Monday, 14 April 2014

☆ Lolita Tips Part III: Lolita Etiquette ☆


  Hi all! This part is the one I was asked for the most out of the three, and it might ruffle a few underskirts. As usual, you can take or leave the advice written in here, the key is not to take it as law!

  Firstly, if you recognise your own behaviour in here, don't flip your lid; just ask yourself how you'd feel if someone bust into your group of friends acting in that way and answer honestly. It's okay! A lot of lolitas will have you believe they never had a newbie phase, and that they were just born with the natural knowledge of lolita and how to conduct themselves within it, but this simply is not true. Everyone started out shaky; there's just no other way to start. Even I, who researched my ass off, made dumb mistakes when I first started out. I've seen some of the first ever photos of some famous lolitas and they are shockers. I'm not going to post any here, to save embarrassing anyone, but trust me - at some point, even the best and brightest have angrily defended their short-lived opinion that scene hair + pink skirt = lolita genius. 
  You should give this a read through if you've had any questions in your mind about how to conduct yourself at a meet - the truth is, there isn't a certain way to be, it's best to just be yourself! However, there are a few common, mildly annoying themes that seem to come up in new lolitas quite often, and none of them come as a result of people being themselves. More often than not, they're born from fears that the lolitas in the comm Miss Newbie is on her way to meet are somehow "more kawaii" than her. Hopefully, by directly addressing it, people who might have behaved in any of these ways themselves will realise we've seen it all before and we'll appreciate the real you a lot more than any of these personas. In this article, you're going to see the things that will twist your fellow lolitas' bloomers, breaking them up into the five most common "persona types", complete with examples. Persona?, I hear you ask, But Vivi, I am not creating a false image for myself! If that's true, go you! Staying just who you are is Step 1 to success. But, as you'll see, not everyone is as grounded as you...

  Please note, illustrations are used to prettify the blog; I'm not insinuating that there's anything wrong with the images, or that anyone who dresses like them will naturally adhere to that persona type! I can't seem to track an original source for the images, just a lot of pinterest links - so if anyone knows the artist, let me know!

Type One: The Princess

  "The Princess" is one who raises a sigh whenever she hits the "going" button on a facebook event page. She's stubborn, bossy and perpetually disappointed in the events she attends, though for some reason she still keeps coming to others' and will not host her own. I'm no psychiatrist, but this behaviour seems to be an attempt to be "top dog" of the group, as The Princess will consistently try to show how superior she is to other attendees. No one confronts her because meets aren't for drama, and she will start a war if addressed about it, probably not because she's nasty but because she'll automatically become defensive and/or embarrassed.
Real life examples:
  • Sarah* attended her first meet at my comm, was silent and stony-faced for most of it and the first sentence out of her mouth came after we lost a small group of girls in a busy crowd: "I'm not surprised they left... *heavy eyeroll* They were probably bored." This is not only a stupid way to start off your relationship with a comm, it was very upsetting for the host, who had never held a meet on her own before and had been worried for days about keeping people entertained. 
  • Claire was a cross of The Princess and The Anarchist (see further on!). She had some form of complaint about every meet, whether it's the distance walked, the look on the face of a passer-by or even the meet venue itself.  Most notably, she got upset when the meet as a whole didn't end when she went home, even if we were halfway through a meal when she left. She had strong opinions on what a meet should be like and got fed up when hosts didn't adhere to it.

Type Two: The Questionable Hobbyist 

  That was a nice way of saying "the possible fetish enthusiast/ageplayer". If you wear lolita in any sexual manner at all, leave it at home. I'm not kidding. Don't bring your fetish. Put that thing back where it came from or so help me. Not everyone has the same tastes as you, there's a good chance there will be at least some underage attendees and it's just lame to force your kinks on others. No one will shame you for whatever you're into, but you shouldn't just expect them to be open to or accepting of it either. Anyone from a comm near me will recognise the first one of these...
Real life examples:
  • Emma was a brolita who was made to leave our comm and subsequently made to leave a string of others. She was fine at first, shy but generally normal, until one day she made a comment to a fourteen year old meet attendee that she was wearing a diaper and she asked the girl how she felt about it. The girl was visibly upset but didn't reveal why until some time after the meet ended. Emma later went on to ask people if she could bring her babysitter next time, asked underage girls to meet up with her for drinks on the condition they invited no one else, and repeatedly asked people, especially the youngest comm members, whether they were sexually attracted to nappies. I don't think I need to explain to you why this is plain wrong. 
  • Lucy brought her girlfriend along to her first meet for support, and though Lucy didn't seem to have any sexual interest in lolita, her girlfriend certainly did. She made constant inappropriate jokes, eyeing other attendees to see if they were laughing with her (they weren't) and even went as far as ruining the group photos by hiking her leg up Lucy and grabbing her breasts every time a shot was attempted.

Type Three: The Anarchist

  "Bodyline is just as good as brand! Only stupid people pay that much for a dress!". This is just one of the gems of wisdom you'll hear from The Anarchist. This is by far the most common type of persona, and it often seems to stem from a sense of inferiority, as new lolitas can often become convinced - especially if they've spent a lot of time on the internet beforehand - that the lolitas in her new comm will all be "brand whores", or will look down on her for not owning any £100+ dresses. This is just not true. Very rarely does anyone jump in at the deep end and start buying up new release prints - 99.9% of us started off at Bodyline or SaiSai and built our wardrobes on that. Incidentally, if you shop at SaiSai, my sincere advice to you is to stop immediately, because you're paying ridiculous prices for poor quality dresses. Bodyline and taobao can be your offbrand besties. Back on topic, The Anarchist will often show off about how she smokes or drinks in her dresses, and likely about how she flashes her knees or swears in them as well. Also known as the "Special Snowflake" for her assertion that whilst everyone is unique, she is even more unique and that's why the dress rules of lolita don't apply to her.
Real life examples:
  • Let's go back to Claire. She had a habit of trying to break the rules before she'd learned them. She would occasionally ask for opinions on a co-ord that's either a misfire, or could just use some refining - but rather than take the advice offered, she'd snap at anyone who less than adored it, putting it down to her idea not consisting of brand. As I said... this isn't true. If you ask for concrit, don't be surprised when you get concrit. 
  • Hannah was a girl I had the misfortune of meeting a few times. She spent a long time making fun of Lisa - Lisa had once told us her replica dress was real, but she only did it that once before she realised no one would have judged her either way. Hannah, though, honestly spent hours ragging on Lisa (never to her face) about how Hannah was so much better than her because Hannah owned ~real Angelic Pretty~. Well, I checked the label on Hannah's dress when she left it on a hanger. "Sugar Fairy". Hmmmm... This is an example of The Anarchist crossing over to what she deems "the other side". She's just as judgemental and disapproving of others, only she pretends to have a position of authority to speak from. Rarer than the outright rebel, and somehow even more off putting.

Type Four: The Anime Protagonist

  The Anime Protagonist, or The Magical Girl is the person most likely to proclaim something as "kawaii" in a high pitched voice she'll sometimes forget to keep up. She's scatty, a little airheaded, and will probably overact a few tripping over incidents, because after all, what kawaii shoujo type doesn't? She isn't happy unless she eats macarons or a parfait at least once every meet, and she'll be shocked if any of you drop a swear or refer to your mundane home lives. She's most likely to bring along a friend or SO, as they're too delicate and girly to be out alone. Their companion will likely look mildly confused the entire day, as they're probably a bit puzzled by Mahou Shoujo's sudden personality change. She's not actually that difficult to get along with, and wouldn't be much of an issue if it weren't for her insistence that all lolitas act the way she does and so should you.
Real life examples:
  • Leah had been doing the voice on and off all day, but the thing that took it to the next level was when she saw some animals in a field and exclaimed "Ooooooh, kawaiiiii!". Plot twist: they were rutting.
  • Leah was also a fan of coming to cafes and restaurants and ordering the most stereotypical item on the menu, declaring it both kawaii and sugoi, before realising she didn't like it. Macarons aren't for everyone.
  • Alex added me on facebook before a meet that she never actually came to. I had to delete her after her fiftieth post declaring herself to be a fairy princess on the inside. The Magical Girl will often paint herself to be a lonely loner on a lonely road, but the truth is, she hasn't really reached out to any other lolitas and participates in the online community mostly to demonstrate to her fellow anime fans that she's almost celestially kawaii, and has a second life as a pretty, lacy princess that her real life acquaintances can't possibly comprehend. You'll probably never actually meet her, so this is a mild irritation at best.
  • Mona, who I had a very short lived facebook friendship with, would not stop calling her dress "gosu rori". I made a half-joke about it being fine to called it gothic lolita since she was a native English speaker and she flipped her lid on me, claiming to be full Japanese (gurl was whiter than the milk in my damn tea) and informing me that I am a weeaboo ita who doesn't know how to rori and that everyone is supposed to call it gosu rori, because her best friends in Japan told her so. Most Shoujos aren't this aggressive, it's a pretty extreme example.

Type Five: The Pioneer

  Once a Pioneer joins the comm, you'll have to swim through her adverts if you want to use your comm's facebook page. She "discovers" one thing after another, and flaunts her newfound knowledge as if she were the first one to possess it. She finds out what a maid cafe is? She just has to run one! Realises deco cream is basically bathroom sealant? She's opened an Etsy already! You need hairbows in lolita, right? And she has a sewing machine and some scraps of gaudily printed fabric... it's destiny!
  She's not obsessed with money, though - the pioneer wants to be the first to know everything, and the first to demonstrate it.
Real life examples:
  • Martine announced and started taking reservations for a grand event idea she had literally hours before. It never happened.
  • Zoe started up a short-lived shop selling simple, single layer (see through) circle skirts made of childrens' bedsheets. 
  • I once posted an innocent question asking if an accessory store used to be called "Cyber Geisha", as I couldn't find said store but I had found a store selling similar products. Alice jumped in and wrote me an essay as long as your arm about the history of "cyber geisha fashion", having not bothered to read my question properly, and promptly bit my head off when I politely told her it was a shop, not a style. Awkward.
  • After cult party kei began to take off, Beth decided the new in thing was going to be CPK inspired lolita. Not involving medical or creepy elements, not even involving bed clothes - just not wearing a skirt over her petticoat. She didn't respond well to gentle concrit, which is a shame, because these types of outfit have since been done really well. 

  At the end of this, I hope you're feeling confident that these antics aren't very you. At the very least, I hope you're not offended. If you're wondering what there is left to do in lolita if you can't live out your anime fantasies, I say to you: there's, y'know, everything else!
  I'm serious! Lolita is clothes, first and foremost. Real lifestyle lolitas are incredibly rare, 99% of us just wear it where we can and the rest of the time, we're just average people. If you've been convinced that lolita meets are all about drinking tea in a ladylike manner and discussing the latest prints in measured voices, think about this: the meets I go to mostly consist of sitting around drinking tea with fancy names, quoting My Immortal to each other, telling ghost stories on one quite marvellous occasion, moaning our feet hurt, pretending to be Venus Angelic and a hell of a lot of laughing. I'm talking actual laughing where your eyeliner runs and and your face goes red through your foundation and you're not really bothered about your doll-like appearance because you're not a doll, you're just someone having fun with friends. Sounds better, right? This is what I want all new lolitas to picture when they go to a meet, because this is the reality of them! They aren't stuffy, structured jaunts full of outfit comparisons and co-ording competitions. They're fun, and to make the most of that, you're gonna need to be who you are, not who you think you should be. It's easier to relate to people that way; if you're utilising any of the above personas, you have to relate to it before you can relate it to them, if that makes sense. 

  Drop the complications and concentrate on having fun in your new dresses! Let's be honest... not many people share your fashion sense, so doesn't it make sense to enjoy the company of people who do, rather than try to compete with them?

Vivi xoxo

* All names have been changed for privacy reasons.