I’m sorry I’m late with this one. I thought a lot about how much personal stuff to put into this post, and it took me a while to figure it out. Anyway, welcome to week seven!
Why I wear Lolita?
Because I want to feel pretty. Because I want to be a princess.
This one is really, really hard to answer. So, easy part first.
I look good in poofy retro-ish dresses and Victorian gowns. I like to be cute. Cute makes people underestimate me, true, but sometimes being underastimated is like armour. Nobody thinks the girl in frilly dresses can debate about gender equality, the difference between genre and subculture in Steampunk and the pros and cons of modernist Marxism, which is a great advantage: I can talk very, very fast while they’re dumbstruck, and that’s really funny. That’s one sort of reason.
The other one is a bit more complicated and personal (don’t worry, it’s not that dramatic).
When I was really little I wanted to be a tightrope dancer, with a lacy pastel tutu and a pretty balancing parasol with as many frills as possible. When I grew older I liked the idea of taking ballet lessons. My favourite dress was a handed down, washed-out pink tartan affaire with a tiny rose embroidery on the chest. I loved dresses. I wore them all the time, and sometimes I danced and pretended to know how to do ballet or be a princess while a friend of mine pretended to know how to play a piano.
But most of the time when my friends and I played pretend, I was the knight. When I grew older, I took martial arts lessons. A few years later I wasn’t the girl that needed protection, I was the fierce mama bear who took care of everyone else. I wore pants and most of the time blue (which doesn’t really suit me, that’s why I mention it, not the idiotic notion of “gender-specific colours”), I cut my hair short more than once, and I’ve been mistaken for a guy often enough, even as a teenager, because I wore torn boy jeans and flannels and wide T-shirts I had snatched from my father’s closet.
What none of my friends knew was that sometimes I had my grandmother curl up my hair, took the fanciest horrible-floral-pattern 80s dress I could find in the armoire (I have no idea what happened with that later) and snuck out of the house into the flowered fields behind the garden gate, and opened my arms, and just spun. Or played pretend all on my own. Or danced. It’s not even funny anymore how many single-person Viennese waltzes I’ve danced.
I don’t write this because I want pity for this teenage girl who kept her love for chick flicks and the outworn first-kiss-romantic-scene manga and novel pages a secret. She’s fine now. She has found friends who don’t make fun of her for having pink as a favourite colour or for wearing dresses. She has people who know of the frills in her closet that are a little less kitschy than ten years ago. She’s still the tough, no-nonsense tomboy, and don’t get me wrong, she always wanted to be the knight. She still does.
I write this because she still dresses up all for herself sometimes, and sneaks out of the house and hopes that no-one will see her. It’s a secret, and people tend to tear secrets, they rip apart the feeling, the wrapping. It’s brutal. But she needs to do this, once in a while, even if it breaks things from time to time.
This is why I wear Lolita.