Hello friends! Nif here with our first real post written directly on Buttondown.
Content warning: discussion of recent acts of police violence
Take the time to take care of yourselves, your families, and communities in the wake of Daunte Wright’s murder at the hands of police, the sham trials of convicted cops, and callous and complicit local governments allowing it all to happen. We encourage you all to give directly to Daunte Wright’s family’s GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/dauntewright and support mutual aid projects in the Twin Cities, like Minneapolis Northside Mutual Aid: https://opencollective.com/mpls-northside-mutual-aid
Beyond that, we encourage you to get involved in your city’s fight to defund and abolish your local police. Discuss ways of keeping your community safe that don’t involve calling the cops - see the zine 1 Million Experiments by Project Nia. Keep having discussions with your family, friends, and comm. Lolita fashion isn’t an escape until it’s an escape for all of us.
End content warning
Are you new to Lolita fashion and worried about how the important people in your life will react when you introduce them to your new hobby? This week in our validating content for newcomers series: you deserve a partner that respects your interests - including Lolita fashion! This week, I’m here to discuss some heartwarming anecdotes from my own experience to show you what support from your partner might look like.
Content warning: this post mentions (but does not describe in detail) abusive relationships, cigarette smoking, bodily changes/weight gain and loss.
The way our partners, romantic or otherwise, react to Lolita fashion, comes up as a topic pretty often in Lolita and JFashion spaces. Some folks are truly lucky, and they meet partners in the hobby itself. Shared wardrobes, what a dream… for the rest of us, though, we hope to meet someone who understands that our fashion is for us, it empowers us, and we deserve the chance to engage with it and the friends we meet in the fashion.
Prior to meeting my spouse Ryan, I had been pretty unlucky when it came to partners respecting my agency. Just, you know, in general. I’ll spare you the details so we can keep this post light and accessible to survivors, but suffice it to say I had some pretty terrible partners in my 20s. The person I was with prior to upending my life in Ohio and moving to Washington made a point to tell me that my hobbies weren’t worthwhile, and he also tried to create rifts between me and my friends. That’s about all I can say before this post takes on a different tone - but if this sounds familiar? I want to take this moment to tell you that you do deserve better.
Bears repeating: if you are passionate about something, your partner should (w/ understandable limits) be interested in hearing/talking about them with you, because they love you and part of loving you is loving your passions too, even if they don’t share them.— Your Friendly Butch Anarchist (@butchanarchy) March 27, 2021
I loved this tweet from @butchanarchy from a thread about things you should expect from a relationship. Before I met Ryan, I never expected to have a partner who was interested in my hobbies, or even interested in being interested, if that makes sense. But we built the foundations of our relationship on things we loved doing together - playing pinball, traveling, going to live podcast readings, etc., and looking back, it’s not at all surprising that Ryan wanted to know more about my niche fashion hobby.
When I met Ryan, I was in sort of a transitional phase in Lolita fashion. I had begun wearing Lolita fashion casually every day, including to work, but the changes in my body (not necessarily a good thing) that had allowed me to wear a variety of pieces started to reverse themselves, and I found myself boxed out of the casual wardrobe I had built on a budget. I continued to experiment with casual coords and my personal aesthetic, until my discomfort in my too-tight pieces became unbearable, and I bought a pair of jeans. Finding my coworkers took me more seriously as a software developer in pants and t-shirts, no headbows and no frill skirts, I changed my wardrobe to emphasize occasional OTT coords. Ryan got to see my personal aesthetic evolve over time.
Coincidentally, very soon after I met Ryan, I left town to go to Rufflecon 2016, which I had planned to attend while I still lived in Cleveland - in fact, one of the first things I did after expunging the aforementioned ex from my life was buy a ticket to Rufflecon. I went alone, made friends (a strange upside of being a cigarette smoker is that you will find companions wherever you go!), partied hard, and chatted with Ryan on the phone throughout the weekend. He was intrigued enough by the fun I was having that we decided to go together the following year.
Ryan’s interest in the fashion didn’t stop, and we started building him a wardrobe and exploring his personal aesthetic. He came with me to meets around town - sometimes just dropping me off and letting me have space to hang out with my pals, and sometimes stopping by to socialize and enjoy the meet. While he loves being involved (and having a little brunch, because we love a brunch meetup in Seattle), he understands that space might be limited and is willing to give up his spot for a community member. As the idea for Royal Vegas Retreat started to grow, he became our photographer, builder, and logistician. Honestly? I feel lucky beyond my wildest dreams to have his support - it’s just one of many reasons why we got married!
Between the two of us, I’m not the only one who loves their niche hobbies. Right before the pandemic, Ryan got into gold panning. As it turns out, this is a great hobby to partake in alone, in the wilderness, so his enthusiasm for prospecting only grew as COVID ramped up. While I filled our closet with our wardrobes, he created a gold panning workstation for sifting through buckets of material - gold, mica, pyrite, and the occasional garnet. We discuss our budget for new equipment for our hobbies, make compromises on what we should buy next, and build our shared lives around what makes both of us happiest.
I’ve never felt so supported in my goals and in my happiness - and you deserve to feel the same way. If you find yourself with a partner who refuses to respect the things you love, who has a problem with you engaging in Lolita fashion, or who gets jealous of the time you invest in this hobby, please know that this isn’t your fault, or a result of something you did wrong. You deserve respect, unequivocally, in all areas of your life. You shouldn’t have to hide parts of yourself or put them aside to win your partner’s respect. You deserve someone who loves all of you - your aesthetic, your politics, your community. All of you.
As before, please hold tight until May 2021 for updates on Royal Vegas Retreat 2021. With the latest bulletins from the federal government about widespread vaccine availability starting, like, right now??? we’re feeling cautiously optimistic - with “cautious” being the operative word, as vaccine supply is only one part of this complex scenario. If you recently signed up to volunteer with us - THANK YOU! And thank you especially for your patience as we get organized.
Stay safe, keep wearing a mask, and stay home when possible. As always, you can check https://prettyprincess.club for information on Royal Vegas Retreat 2021.