived by Mad Men to gender-wash their clients’ bottom line. The $2.5 trillion (under management) State Street Global Advisors opted for a publicity stunt on International Women’s Day of instead of doing the long overdue ‘hard work’ of creating a work environment of equality and gender partity or proactively investing in education for girls on a global basis. For the unaware allow me to point out that advertising (in which both Pepsi and State Street engaged) is only related to public relations as it is a part of the greater communication functions in general. It seems to me if you are retained to represent the interests of a seven or eight figure client your responsibilities should include candid risk assessment to any proposal you present. Ultimately this all comes down to proactive reputation management versus putting your client in the rather costly position of damage control through crisis management.

With so much to lose why take a chance in the first place?

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

 

From darkness to light – lessons in living well

This is part of what my horoscope said today (thanks so Servane!): “Should your mood evolve further into dark reflections or doomsdayish daydreams, your best antidote is to step back Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Imagesand unashamedly laugh at your own melodramatic tendencies. The dark will always be here, periodically shadowing the light with its ever-impending scythe of mortal impermanence. Greet it, then: ‘Hello, there, dark. No, I haven’t forgotten you’re lurking. I just already have plans to be stupid and silly and rebelliously not-serious for this next little while. I’ll get back to you when my schedule permits. Later, dude.’”

I have to admit that even my friend Ken called me out on my “last post as being heavy” but tornado rainbowtoday we’re going to an inspiring and happy place, a place where deeds are based in fairness and personal integrity, an awe inspiring place where double rainbows come out and bird song accompanies symphonic compositions devoid of painful dissonance, and beauty clears away the dark ugliness that is draining all of us.

A year and a half ago a cross-country race was being run in Burlada, Navarre. Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was running second, some distance behind race leader Kenyan Abel Mutai – the bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics – who mistakenly pulled up 10 metres ivanfernandezshy of the finish line, presumably thinking he had already crossed. Fernández Anaya could have easily exploited Mutai’s mistake to claim victory yet he guided the latter to let him cross first. That Fernandez Anaya is 24 years old is only important in the possibilities of his examples of good conduct will offer all of us in the future. His words after the race resonate in a sportsmanship all too lacking in contemporary society: “But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn’t have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.”

And so I dug around the life moment playground known as YouTube for other examples of gut wrenching, heart tugging personal integrity and humanity (shedding lots of good tears in the process) and offer you these three additional videos:
This, from the Barcelona Olympics and this one from a football (soccer) match between teams in the Ukrainian Premier League and this one, not of sports but of a boy in Oslo, Norway and ‘just like the rest of us’ Norwegians doing the right thing (and some clearly not).

We think heroism is a vague concept assigned to people with larger than life lives – that’s not respecttrue, each of us are extraordinary in our own way, and the tiniest gestures have impact – the pebble in the pond of goodness.  My friend Servane, in one of her TEDx Talks here, says something really important – something easy to remember and act within –  “Love is a political weapon.” (Whoa), and because of her words I thought of this meme that is making its rounds, of another athlete doing something political because he and his teammates see the suffering in Gaza and can make a grand gesture to draw attention to the plight ordinary Palestinians experience everyday – even as we all know that $9 Million USD is a drop of water against a desert of despair caused by Israel’s apartheid policies.

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@albapro/Instagram

Fernandez Anaya mentioned the future gains for his name in the context of branding in his post race interview but in the visceral moment doing the right thing wasn’t a strategic business decision of “if I do this, I will get that” but humanity shining through brightly like a beacon of hope, of kindness, of how we wish to be treated and simply doing. It was the 4th of July in the United States yesterday – the celebration of our nation’s birth (something like the Arab Spring but 238 years ago).  The last line of the Declaration of Independence reads: “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” The best that we as Americans once had to offer the world were these ideals, every man, woman and child across the human experience should be free from ignorance and self indulgence, the destruction of our world and each other from greed, anger and fear. So today, (and tomorrow and all the next days after those) no matter where you call home, no matter where you aspire to live remember that without our mutually pledging to each other our lives we should not think ourselves as living well but merely existing.  To whatever God to whom you pray may s/he watch over and keep you in the light.

If you enjoy my blog please consider “buying me a cup of tea” in your currency via livelikeadog@gmail.com through PayPal and please do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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What we aren’t looking for usually finds us anyway

I am clearing out debris – you know that nameless stuff that accumulates in our lives virtually without our being aware of its presence in the first place?  Amongst the latest round for the recycling bin was a stack of (almost) unmarked CD-ROMs which I patiently loaded into my computer to review – and this is telling.

A new friend recently said, “I hope you find what you are looking for when you come to Croatia.” I don’t think you can receive a sentence like that, as a conscious person in any case, and not have two things immediately come to mind; the first is U2’s anthem of discovery – I still haven’t found what I am looking for and the second is the recognition that even when we aren’t seeking anything at all we are pulled toward our destiny.

Amongst the people I am working with in Croatia is a young woman named Željka, she is slightly older than I was when I took on the Imageabsolutely no initial pay responsibilities as the ‘coordinator’ for the National Police Athletic League Amateur Boxing League (Golden Gloves sanctioned) tournament in 1985. (Oh, sheesh – was I ever that young?) I had no experience with such things, and I do mean ZERO EXPERIENCE, but the police lieutenant in charge – as the expression goes – “was in the weeds” and he gladly took my offer of help because in less than 8 weeks’ time over 400 boys from all across the United States and Puerto Rico, their coaches and parents were going to descend upon the city of Buffalo NY and the only thing that was a given was that they had a hotel to stay at. There was no facility to train at or ultimately conduct their matches in because the Internal Revenue Service had padlocked the doors of the old Central Train Terminal for back taxes and wouldn’t let anyone in or out!, no central train terminalboxing rings, no sponges, ice or entertainment, no ambulance coverage or doctors on site – nothing.  With John Ralecki’s trust I discovered that with perseverance and charm, seeing the big picture but handling the tiniest detail, asking for help (and then formally writing thank you notes once help was received), not limiting my vision of what could be by what those around me said was only necessary, that some version of greatness could (and did) happen – all with an electric typewriter, an old steel desk, a rotary phone and self-determination.

With Željka I try to give her those same wings to fly – it is after all my turn to mentor – and like a mirror to my own history she daringly (and generously) offers her efforts also without financial compensation (at least for now) for the experience.  But at the same time, 4000 miles away and through Skype conversations and text messages and emails, she is giving me something important back – the best part of who I was as my younger self, the young woman who threw herself into a project because she didn’t know to be afraid of failure whose only desire was in eliminating the potential disappointment others might experience, to create magic and perhaps something much more.

On those CDs my ex-husband, who I still love very much (who has always been my best friend) even if we ceased being in love or lovers more than 20 years ago, painstakingly had Terri portraitcleared files from his old computer that I had used for 16 months (from January 2003 onward) as I was creating Thistle & Broom and burned discs for me.  Amongst the files were digital scans of the 30s vintage version of myself and I looked at that woman that was me (and still is) and randomly decided to share this ‘flashback’ on my Facebook wall.  To say I was overwhelmed by the comments would be an understatement; I am blessed with truly amazing friends on a global basis who see in the current version of me something of the woman in those images (who I actually didn’t see then).  (Some) Women (including myself) never seem to outgrow the critical lens in which society views women, how we begin to view ourselves as adolescents even when those closest to us regularly pay us the most sincere compliments imaginable about attributes far more important that our physical attractiveness.

But Željka’s comment, other than a ‘Like’ status, wasn’t public, it was as a sidebar to our efforts around two separate businesses that she is helping me to create for her home – for Croatia.

Željka:  you look beautiful on them

Teresa: OH, thank you Z, I was really surprised to find them, I was going to just throw the CDs out

Željka: we would say that you “zračiš”

Teresa: and what is zračiš

Željka:  🙂 zračiš would mean that you radiate with positive energy

Teresa: OH – what a BEAUTIFUL THING TO BE TOLD

Željka: 🙂

Teresa: crying tears of gratitude

Željka: don’t cry 🙂

Teresa: happy tears, that is about the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said of me

Željka: you see, it’s how i see people just from the pictures, this is why i wanted to comment on your linkedin post 🙂 i felt you are positive person

Teresa: I am so humbled to have you in my life Z

And then she made me laugh so hard that had I been drinking anything I would surely not be able to write on this computer right now ~

Željka: and this is not sycophancy, i say when i mean it 🙂

Believe me when I write that Željka is the very least likely person on the planet to ever say something she didn’t truly mean.

And so, it seems to me that Croatia is somehow a critical part of my journey of rediscovery – not seeking, not looking for something – but finding nevertheless. Of being continually reminded of the positive energy which I radiate and some can see and feel simply through a photograph, which we all can radiate if we so choose, and the young woman who didn’t know any differently, the woman who still believes that all things are possible and then sets about a path to make that a positive reality for everyone around her and herself ~ truly, the best of me.

To all my friends, and especially my ex-husband Stephen – thank you for this incredible gift of renewal, recognition and appreciation as offered to me this weekend.

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Read my red lips!

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Rose McGown

Rose McGown once said “I came out of the womb waving red lipstick”

Never mind that women in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and those across the Indus had to grind gemstones, or bugs (cochineal), or the (uck) idea of pulverized fish scales to provide iridescence to adore their lips some 2000 years ago or that if I were a British woman in the 18th century and throughout the 19th century I would have been considered in the ‘very least’ marginal in my morality for wearing red lipstick; I don’t care! I probably have the infamous 19th century curly haired beauty Sarah Bernhardt  (actress and eventually courtesan) to thank – as a child my maternal great grandfather likened my ‘flair for the dramatic’ to her. I love that for someplace between $13 and $40 or rather, (obscene) $62,000  I am transformed to a sensual, seductive, glamorous goddess of lip perfection (even as I might be modestly critical of my other assets). My current favorite is a hybrid I concoct by wearing a Face Cosmetics based in Stockholm  matte finish red called ‘Secret’ over Nars Cruella lip crayon – just Snow White red enough! 

I can understand why some women (and men) might prefer Bert’s Bees to a sultry shade of vermilion or carmine or cherry – it’s just not me.  I have had sufficient conversations with girlfriends over the 40 years I have worn some version of red on my lips (at 12 it was Bonnie Bell lip gloss that had a red tint) to understand that red lips are not for everyone, but nothing makes me feel more immediately and divinely feminine (even if I am working in the garden and covered with mud, or sitting here at my computer writing) than putting on red lipstick.

Some months ago a journalist posted an enquiry on HARO asking how to choose the right shade of red lipstick. I am convinced every woman can wear red lipstick but you must be mindful of the tint matching skin tone (I absolutely cannot wear any with an orange-y /tomato or too salmon under-tone) and, yes, I think wearing red lipstick requires a certain level of confidence to ‘pull it off’ – a daring attitude bordering on la femme fatale, though if I am honest, wearing such has never felt contrived to me; actually, I feel quite naked without it.

A recent study at the University of Manchester confirms that men, even totally clueless ones, are fixated on lips wearing red an average of 7.3 seconds! It’s ancient and primal, in our earliest human state our health was gauged by the ‘blossom’ on lips and cheeks – thus a deeply held attraction to red tied to virility.

I have been known to leave my lip prints alongside terms of endearments to my niece and nephew in cards and books (if it was missing from something given to my niece she would ask me to put it there, for my nephew – yet unschooled in the mysteries of a woman’s lips – he would smear the cochineal colour from the end page) – I hope the men receiving my rather infrequent love letters didn’t feel as my nephew did!

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I grew up watching ‘old movies’ on Sunday afternoons – with actresses such Gene Tierney, Cyd Charisse, Maureen O’Hara and Rita Hayworth, brilliant, fiery, glamorous women whose cupid’s bow mouths were ALWAYS adorned in some shade of ‘1940’s Screen Siren Red’ (as I refer to it) and their leading men always swept them back into their arms heedless of the lipstick. Maybe that is the point – as I see it the sweeping romantic leading man of my dreams will want to ravage my mouth heedless of the consequences!

Soul meets soul on lovers’ lips ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Who are you? Where are you? I am waiting darling!

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The Little Black Dress

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Fishtail train detail

In 1959 my mother bought this incredible “wiggle dress” of black silk lace embellished with black sequins with alternating panels of black silk chiffon (complete with a fishtail ‘train’ of the same which floats behind as you walk). It has the tiniest lingerie straps and one assumes she MUST HAVE worn a Basque corset with it (though I am not going to ask) because at 5’ 9”, and not exactly petite woman in her wedding pictures of 1960, I cannot imagine her getting into this otherwise. It is exactly the kind of dress that a Bond Girl would wear as 007 slides up, tuxedo suave and orders ‘shaken not stirred’. It is something that (most of) our contemporary ‘lifestyles’ wouldn’t find an opportunity to wear.

Of course I have worn it, when I reached the same age of 19 she was when mom wore it and at left in 2002. My niece is just twelve so has some years dress 2before I can make a gift of it to her. Frankly speaking, if you tried to purchase something made as well as this today it would be at least a couple of thousand dollars.

So the Little Black Dress has (mostly) hung in my closet for 33 years like a piece of art and a relic from a time when ladies wore gloves, men opened doors, Charlie Parker made Jazz hot and people actually drank gin in their Martini’s (not insipid, tastes-like-nothing vodka)! I am writing about this dress because I received the most extraordinary gift to go with it from a gentleman met on OKCupid – updated this was in October 2013 – absolutely exquisite 20 denier black silk stockings. The accompanying note read (in French) ‘Not many French women would appreciate the difference…’, what a fine compliment!

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My legs, the gifted black silk stockings, and black silk Manolo Blahnik’s.

ImageWhen the dress fit me for the first time at 19 Raquel Welch (then age 42?) appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated inside proclaiming that she ‘had to’ do two hours of yoga a day to maintain (yes, maintain) her body! I suppose I will work up to that but for starters I walked two and half hours this morning covering a circuit of about 6 miles – in conjunction with errand running (a large – heavy – parcel to the post office at the farthest end of the route, a trip to the hardware and drug stores) and grocery shopping (lugging equally balanced bags with a pineapple, a gallon of milk, a package of Halal chicken breasts weighing 5 pounds, 4 Granny Smith apples, 4 cucumbers, a pound of green grapes, and 5 cartons of yogurt six city blocks simply HAS TO count for weight training!). Hardly sophisticated looking!  I can irrevocably state that there is almost nothing I hate more than a trickle of sweat running down the small of my back and across my brow (subsequently making my naturally curly hair resemble the coat of a Standard Poodle) – needless to say, Bond Girls never look like this!  It might take me a year to get back into the kind of shape that would do justice to the dress and those silk stockings (both in storage as I edit this in December 2015).

The stockings provided the catalyst to the physical change that for any number of reasons I chose not to do for myself before this time. This is not to suggest that the man made any claim on me, nor I him, (our ‘romance’ never advanced as his career as a sports photojournalist always put some excuse in the way of not closing the distance to explore us) or that my (unread) Tarot cards have made prophesy of his continuing to be in my life but, suddenly, while my skin tone can still carry this off I WANT TO! Who knew that a pair of silk stockings could spur on such activity (in addition to the above) as 20 minute sessions climbing staircases, doing incline push-ups against the washing machine while it is on spin cycle, oh yes, and the big pink yoga ball now sitting on my antique Heriz carpet demanding my use for core work?

ImageMinus the smoke rings above my head, the idea of re-capturing (for a brief moment) the refined sophistication of wearing this dress while imbibing in a so-cold-it-should-be-illegal, shaken-not-stirred, served in a chilled glass with a lemon twist and a splash of St. Germain gin Martini someplace such as Georges V, the Hotel Cipriani or the Hotel Aldon Kempinski is pretty compelling rationale for exercise.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a Martini’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Dear Sweden, Hej Sverige:

Dear Sweden/ Hej Sverige:

“I want to go home!” I hear it daily – the whine, the pleading, I feel the insistence that issues forth from my garage and burrows into my psyche that he, born of jets, misses Imagethe land of his birth.

What I have felt at a cellular level, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has confirmed; that in terms of ‘happiness’ my co-habitation with you would be one of synergy.  There are, perhaps, a thousand reasons why it makes perfect sense for us to passionately embrace the other but to earn your reciprocity and an invitation Sverige I will confine myself to a handful.

First, how many people wishing to make Sweden their home actually enjoy cold weather more than hot? I mean R-E-A-L-L-Y  P-R-E-F-E-R spending six to eight months out of the year in a wool sweater drinking hot chocolate instead of donning a bathing suit and sipping drinks with parasols and fruit sticking out of the top of their glass?

Second, especially important to our relationship working at every level, I am just as nice and happy as your 9.5 million citizens. HONEST! I have even written a book about happiness and mindfulness that has some lovely reviews (considering how few people take the time to say thank you, let alone write a personal note of gratitude these days that’s saying something!).

Let’s be practical here. In a country where quality of life ranks so high there are nearly 100,000 more single men than available women.  OKCupid’s metrics indicate that Sweden is one of my five ‘hot countries for finding love’ – that I could become the source of further happiness for one man seems of considerable benefit not only to ‘us’ but Swedish society on the whole. I already love the ideology grounded in Swedish culture, your history of innovation and your antiques, practice your example of hot baths and cold plunge, and, swoon at the sheer scope of your physical beauty, why not a tall Viking man to cap it off?

Third, mutual emphasis on integrity (see honest!! above, you might want to my read book). Now this is important – why would I want to live anywhere that had corruption tied to it? When I make a promise I keep my promise – my word is my troth. Life is just too short to be looking over your shoulder and wondering who is going to fleece your pockets (okay, well you do seem to have a little problem with rent gouging and so forth in the ‘staden inom tullarna’ areas of Stockholm but it’s almost excusable given how very pretty your very old city is). On the whole Swedes aren’t just happy they are ethical, integrity is something we can all do more with – don’t you think?

Fourth, as a woman ‘of a certain age’ I am not going to have children so your generous policy of maternity leave is not going to be needed. Maybe someone else can use my allocation? (See? I told you I was nice!)

ImageWhilst seemingly unrelated, my 1989 Saab 900T convertible “Duncan” is kind of like a colicky baby and can be a little demanding and seriously high maintenance – but, you knew that already (see opening sentence).  Overall he is an 11 (that’s him in the picture) so you can see that he’d only further enhance how handsome your country is, the land of his birth, it’ll sure be easier for me, his mommy, to get spare parts for him there then it currently is. He thinks it would totally rock to take a long boat ride ‘home’!! I don’t think seasickness is going to be an issue for him as he’s handled multiple ferry boat crossings on Long Island Sound with ease; how can I deny him such a grand adventure?

Fifth, as an award-winning marketing communications professional (largely in emerging technologies but also, more recently, as a social entrepreneur) I am capable of adding to your economy – not placing a drain on it. MarComm people are behind the scenes folks, most of us loathe being in the spotlight. Since I am accustomed to making other people look good this (hopefully) negates the inherent American tendency of ‘taking up a little more space’ than anyone else (least of all a Swede) and be assured I take up far less than the average American. I give more than I take, am VERY GOOD at playing nice in the sandbox, sharing my (most of) toys, not screaming “look at me, look at me!” or having a tantrum when I don’t get my own way (unlike the sulking that Duncan periodically exhibits).

I understand that your population is largely multilingual but I believe in assimilation so I PROMISE to learn Swedish. Acquaintances in Stockholm have indicated it’ll be a lot easier if I am there and are confident that immersion will make me fluent within 3 months.

And, if someone will let me, I am a ferocious gardener of some talent – give me a go at some related volunteer project and we’ll both be very pleased.

ImageAs refugee status generally isn’t accorded to Americans, I need to find a turnkey solution (a job, contractor role with working papers) that would allow me to PROVE my worthiness of becoming a Swede over the next three years. With all this in mind, Poolia just re-posted their search for an experienced head of communications (erfaren kommunikationschef) for the Nobelmuseet for which I had previously applied – as your most highly regarded musical export, ABBA, perfectly expressed – “take a chance on me”!

With much affection and a hopeful heart,

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Das Boot(s)!

Yesterday I scored a pair of utterly impractical, Kaki Daniels black velvet boots on eBay for $51.99 (original retail around $500) because, well, because of OKCupid… and also because I am working on my second book – this one about finding love after 50 (yet untitled) so I am considering them a prop for ‘field research’.

My book is chronicling my personal experiences in navigating online dating, combining it with research involving histories’ greatest lovers, Imagethe lives and ‘careers’ of women commonly referred to as Les Grandes Horizontales of 19th century France, Geisha’s, Venetian courtesans (like Veronica Franco), the seductive power of, say, Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman and the confusion I experienced in watching Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour, what makes something truly sensual, and men, oh, yes MEN, finding a GREAT ONE and what makes them respect, swoon, finally commit! That I am the least qualified woman on the planet to write about these (I am not a scholar of women’s studies, human sexuality or for that matter a historian) matters not.  Why? Let’s start with the fact that I can still hear my mother say “why do you have to make every guy your best friend?” (Maybe because that safer path meant I wouldn’t come home a pregnant teenager or acquire STDs.) Okay, and I was a virgin on my wedding night and I can count more years of not having intimate physical relations than those in which I have.  Oh yes, and I have this ABSOLUTE about physical expression needing to be bound to emotional and spiritual commitment.  But I am curious and as someone who exists in a state of mindful sensuality about virtually everything, whose friends leave notes on the back of business cards tucked inside my books saying things like “use your power wisely”, I wonder WHY have I put off finding this ‘perfect for me’ man and hopefully in finding him I might create laughter, foster thoughtfulness, encourage the passionate exploration of life and love, and find it without clichés in the process. Of course I am experiencing plenty of clichés!

Anyway, back to the boots, which in their own way are just as scary as the movie title I have used for this post!  I have never owned anything remotely like these – they are so sexy that they should come with a warning label and age restriction around their use. I am trying to figure out what (besides the obvious Lise Charmel) to wear them with, and more specifically with whom and when!?  None of that matters for the present.  It was the art of bidding here in combination with the fact that “the universe” clearly understood that I should have them is most important. One, never, ever, be in a hurry. The auction, as most are, was 7 days in duration. At the time I found the listing (primarily a fluke because I was actually searching for a pair of Emma Hope beaded and embellished mules) 3 days remained, they had one bid of $18.99, and I was not inclined to pay more than $40 plus shipping for something so frivolous. So I put them on my watch list and w-a-i-t-e-d.

I was on a Skype call when the countdown to bidding began – 34 minutes to the auction ending. It’s amazing how slowly time can pass even while multi-tasking. All of the sudden it was 3 minutes to go. At 2 minutes before auction end I opened the bid window, entered $60, prayed that my timing was spot on against the processing (actually I have never done this before) cycles at eBay, waited until the countdown clock cleared 58 seconds and submitted my bid. My heart was racing, my hands clammy. Really? Over a pair of boots I might not have the nerve to wear in public (or private) in the spirit of discovering their effect on the right man? The site registered my bid, and the high bid jumped from $18.99 to $31.99 at 2 seconds to go – and then, CONGRATULATIONS, YOU WON! My girlfriend in London did a happy dance with me virtually.

bootsMaybe the boots have certain magical powers like Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers. Almost as a reaction to my stepping over the edge of reason, the universe conspired and an OKCupid suitor sent me an invitation to be his guest in Egypt at the end of November.   (I doubt these will be in my luggage.)

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