Cuteness

Now that I've confessed my love of office supplies, I feel safe enough with you, my Internet friends, to reveal that I have Hello Kitty checks. Jealous?

My "mother in law" saw them recently and was quite puzzled, since on the surface I'm generally not a cutesy kind of gal. "Uh Jennifer, I like your checks?" she said laughingly. "Those were unexpected."

And whenever I wear pink these days my mom finds it remarkable. "I never thought I'd see you wearing pink," she says, remembering back to my teenage years, when I would have associated the color with all that I considered corny, sentimental, and bourgeois. (Except the 1980s preppy kind of pink, of course, which was the height of fashion.)

But you see, now that I'm in my dotage, I can finally confess that I have a secret girly side. Though I dress like your average self-loathing Generation X hipster doofus, which I am, I also long for the days when a trip to the Sanrio store was the height of aesthetic fulfillment.

Any girl under the age of 40 or so probably knows the smell of those stores and the overwhelming sensation of cuteness. I especially loved the erasers, which were always scented nicely, and made of some smooth, slightly translucent material. (I never used any of them, naturally. They were too nice.)

Lately I've been thinking a lot about cuteness. I'm not talking about the Cute Overload kind, which, though pleasurable, depends mostly upon a basic human instinct to like baby animals. I'm talking about something else, which I've been struggling to identify.

In some senses I'm talking about the hip, Japanese, "kawaii" kind of cuteness -- the cuteness of Sanrio and anime, and girls in school uniforms and knee socks. Unfortunately, the fact that this aesthetic is increasingly popular among hipster doofi makes me suspicious that I only like it because it's cool and foreign, though I'm generally not a fan of anime and manga and all that stuff. Still, I'm big enough to admit that this might be the case.

What I love is bright colors and a cheerful, childlike spirit. I love Totoro and Hello Kitty. I love beads and spangles, stuffed animals and stickers. (Goddamit I love stickers. A switch in my head could easily go kerplooie and cause me to compulsively collect stickers (again). Worse, I could start scrapbooking. If that happens, shoot me.)

The common thread here is that all these things make me happy. Maybe it's the childless, self-indulgent life I've created for myself that makes me so infantile. Or maybe it's the fact that the world can really suck. Whatever the reason, I will take joy wherever I can find it.


6 comments:

bill said...

Dotage? Say its not so.....

Savoy6 said...

Yeah, definitely no dotage here.

I lived in Japan for sevral years, and the "kawaii" sentiment is in full force. I think I understand what you mean about liking cute stuff without going overboard. For instance, in Japan, all the vehicles are small, and you get some really charming stuff like tiny fire engines and grain combines (see the link). It’s like living in Tonka world.

http://acw.moliu.org/04jap/IMG_1518?full=1

Savoy6 said...

Oh look at that, I misspelled “several” like one day after you told us how important it is to check spelling…Sheeez.

bill said...

It's not misspelling, it's --umm-- compressed spelling. Yeah, that's it.

Hello Kitty Checks said...

"I especially loved the erasers, which were always scented nicely, and made of some smooth, slightly translucent material. (I never used any of them, naturally. They were too nice.)"

I was just talking & laughing about this with my sister today! Our local store was called Christie's Pals. The memories...

Hello Kitty Checks said...

I've always loved hello kitty products anyway so anything with hello kitty based is OK in my book!

Evana