Our first week back home has raced by and it has been so full of activity and excitement that I have barely had a chance to sit down and check my email, much less get back into a genuine blogging groove! Here's a recap of one momentous day that I've been itching to write about:
Last Sunday, the Kiddo and I attended a Fashion Week party at Selima Optique, AKA Bond 07, where my life-sized Wire Couture is currently on display...
The party was packed, fun, and fabulous and we had a blast. Unfortunately, due to my aforementioned technical difficulties I was still sans digital camera that night (these pics were taken the following day with my hulking SLR).
It's too bad, because I would have given anything to have my photo snapped with one of my favorite fashion/colorful-personality icons, Andre J, who was at the party in all his drop-dead ferosh-ness, sporting a blonde bouffant and exuberantly-colored tights over his pumps. He even stopped to talk to the Kiddo for a moment, and we had a nice exchange (translation, Andre was charming and delightful and sweet to the Kiddo while I stood there smiling and mentally rephrasing variations on "you are amazing and I love you" without ever actually having the gumption to utter a word!) FYI, Andre J is a New York fashion and party fixture who is most famous for being photographed by Bruce Weber last year and then gracing the cover of Paris Vogue in all his gender-bending marvelousness. Witness:
Andre might be known because of his wild get-ups and his groundbreaking Vogue cover, but I fell in love with him when he was quoted a while back in New York Magazine, talking about the way in which he aspires to inspire by being authentically and unequivocally himself:
"I want people to look at me and feel inspired, to feel hope, to smile. I want to surge positive energy in your body, confirm that you too can be yourself....Oh, sure. I get some “Wow, oh my goodness, what the hell, you look fantastic, holla brotha” when I’m walking down the street, but my favorite thing I ever got was, “I am just so glad you’re alive.” I’ve had so many people say that to me, and that’s what assists me on continuing my journey. I was put on this earth to be a bodhisattva, to just glow, emanate love, respect, peace, pizzazz. It’s powerful."
I can attest that he had pizzazz and glow to spare. Andre giggled to himself at the Kiddo's wide-eyed reception -- "he's thinking who is that bearded lady!" he said before flouncing away.
I think it's interesting that we ran into Andre Just-Be-Yourself-J that evening, because on our way to the party I experienced a rather defining moment in which I was compelled to stand up for myself and the Kiddo in an unprecedented way.
We were on the D train, which had just departed 81st Street stop. I was rather done-up for the party -- hair, makeup, new Isaac Mizrahi for Target top, super-wide-leg trouser jeans, and teetering platforms. I had been rushing to get us both ready and out the door, and in my haste I had placed the Kiddo a tad-bit awkwardly in my Vera Wang brocade ring-sling which I only use on fancy occasions and which I am therefore not as adept at wearing as I am my other carriers. Anyhoo, the Kiddo was tired and fussy and wanted to nurse, so after a vain attempt to get him latched on, I decided to take him out of the sling, sit down, and get to feeding him more comfortably. As soon as I was seated things went more smoothly, he started nursing happily, and I leaned back to try and relax for a few minutes. T, who was along for the first part of the subway ride (he was headed out to a different event with a friend) gallantly held my bag.
It was at this otherwise peaceful juncture that a giant-sunglasses-wearing, middle-aged woman seated opposite us and down a few seats shouted at me in a tone that most might might reserve for run-ins with their sworn enemies, "COVER YOURSELF UP!!!"
I was royally taken aback by the abrupt shout and looked up sharply. She was scowling back and shaking her finger at me. "THAT IS ILLEGAL! YOU BETTER COVER YOURSELF UP! THAT IS NOT RIGHT!"
I would like to note here, for the record, that I was not even that exposed. The ruffles on the high, button-up neckline of my blouse were concealing all but a modest display of cleavage. Not that there would be any crime in having my whole damn baby-feeding tit hanging out for the world to see, but to hear this woman's tone you would have thought I had just walked over and slapped her in the face with my breast. She was incensed, to put it mildly.
Now, I have been breastfeeding in public for over 15 months now and nothing remotely like this has ever happened to me. This is New York City. People barely bat an eye at a statuesque black man strutting down the street in colorful hosiery, Brigitte Bardot's weave, and the beard of an Amish preacher. Well dolls, I don't know what came over me, but I didn't skip a beat. I yelled right back at her, "IT IS NOT AGAINST THE LAW TO FEED MY CHILD!"
"YES IT IS!" she hollered back. She was very self-assured, I'll give her that.
"IT ABSOLUTELY IS NOT. THE LAW PROTECTS BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC. IN FACT, YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW RIGHT NOW AND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING TO ME IS CONSIDERED HARASSMENT ACCORDING TO THE LAW!" I might have said the word "law" too many times, but I was firm.
"YOU BETTER COVER UP WITH A BLANKET!" she shouted back.
"Leave her alone," someone else (I didn't see who, it was a crowded car) chimed in.
As the woman continued to berate me, I resorted to the disbelieving oh-no-she-didn't-roll-of-the-eyes-while-shaking-my-head-technique. It really was hard to believe that this was happening! My blood was boiling, but I was finished with her. At this point, T stepped over to the woman and attempted to engage her in a lower-decibel conversation. He heroically, politely, and firmly reiterated that I had every right to breastfeed, and suggested that she research the law for herself. She went back and forth with him, unmoved by his assertions and using a quieter, though no less ugly tone of voice. Moments later we arrived at our stop, at which point T and I got off the train with me still holding the latched-on-and-vigorously-nursing Kiddo in my arms.
Meanwhile, the Kiddo had fallen asleep. For reals. Only in New York, people.