Ask STFU Jezzies 2/24

Hey everyone! We have another Ask STFU Jezzies for you! I got a wide range of questions this week that I am excited about answering.  Read ’em!

This might be a “get better friends” thing, but since I really like these people five out of seven days a week, and I also live with them, it’s difficult to do. Here are the haps: I’m an introvert with social anxiety disorder who thinks weekends spent with books, walks, and homemade mac and cheese are good weekends, and my music tastes don’t stray too far from the likes of Andrew Bird. My roommates are extroverts and believe the weekends should be spent tripping expensive balls at expensive raves and concerts, and dancing to techno with creepy, gropey assholes. They also think I should enjoy said raves, even though I don’t, and as such have repeatedly declined to go with them. The last time I attempted to go with them (attempted! I didn’t even get to the venue that time), I had a panic attack, which they definitely took note of. BUT. They still want me to go with them to the next thing! And the next! I’ve told them repeatedly that I don’t enjoy techno or raves, that I don’t want to spend money on stuff I don’t want to or need to attend, etc. but they still think that the next one will be TOTALLY AWESOME and ask me every weekend, then worry about me and my mental health behind my back when I say no. How do I get them to stop asking and worrying?

I don’t think it’s a “get better friends” thing, because from what you are saying it seems like your friends genuinely care about you, they just don’t know the right way to do it.  Introverts can stress out extroverts.  They don’t really know what to do with introverts and they desperately want them to become extroverted. For them, when they want to stay inside and just chill out it often means that they are feeling depressed or something is wrong.  So they want to help you! They’re just going about it in a way that they think would be helpful for them, and they have trouble seeing outside themselves to know that this isn’t the way to be a friend to YOU.  Have you ever read this article, Caring For Your Introvert?  I have seen many of my introverted friends post links to it, feeling that it was really spot-on for them.  You might want to send your friends the link and see if that doesn’t help them understand you a little better.  Then you can use it as a conversation starter for why you’re not weird or sad for not wanting to go to raves all the time and that you appreciate the invitations, but will never be interested in going. Good luck!

I’ve recently been asked to be Maid of Honor in my friend’s wedding. This is not a problem; I love my friend and want to support her, and will gladly plan a bitchin’ bachelorette party.

My problem is her wedding dress. I know, I know. It’s her wedding. However, she wants to wear a genuine vintage wedding kimono (uchikake). With a corset over it instead of an obi (which you don’t wear over uchikake anyway, as they are not meant to be belted). Okay, yes, it’s going to be a sci-fi/steampunk themed wedding. But I have two issues with the dress. The first is, obviously, cultural appropriation. I am not Japanese, so might just be “that whitey who’s getting offended on someone else’s behalf,” but I have studied the language, studied abroad, and know a bit more about the culture. Heck, when I was in Japanese Cultural Club in college, I was one of two people in the club who knew how to properly put on a kimono (which was great when we did events, because there’s me with a line of Japanese girls waiting for me to dress them. We had quite a few jokes about it.)

Secondly, it’s a vintage Uchikake. That’s major bucks (about $2,000 “¦ which is a bit overpriced, but it’s the one she wants.) That also means it was made with hand-embroidery. Aside from the fact that actual kimono tend to look terrible when belted too tightly (they bunch really weirdly), let alone corseted, the corset will, no doubt, destroy a bunch of the embroidery.

Obviously, it’s her wedding. I’m not going to go all “Hey you should totally change your plans because I’m kind of offended by them,” because I know that’s totally inappropriate. I am considering mentioning that the corset will ruin some of the embroidery, and suggesting that she wear a corseted dress underneath the kimono to prevent it from being damaged (and prevent the kimono from doing that weird bunchy thing it does when belted too tightly). Is that being too pushy, though? Should I just keep my mouth shut? Is there another option I’m not thinking of?

Well to answer your last question, I think it’s acceptable to say that you know a lot about kimonos and you want to make sure she’s preserving her expensive and beautiful dress (your feelings about her wearing it in the first place aside).  I know that I would be devastated if I ruined a beautiful hand-embroidered dress because I was too dumb to know how to work it.  So, assuming you’re not the type that’s like, “Well aaaactually I know a loooott about kimonos and I think you should do this,” I think you’re probably not overstepping your bounds to make a suggestion.  Obviously, she’s free to decide if she wants to continue with her plan, in which case you will just have to get over it, it’s not your dress or money.  So, there’s that.

For your issues with the cultural appropriation.  We could write post after post about appropriation and still not cover everything, because it’s a complex issue.  But I can tell you really care and are interested in Japanese culture.  I don’t know enough about steampunk type stuff to know if it really relies on Japanese cultural appropriation or if this is just her personal thing.  Since it’s her wedding and it’s her choice, I guess this is just the type of thing you have to sigh and let pass, and maybe at a later date she’ll be up for learning a little more about appropriating other cultures and what that means.

 

 

Dear STFUJ,

Like you, I live in a very big and crowded city, so I’m hoping you might have some advice. I feel like I’m turning into a crazy rageaholic. Every time I leave the house, I am at best subjected to rude and thoughtless people. More and more I find that people are getting really aggressive and nasty. Just the other day a woman insulted my appearance and threatened to “kick (my) ass” for having the audacity to point out she was doing something illegal and really inconsiderate.

I grew up in a big city, so this isn’t a culture shock issue. I don’t know if people are getting worse or if I am the one who has changed. Regardless, I am stuck here for the time being due to some really stressful economic and personal circumstances and I don’t want to go around being angry all the time. I’m normally a really friendly and polite person, but I feel myself turning into a ball of rage. Even after these negative experiences I push myself to be even kinder to people because I don’t want to pay the bad stuff forward. But when I get home I just want to scream and break things. I don’t want to feel like this and I certainly don’t want to get to a point where this anger starts to boil over.

Do you have any thoughts or advice?

Oh, I have many thoughts. Many, many thoughts.  Most of them are along the lines of “Jesus Christ I hate people” and “Learn some goddamn manners!”  This is directed towards the 8 million or so other people in my city, of course, not to you.  This is something that I actively struggle with as well.  There are days when I spend the entire time I am outside just fantasizing about swinging my arms and kicking my feet as I walk and Lord help anyone who gets in my path.  I imagine long scenarios in which I ream out litterbugs, people who cut in line, people who walk on the wrong side of the stairs in the subway, and people who honk their horns excessively.  For me, it requires actively telling myself to let it go.  This is not something that comes naturally to me.  Like you, I think I am friendly and polite but I expect other people to be the same way, and when they aren’t it makes me feel frustrated and defeated.  But ultimately, neither getting into a public showdown with an asshole nor carrying your rage home with you makes other people more polite.  It makes you angry and gives another person to be like “bitch be crazy” and they move on with their day thinking they’ve done nothing wrong.  So that’s the ongoing dialogue I have to have with myself, and it usually comes down to: “Is this worth it?”  Is it worth spending the rest of the day angry and annoying my friends and partner with my retelling of another’s Bad Behavior?  Probably not.  Like I said, this doesn’t come easy, some days I feel like I spend the entire day repeating, “Let it go, let it go, let it go,” in my head.  But it’s been really helpful.  And if that doesn’t work, just elbow some bitch on the subway stairs who refuses to walk down the correct side and you should get it out of your system.

 

That’s all for today! Thanks for all the great questions, keep ’em coming at Ask STFU Jezzies, or you can e-mail us and we’ll keep your info confidential.  See you next week!

5 thoughts on “Ask STFU Jezzies 2/24”

  1. May I just say it always makes me very happy to see mentions of Andrew Bird pop up on my RSS feed?

    On a more substantive note, I agree with Jackalopette about the kimono. It’d be a bit better just to get something to recreate the look than to ruin an expensive, vintage Uchikake.

  2. I’m curious more generally about the distinction between appreciating and participating in fashion/trends/music/style/culture from another culture versus cultural appropriation. Like, is intention the difference? Knowledge? I have strongly mixed feelings, so I’m curious what other people think.

  3. For the bridesmaid, I would also explain about the kimono bunching up weirdly under corset. If she’s already paying that much, maybe suggest she have something custom made that will fit smoothly under a corset but otherwise recreate the look of a kimono; she’s probably picturing this a very specific way and she might end up being really upset and disappointed if the kimono doesn’t actually work that way when she gets it.

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