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Sunday, May 23, 2021

old lineIt somehow completely passed me by that “Jenn” from Versus’ sports-talk roundtable show “The Daily Line” is none other than Jenn Sterger. That’s the same Jenn Sterger who was thrust into fame four years ago, as the FSU Cowgirl.

She looks different nowadays. And not just because she tends to wear more clothes on Versus than she did at Seminoles games. She’s a lot more tan now, for one. I also think her face looks significantly different. It has been four years; some physical changes aren’t out of the question. Also keep in mind that Sterger hasn’t been shy about plastic surgery in the past, including breast enhancement and reduction. I don’t know if she’s moved onto facial reconstruction now, but it would explain why (to me) she doesn’t look like the same cowgirl of old.

None of which compels me to watch “Line”. No amount of host remodeling makes that talking-head noise any more palatable.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/23/2010 12:16pm
Category: Florida Livin', Sports, TV, Women
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Monday, April 26, 2021

Consider the above photo to be my contribution to today’s boobquake experiment. Not that that’s my rackage wrapped in a Life Savers bra — my Y chromosome, combined with a general lack of estrogen, leaves me without enough breast tissue to fill even an A-cup. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to re-use this stock image, in the guise of a feminist-sanctioned designated pinch-hitter. (If this set doesn’t trigger a tremor or two, I don’t know what will.)

Yes, it’s a silly and gratuitous display. But no less so than the nonsensical declaration that inspired all this boobery:

After Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi claimed last week that “immodest” babes cause earthquakes, Purdue University senior Jennifer McCreight responded by declaring this day “boobquake.”

She’s asking women nationwide to show a little skin today, hoping to prove to the sheik that a little shake never killed anyone. What started as an Internet joke has morphed into social media mayhem with more than 50,000 women expected to join the “movement” through McCreight’s website blaghag.com.

And in addition to McCreight’s blog, a #boobquake hashtag on Twitter is generating ample activity.

Maybe too ample, as today’s seismic shift in Taiwan suggests. Could that crackpot theology actually be correct? If so, I’d be willing to endure a shakier tectonic existence, in exchange for regular displays of “immodesty”.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 04/26/2010 09:33pm
Category: Creative, Political, Social Media Online, Women
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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Leave it to a magazine formerly known as “Gentlemen’s Quarterly” to be a stickler on the finer points in porn terminology:

Grammar update: GQ house style apparently pluralizes “MILF” as “milves.”

Perhaps Condé Nast copyeditors are consulting with Urban Dictionary now. Language formalization often has murky origins.

I can’t believe I missed the original reference to “busty milves” in the cited article, about the lamentations of freely-available online smut. I suppose I was blindsided by the classy writing style.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 04/15/2010 10:49pm
Category: Publishing, Society, Women, Wordsmithing
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Sunday, April 04, 2021

As overused as the pun is, I must invoke it: When it comes to fashionable female coiffures, grey is the new, well, y’know.

In embracing a tint their mothers would have shunned, such role models are lending gray new cachet, giving shades from ash to ermine an unlikely fashion moment. Now, some say, the trend, which trickled down from the runways of Chanel, Giles Deacon and their rarefied ilk to fashion hot spots around the country, seems poised to go mainstream.

At Whittemore House, a vanguard salon in Manhattan’s West Village, models and bohemian types began asking for gray streaks about six months ago, said Victoria Hunter, an owner, adding dryly, “When one gets on the bandwagon, they all do.”

Sharon Dorram, an influential New York colorist, said that among her downtown New York patrons, it is mostly younger women, renegade types, who request gray. Not lost on Ms. Dorram is the irony that their older, more conventional counterparts spent $1.3 billion to cover their grays last year, according to Nielsen.

And lest you think that the “April 1″ timestamp on that article marks this as a fool’s prank, note Kate Moss’ “gray lights/highlights” appearance back in January, which apparently kicked off this nascent craze. And which, fittingly, begs the question about the real motivation behind this intentional fade-job:

Now, we’re all for children and 20-somethings running with this trend, and love its originality. But we’re wondering if it’s appropriate for Moss, who recently celebrated her 36th birthday? If you already have a natural few grays, are you too old to wear this style?

I suspect this is the cynical motivation: Co-opting the aged look on your own terms. Women in their late 20s and 30s, who are just starting to detect a strand or two of grey, will gladly accelerate the process artificially, before nature forces it upon them. And if the younger, pre-greying crowd glom onto the style, all the better. The irony of this dynamic will come with age.

Still, what’s next in this effort to “own” the aging process? Are enhanced wrinkles, designer liver spots, and varicose-veined stockings soon going to make appearances on runway-strutting models?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/04/2021 11:00am
Category: Fashion, Women
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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

By itself, the story of former South American beauty queen Angie San Clemente Valencia becoming a ringleader in an international model-based drug-mule operation is remarkable enough. But what makes it really remarkable: Valencia’s odd career trajectory has a long precedent in the Latin American narco-trade:

For its story about Valencia, El Nuevo Herald went with the very Almodóvar headline, “High Heels and Mini-skirts: The New Face of Drug Trafficking.” Only it’s not exactly a new face. Women have been smuggling drugs for decades — the Drug Enforcement Agency has at least six runty cholas on its list of most wanted fugitives.

Indeed, over the years, no fewer than three previous former beauty queens have, improbably, dabbled in south-of-the-border drug trafficking and related crimes. And that’s not even counting cartel-queens like Miami’s Griselda Blanco and Mexico’s Sandra Avila Beltran. Does the pageant environment somehow prep the pretty contestants for a life of blow-fueled crime?

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/31/2010 10:19pm
Category: True Crime, Women
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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Or, mortality at play:

Fellow Traveler: She’s kinda cute, right?

Me: Nice legs. Definitely attractive, in a… [struggling] …young kinda way.

Fellow Traveler: What does that mean?

Me: Means I’m getting old.

It also means that they’re getting younger all the time

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/18/2010 01:39pm
Category: General, Women
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Thursday, March 04, 2021

Me: …Wish I had a date for this thing.

He: No worries, I’ll be your date!

Me: Hah, yeah, no.

He: Ca-mon, why not?

Me: For one thing, I don’t like blondes.

He: But I’m a dirty blonde.

Me: Not dirty enough, dude.

I pride myself on having delivered such a double-entendre killing stroke to this jokey exchange.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/04/2021 08:58am
Category: Comedy, Women
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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

I’d like to say that the following paragraph is the part of this compellingly raw-boned confessional from a boy-crazy girl that got me hooked:

so often i worry and act out when i don’t get the attention i want from every guy who comes my way. i don’t take the time to consider if i even like THEM! unless they’re a TOTAL dorky/ugly/pussy… THEN i don’t give a fuck! but I’d still have sexxx with a bizarre looking/interesting/successful dude! in a heartbeat! my friend Dallas thinks i have the worst taste in men cuz I’ve slept with fat, ugly, short, abnormally tall, sickly skinny, balding, and bald dudes. not all at the same time! don’t worry! I’ve only had one threesome, and it was with a girl and a guy who were both hipster/heroine chic. but that’s another story, for another time.

But I’ll be honest, and admit that the post title, alone, had me at hello. I’m not going to reproduce it here, but the eponymous URL is as close as a mouseover (above) away.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/24/2010 08:09am
Category: Bloggin', Women
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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Whereas a strap-free gown provides the occasion to show off a woman’s shoulders, the strap-free “Feeldoe” provides the occasion to, well:

Insert the bulbous “pony” end vaginally (or rectally), spread the labia, and nestle those nifty little ridges of the “saddle” against your clitoris. We trust y’all will figure out what to do with the “horse” end that looks like a dildo.

The scalloped ridges on the “saddle” massage the driving partner’s clitoris, and the “pony” rocks her G-spot, while her pubic mound rubs the other partner’s clitoris, and the “horse” (of course) strokes her G-spot..

Whether or not this feels more natural than the traditional strap-on is… not my call.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/21/2010 06:49pm
Category: Creative, Women
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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

With as much television advertising as I watch (and actually pay attention to), I’m surprised that I’ve never noticed this: The prominence of married women characters in TV commercials.

I have always believed that the biggest market for wedding rings is not among newlyweds but among the creators and producers of advertisements for prosaic consumer products. The need to nod to viewers who are part of mainstream households that the actor or actors in the commercials are meant to be married — just like you! — is the reason behind the proliferation of such rings.

That need is, of course, multiplied a million-fold if the spot shows a woman (or man) with a child or children. Offspring out of wedlock? Gasp, shudder! Never on Madison Avenue.

The idea being that, within that 30-second window, there’s no room for subtleties. So the visuals have to instantly convey that the talking head that’s talking to you is much like you, so you should listen. Single? Then you either aspire to be married, or else you don’t spend as much as a married woman anyway, so then who cares about you? The ring is the thing, clearly.

It’s a rather vicious set of mnemonic messaging if you’re single, though. Not only are you excluded from the pitch, you’re being told that the pretty woman on the screen is off-limits. That is, if the sanctity of advertising-imagery marriage means anything to you…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/20/2010 10:55pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Society, Women
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Monday, December 28, 2020

swoon riverOver the past couple of weeks, it’s slowly dawned on me that many a modern-day woman has a thing for the late Audrey Hepburn.

And why not? A half-century after her iconic turn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hepburn remains an ideal of simple elegance, eminently approachable and attainable. She evokes a sensibility composed of both sophistication and innocence — a combination that’s considered practically oxymoronic in our more jaded times.

What I can’t figure out, though, is the desire by women to emulate the classic Audrey look, even when it’s not necessarily a natural fit. In separate instances, I’ve been told by female acquaintances (including one via tweet) that they were sold on a dress, hairstyle, etc. because it gave them that Audrey Hepburn quality. In each case, the women in question had physical features that were decidedly unlike Hepburn’s, i.e. curvy, blonde, or olive-skinned. That such a diverse representation of femininity would all aspire to be Audrey says something about the idealization at play.

Along with the real-life examples, I have Penelope Cruz‘s recent turn in Broken Embraces on my mind, too. Cruz plays a film-within-a-film role in this movie that’s consciously a Hepburn clone. While she pulls it off nicely, I was reminded that Cruz ordinarily doesn’t come across as Audrey type.

So, what is it? Why does Audrey Hepburn command such devotion among female fans? What’s with all these latter-day Audrey “girl crushes”? My Y chromosome wants to know…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/28/2009 11:53pm
Category: Celebrity, Fashion, Movies, Pop Culture, Women
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Thursday, December 17, 2021

It doesn’t take a shoe fetishist to get wowed over this light-refracting fashion statement for the female foot:

These are shoes that will freak people out. Yes, we know that her “invisible shoe” is basically a wedge made of mirrors, and looks about as comfortable as the inside of Steve Buscemi’s mouth, but there’s really nothing that says “I’m a fashionista” like showing up at a party with your feet gone A.W.O.L.

Pedal camouflage via polished glass. This is what you can expect from a “footwear concept” designer.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 12/17/2009 11:44pm
Category: Creative, Fashion, Women
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Monday, December 07, 2021

There have been so many naked-model ads for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that this latest one, featuring Joanna Krupa, really shouldn’t cause anyone to bat an eye.

Anyone other than the Catholic League, which objects to the whole ornate-cross-as-angelic-bikini imagery. For that matter, Krupa’s work here does inspire me to convert to Catholicism, animal activism, and blondes — almost.

As for that “Be an Angel for Animals” theme, the heavenly wings seem to be incongruent with PETA’s core values:

Is that angel’s wings made from real feathers???? Oh the horror!

Maybe PETA was so enamored of its takeoff on the Victoria’s Secret iconic Angels campaign that it overlooked bird byproducts (real or synthetic, doesn’t matter in terms of visual messaging) in an anti-cruelty ad. Or else avian suffering doesn’t make the ethical-treatment cut.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/07/2021 06:17pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Fashion, Political, Women
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Tuesday, November 03, 2021

On “30 Rock”, main character Liz Lemon has hit the big-time by penning a dating-advice book for women. This girls’ guide expands upon the show’s popular catchphrase, “That’s a dealbreaker, ladies!” — to wit:

If your man is over thirty and still wears a nametag to work… that’s a dealbreaker, ladies!

Picky, picky.

I, on the other hand, have been known to hedge on what should be dealbreaking traits/flaws from the opposite sex, as illustrated thusly:

Me: …but, y’know, it’s not a dealbreaker.
Fellow Traveller: Is that like your favorite word or something?
Me: What, “dealbreaker”?
FT: Yeah! You use it every time you talk about a girl.
Me: Get outta here.
FT: You do! You’re like, “she’s blonde, but it’s not a dealbreaker”, or “she smokes a lot, but that’s not a dealbreaker”.
Me: Just keeping my options open. Everybody says I’m too picky.
FT: So what is a dealbreaker for you?
Me: I dunno; I guess a crack habit would be hard for me to go along with.
FT: Only crack? What about other drugs?
Me: Hey, there’s a reason why they called it heroin chic!
FT: Anything else?
Me: A sloppy drunk is a turnoff. Or if she outweighs me. There’s my dealbreakers, okay?
FT: At least you have standards.

I have a feeling this plot device signals “30 Rock’s” jump-the-shark moment. Just as my own equivocating selection criteria is, lamentably, becoming untenable as time goes on.

Are women more likely to break the relationship deal than men? Chalk this up to the classic he-said-she-said difference of perception. Disregarding that Liz Lemon is fictional, and I am not (or, no more so than anyone else).

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/03/2021 11:29pm
Category: Comedy, Pop Culture, TV, Women
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Thursday, October 29, 2021

I’m sure it doesn’t really measure up with the Vietnam-era look of haunting trauma. But I swear, the one-on-one disinterested scrutiny that I was subjected to last night was bad enough. I hope she walked away satisfied, because I sure wasn’t.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 10/29/2009 08:08am
Category: Women, Wordsmithing
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Saturday, October 24, 2021

block-by-blockNothing says “girly geek” quite like this homemade dress, no doubt inspired by countless hours of Tetris-playing. Frenetic block-dropping never looked so fashionable!

(Via dustbury, who I’m betting saw the same tweet that I did on this)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/24/2009 07:20pm
Category: Creative, Fashion, Videogames, Women
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Monday, October 19, 2021

A few days ago, I was visiting with my precocious godniece Jamie. She was trying to finagle a whole dollar from me, in exchange for fetching me a soda.

I pointed out that she’d have to abandon what she was doing at that moment (general fun-having), and hike a fair distance and back (for an 8-year-old), to earn her scratch. With a meek smile, she reached out her arm in the direction of the soft drink source, mimicking an extended, superhero-like stretch.

“Like Mister Fantastic, right?” I said, playing along with her latest goofy suggestion.

A brief look of confusion flashed across Jamie’s face. Then she recovered and stated — not without some indignation — “No, like Mrs. Incredible!”

Because Elastigirl/Mrs. Incredible, of The Incredibles fame, is a girl. So that makes more sense than invoking Reed Richards. Of course. Comparison of the adjective-based super-names is a dead heat otherwise, and is secondary next to the gender-identification consideration.

Yet again, I misread female communication. At least this time it cost me only the dollar that I gave her anyway.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 10/19/2009 09:02pm
Category: Comedy, Movies, Pop Culture, Women
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Sunday, October 18, 2021

Amid the recent outrage expressed over the Photoshop flap involving Ralph Lauren’s “too fat” 120-pound model Filippa Hamilton, everyone’s conveniently overlooking the social love-hate dynamic at play:

The fatter the general population, the thinner the idealized woman. And for all the public posturing and blogging, the only force that stopped people from buying clothes and magazines was the souring economy, not righteous indignation over skinny models.

By its very nature, fashion is a business of falsehoods and costumes, all in service to self-definition. The uncomfortable truth about the fashion industry is it has a knack for tapping into unspoken cultural obsessions and taboos. Fashion sets up a rarefied world of perfection that is, in many ways, defined by how much it differs from the mundane, from the norm. And all indicators suggest that as a culture, we hate what we are becoming: fat…

With that in mind, maybe all of the protesting about deluded designers has been wrongheaded. Maybe all of the demands that editors and photographers just use heavier models have been misguided. Because before fashion models will get any bigger, people in general will just have to get smaller.

It’s pretty simple: There’s nothing noteworthy about seeing regular-looking bodies and faces in media, because we see those same unremarkable images in everyday life. If you want to sell something, you do it by showcasing the rare and the desirable. To the extent that “real beauty” campaigns, like Dove’s, stand out, it’s only because they contrast so much with the clutter that is the glammed-up norm.

The exclusivity of beauty is also rooted in socioeconomic class distinctions, with everything from ideal skin tone to ideal body weight defined along haves/have-nots lines (with preferences often reversing, e.g. Botticelli plumpness being affluently desirable in societies where the masses are skinny due to subsistence-level living). As I wrote in this space years ago:

[G]eneral perceptions don’t work that way. The basic law of supply and demand works for societal trends, too: Those who fit the ideal of perfection (or at least desirability) are always going to be in the minority, and “the rest” are going to be a dime a dozen. Scarcity creates value; that’s natural. If every boy and girl were drop-dead gorgeous, then ergo, nobody would be beautiful.

Basically, we all want, and want to be, that which we can’t achieve unto ourselves. It’s twisted, but then, so is fashion.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/18/2009 03:55pm
Category: Fashion, Media, Society, Women
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Thursday, September 10, 2021

I was already aware of the female-oriented messaging in the marketing of penis-pill Cialis. I didn’t realize that that messaging extended to the drug’s advertising imagery, with bathroom fixtures subbing for the other gender’s genitalia:

I guess since my academic research was in semiotics, what always popped into my head when seeing those bathtubs was that they represent female sex organs. Where many of the other commercials for erectile dysfunction drugs show phallic representations, reflecting how they are aimed more at men than women, Cialis is trying to appeal to the decision-maker of the household: the woman.

I’m staring at those yellow-backdropped silhouettes above, and for the life of me, I can’t discern any recognizable naughty bits. Perhaps I lack the academic research. Or else I’m short a bathtub.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/10/2021 11:41pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Science, Women
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Friday, August 28, 2021

tittering tweeters
From the same lady who brought us her own personal Vagina Twitter-logue, here’s Heartless Doll editor Andrea Grimes with the top ten things her tits would tweet.

And let’s give a special shout-out to the No. 1 punchline on that list:

1. @boyfriendspenis you are so dramatic. always trying to come between us.

Yeah. I like the idea of both breasts collectively expressing themselves within the same tweetstream, but with occasional left-right intra-dialogue. A sort of mammarial schizophrenia, played out online.

Disclaimer: The above photo is my stock-photo contribution to this Twitter-tittering. I have no idea how close it comes to representing Ms. Grimes. Although if she possesses anything close to these proportions, I’d say her rack doesn’t need Twitter — they already speak volumes, without the benefit of social media.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 08/28/2009 07:43pm
Category: Comedy, Social Media Online, Women
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Recently, an ex of mine surprised me with news that she was ditching her lifelong career in sales to become a nurse. It surprised me because, while I knew she was tired of the 20 years of sales pitching, I didn’t see her transitioning from that high-pressured spiel to a primary-care environment. She certainly has a compassionate, nurturing side to her; I just don’t see her making a living with it.

But she’s set her mind on it, and if all goes as planned, she’ll be a Registered Nurse within two years. Thus, she’ll turn the same trick that many second-career nurses have turned.

This ex isn’t the first person I’ve met who’s switched gears and gotten into nursing. I can think of a former business associate who accomplished her goal of becoming a nurse, after a divorce and other major life changes. There are a couple of others I remember who had the same intention, although I lost touch with them before finding out if they actually followed through or not. The common thread: All of them were on the edge of, or well into, middle age (late 30s to late 40s), and, yes, all were women.

So: Is the pursuit of a nursing career a later-in-life rite of passage for women?

I realize men become nurses too. But let’s face it, women still dominate the field, so it remains primarily a female’s professional destination. And I’ve yet to meet a man who’s declared a desire to chuck all work-related experience to this point, in favor of becoming an RN.

Second-career nurses aren’t new; the trend’s been noticeable for decades. And its allure seems strong, regardless of how accomplished the “starter” career is. From my perspective, it even overrides seeming incompatibilities in personality and temperament — such as in the case of my ex-girlfriend, whose nursing intentions sparked my speculation on this in the first place.

Maybe it’s a gender-issue thing, combined with routine midlife anxiety. Makes me wonder what first-career nurses wind up pining for when they reach that restless stage…

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 08/28/2009 01:09pm
Category: Business, Society, Women
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