the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Nerdy Bloggers’ Fashion Makeover

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Some say the blogosphere is like high school. I don’t think it is anything like high school. In high school, the geeks and the beauty queens do not hang out with each other EVERY DAY, making jokes and flirting with each other. The internet is really the ultimate “Beauty and the Geek” social experiment. Have you seen some of the beautiful female bloggers out there?

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Whoorl has the best hair on the internet.

Do you really think she would be talking with a geek like ME in high school?!

If the blogosphere is like high school, it is like one of those Hollywood high schools that Alicia Silverstone went to in Clueless. The blogosphere is an institution of unlikely friendships, where the dorks and the fashion plates become the best of friends because there is so much to LEARN from each other. I read the blog of the glamorous La Coquette all the time, trying to learn something about fashion. Some other fashion blogger might read a computer geek who wears broken glasses, hoping to learn some code for her blog template. The final result: all sorts of bizarre online friendships.

On Saturday night, Sophia and I had dinner with Tamar and Danny. This was an exciting event, because it was the first time I’ve met Tamar since she “won” me in a charity auction. I really loved meeting her. She has a wild sense humor, not at all like the stereotypical brainy professor you see in movies.

Danny, Tamar, and I have something else in common: we are all dorky when it comes to fashion. Unlike Sophia, who always has a certain je ne sais quoi about her, and has her own sense of style, the three of us see “style” as a low priority in our lives.

Danny is a writer and editor who buttons his shirt incorrectly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wearing a tie or non-khaki pants.

Tamar is a writer and educator, with little interest in “girlish” things. She admits that she doesn’t like to go shopping or spend time picking out clothes.

I’m completely fashion-hopeless, worse than both of them, usually wearing two different style socks. My only saving grace is that I have Sophia to force me to dress nicer on occasion.

But luckily, the three of us dorkier bloggers are blessed to have bloggers like YOU — the more socialized and fashion-conscious bloggers of the world, the ones who actually know how to match your purse with your shoes, those who use blogging less as a way to escape from the real world, but to talk about the latest dress style for Fall or how you bought some new avocado-scented hair conditioner online.

On Saturday, we finally listened to you — our dear stylish blogging friends, you Alicia Silverstones of the blogosphere — and we each took a giant step in joining the world of glamour.

A few weeks ago, I received an IM from Charming, but Single, with an important message: she had grown tired of my hairstyle. She had seen a photo of me on Flickr and was downright disgusted.

“Don’t you realize that long hair is out of fashion?” she said.

I mentioned this to Sophia, who absolutely agreed.

“You should get your hair cut short.” said Sophia. “Short… and pointed at the top… like Jonathan on “All My Children.””

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former psychotic killer, now nice-guy Jonathan from “All My Children”

I spent a week doing my own research. Almost every male character had short hair on All My Children, some with even a buzzcut. Most of the men in my local Starbucks also wore their hair very short. My longish, graying, hair made me look like an aging rock star on VH1.

I was fearful of change. I’ve always asked for my hair to be cut so it is “over my ears.” As some may have noticed from my childhood photo, there was a good reason I wanted my ears covered.

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Even when my head grew into my ears, I feared showing my “Dumbo”-sized ears to the world, even when Scandinavian research revealed a direct correlation between ear size and the size of other male body parts.

Two days ago, Sophia sat me on the toilet seat and said, “That’s it. I’m cutting your hair short… like Jonathan in “All My Children.”

“Do you know how to cut hair?” I asked.

“No,” she replied, and then went ahead and started cutting it anyway.

Did I lose all my powers, like Samson? Not really.

Thank you, blogosphere, for giving me enough nerve to cut my hair short.

I like Danny a lot. Even though he is from Chicago and I’m from New York, we are both nebbishy Jewish men who walk around with sneakers like Jerry Seinfeld ALL THE TIME. Of course, I’ve been lucky to have a lot of female readers, which means one thing — I’ve already been shamed into wearing shoes. As I’ve heard over and over from my female readers, women care less about a man’s wallet or “package” than what type of SHOES he is wearing. I told this to Danny, but being stubborn, he refused to accept this as a universal truth, thinking it was brains or literary skills that made a man successful in life. Thousands of dollars he spent on therapy, when the answers were right at his feet… literally.

Two weeks ago, after the LA Bloggers reading, Sophia and I went out for dinner with Danny and Deezee. When I saw that Danny was wearing sneakers, I decided to create some trouble for him. I brought up this issue to Sophia and Deezee, and the two women immediately lectured Danny on the evils of grown-up men wearing sneakers, trying to convince him that he would improve his sexiness quotient 500% if he wore a nice pair of shoes. I just sat there and laughed, glad to see women attacking some other hopeless man other than me for a change.

On Saturday night, as I showed up with my new short haircut, Danny showed up wearing shoes. Was it the first time he had ever worn shoes since his wedding?

Thank you, blogosphere, for making Danny become a man who wears shoes.

Tamar is a beautiful and sexy woman, but she is a bit of a throw-back to the 1960s. She still believes in hippy-ish ideals like peace, love, socialism, and caring for one another. She does important research on educational matters. All these “Age of Aquarius” beliefs are wonderful, but I was shocked to learn that Tamar had never EVER worn MAKEUP! Is that a collective gasp I just heard from every mommyblogger on my blogroll? Not mascara, not blush, not lipstick — NOTHING! This is a woman who originally moved from Rhodesia to Israel and actually enjoyed working in the mud on a kibbutz! Sophia also moved to Israel from Odessa, but when she saw that her job was to pile crap on the field, and eat dinner at an appointed time, she said bye-bye socialists, shalom Tel Aviv. But Tamar loved the simple life of a socialist kibbutz babe. Today, Tamar is a woman in her 50’s — and is still stuck in her kibbutz, natural-look, bra-less days.

But Tamar is not afraid of taking risks. After all, this is a woman who bid good money to go on out on a date with ME, a blogger 3000 miles away (she lives in Philadelphia). And frankly, the blogosphere has opened her up to new experiences. She is on Twitter and Facebook, sending gifts and acting as silly as the rest of us. She has read your blogs and been intrigued by your discussions about Sephora and MAC and all these exotic lotions that you “girlie-girls” talk about. And really — is it SO BAD for a socialist to wear a bit of hot pink lipstick when she goes out with her husband?

To the rescue was — Danny’s twelve year old daughter, Leah. Like most Los Angeles teenagers, Leah learned about make-up in the womb. She gave Tamar the full treatment — makeup, lipstick, etc., in the way that only a twelve year old girl can!

Tamar showed up to dinner wearing lipstick for the first time in her life.

Thank you, blogosphere, for teaching Tamar to become a fashion model!

The four of us had a great meal downtown. After dinner, we went to an art gallery to see Ellen Bloom‘s fabulous artwork. None of us had ever met her before. It was an exciting moment as we walked into the gallery. We all looked fabulous. I had my new haircut, Danny had his new shoes, and Tamar had her new make-up.

Ellen Bloom looked our way and immediately ran over to us — well, to be honest: she ran over to Sophia.

“Sophia! Sophia is here!” she yelled. “I’d recognize you anywhere!”

Well, I guess the three of us still have some work to do on that glamour part. (the hair looks better when Sophia puts some gel in it to make it “spiky.” I think it is a little TOO short.)

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photo at the gallery by Larry Underhill

A Year Ago On Citizen of the Month: What Do You Mean By That?

55 Comments

  1. buzzgirl

    Let me be first to compliment you on your new ‘do. I likey!

  2. Neil

    Buzzgirl, thanks, I can’t believe I let Sophia cut it with a pair of paper scissors from the office. Sophia says I need to use some gel like Ryan Seacrest to get the “All My Children” look or else it is too flat.

    I may just grow it back in.

  3. whit

    That’s great, change and all that, but I’m afraid you were mislead in that long hair is actually THE style right now.

    Don’t worry, mine couldn’t be any shorter, but I make up for it by wearing shoes.

  4. Neil

    Whit, are you serious? WHY am I always five years behind the trend?!

    Hey everyone, guess what, I may be buying myself an iPod soon! I bet that makes you all jealous, right?!

    Let me write about this in my brand new MySpace account.

  5. Sam

    I like having long-ish hair. If someone says it should be shorter, I point to some hippy or metalhead and say ‘at least I don’t look like that’.

    I’m generally behind the trend. But surprisingly, not with hair. My male friends don’t like my hair, but the girls do. And I like it that way.

  6. Not Fainthearted

    “Did I lose all my powers, like Samson? Not really.”

    So, you think Sophia is your Delila? That is so sweet! Because you know, Sampson was head-over-heels in LOVE with Delila.

    OR….does it mean you think Sophia would take away your manliness if she could? That’s not sweet. Talk to your therapist about that.

    OR…it could mean that you want to be compared favorably to strong hulky hunky hero types, famous from ancient times. Oh, boy! There’s another one for the therapist!

    Mostly I think the cut looks great but you should get some gel and spike it a bit. Give it a try. It’s not like it’s going to grow out by next week.

  7. ExpatJane

    Nice haircut you style plebian πŸ˜‰

  8. Dana

    I’m sorry, but *I* have the best hair on the Internet. It’s true. I do, I do.

  9. Dagny

    Nice hair cut. Now go out and get some gel. Of course, I almost didn’t notice because Sophia looks stellar in that photo.

  10. margalit

    I do believe my life has just imploded. I am another Tamar. Way too damn educated, but ignorant of makeup. Oh, I’ve worn it on occasion, but like Tamar and many other women in their 50’s, my hair is naturally gray, and kinda not styled, and I’m a product of kibbutzim, and I still dress like a kibbutznik, braless and shorts and t’shirts. I’ve tossed the goofy hats, though.

    I love Danny’s blog but had no clue that you and he knew each other. Now you’re part of a team, and that blows my mind. It’s the blog meshpucha, LA style. Had I never left LA (and I’m so thankful I did), I’d probably know you all irl. I love Jewish geography, even when it’s in the blogosphere.

  11. Neil

    Important update: Dana says her hair is the best on the internet. She challenges Whoorl to a hair duel.

    dana.jpg

  12. Lara

    you know, it’s funny, because just friday night i was telling kelly and erin that they are like cher and dionne and i’m like tai (all from “clueless” – everyone is still with me, right?). because they’re both totally cool, yet somehow willing to hang out with a total amateur newbie like me. πŸ˜›

  13. Geeky Tai-Tai

    I like the new “do”.

  14. princess extraordinaire

    Obviously you havent been to my blog…(and seen my hair…) JK!

  15. tamarika

    Neil,
    We all look sexy and interesting! What a picture of us! Waking up the next morning, make-up disappearing, I looked in the mirror and wondered wistfully, “Where has that beautiful, sexy woman gone?” A Cinderella moment, to be sure.

    One of my favorite moments in the evening was when you turned to me from the front seat and said, “They’ve separated us … I should be in the back seat with you …”

    You are fabulous! No doubt about it. Worth every last penny that I spent “buying” you.

    Thanks for this post … thanks for the “date” … thanks for the memory …

  16. brettdl

    Great haircut! But I have to add: Sophia looks fantastic, too.

  17. Pearl

    A bunch of Jews together? What do you get? FOOD. Thank G-d you through some real culture — art — into the mix.

    You know, Neil, it was inevitable that you’d end up with Tamar as your date — the name “Tamar” is Hebrew for date. (see, like I said, Jews + food)

  18. Bre

    Ha! Now I’ll be quoting “Clueless” all day long!

    I quite agree that the short hair is a better look for you. Long hair on guys has a tendency to get scraggly and gross looking.

    Also – how is it that we’ve avoided showing shoe before and after pictures!?

  19. Pearl

    oy, what a typo: s/b threw, not through. (my brain has been doing stuff like that lately — making me type words that sound the same but are spelled differently…)

  20. Elisabeth

    Great new haircut, Neil! Sounds like you had a fun-filled gathering, and your report led me to Tamar’s blog, which was a treat in itself.

    I want to see that hair duel between Dana and Whoorl. Sounds vacuously promising!

  21. Lisa

    Hotties! Every one of you!! πŸ™‚

  22. Rhea

    What incredible, life-changing events you’ve all experienced. But I can’t see Danny’s feet. I want to take a moment to say Hurrah to Tamar. It is difficult for women to go through life without wearing makeup and not give in to peer pressure, etc.

  23. plain jane

    Duh. I can’t believe no one has yet pointed out the obvious. Sophia has the best hair on the internet.

  24. Scarlet

    Ooooh a hair duel!

    Your hair looks totally good, Neil.

  25. Neil

    Rhea — I also thought it was cool that she never used make-up, although it was surprising (even at her wedding!) I sometimes think women usually wear TOO much makeup… and would look just as good being without it…

  26. teahouseblossom

    Yes, it’s very lovely!! Not too short at all.

    I recently convinced my Fiance to cut his hair short..he’s er, losing it on top, so it’s a good look.

  27. tamarika

    Correction, Neil … wedding*S* … all four of them … no make-up at any one of them. Smiles.

  28. Otir

    Is there really a hair duel ? I am terrible at including links with these html codes and no correction allowed but will try it – and Neil please apologize if you have to correct the format – but I will win the contest of longest hair in the blogosphere – that is before I cut it and gave it to Locks of love last August.

    It already grew back though, I was hoping I could be cute and fashionable for more than an a couple of months, but like Tamar, I don’t use make up and don’t know nothing about girlie stuff, what a shame.

    Yesterday, because my choir rehearsal had been cancelled, I sat in despair in front of “Extreme Makeover”, and grew more and more appalled at discovering to what extent a couple of hometown heroes would go to match the disgusting fairy-tale dreams of greedy capitalism.

    I wonder how they are going to cope with so many surgeries (including a reversal of tubing, who on earth would decide to have such “contraception” at a young age after two children only, please beg you to give me good reasons?). Now they both look like anyone else on a magazine and it is disgustingly sad, in my opinion.

    I know you already had had a blog on Home Edition, but that makeover made me so sick at heart, I needed to jump on saying it here and now.

  29. Otir

    Bingo! I messed up with these freaking html tags! What’s the heck with me? I checked and double checked that I had properly down it… Not only I am a fashion-loser, but I am not a geek either. See, Neil? There is worse than you. And I am a girl. Makes it worse than everything. Let me go and be depressed even more. Please.

  30. Danny

    Well, I’m back to wearing my big clunky sneakers and I’m guessing Tamar will not be wearing lipstick again until Leah applies it on her next visit! I agree with Rhea that it is quite an achievement that Tamar has been able to stay away from makeup all these years–I almost felt guilty for allowing my daughter to break her streak. The reality is Tamar has gorgeous skin BECAUSE she’s avoided makeup all her life. But it was still fun, and she looked great, even though some of the makeup we found for her at our house (my wife doesn’t wear it either) were samples from the American Girl store. Leah was so jazzed from the Tamar makeover that she gave Kendall one the next day and yesterday started wearing makeup to summer camp. Oy.

    When I was married to Leah’s French mom she never would have “let” me wear sneakers out in public so I’m still rebelling. And I might as well come clean that the real shoes I was wearing on Saturday night were Hush Puppy hand-me-downs from my ex-wife’s current husband. Is that weird?

    Oh, and you WISH I was fashionable enough to wear khaki pants, it’s all jeans, all the time for me. But I do know how to button a shirt, liar.

    Sophia looked extraordinary that night. If you’re smart, you’ll always let her dress you!

  31. Guilty Secret

    Very cute πŸ™‚

  32. Mist 1

    I like a man in shoes. Unfortunately, I live in the South where shoes, shirts, and teeth are optional for both men and women.

  33. sizzle

    you all look fabulous!

  34. whoorl

    Why did you have to post the photo of my still-damp hair? WHY, NEIL?! WHY?

    I personally think Bethany has the best hair on the internet.

  35. nabbalicious

    Love the new haircut! Also, nobody could beat Whoorl in a hair duel. NOBODY.

  36. whoorl

    p.s. – Your hair looks fantastic.

  37. Heather B.

    I’m just super excited that I get to touch the wonder that is Whoorl’s hair in just a few days. I’ll let you know if it’s as awesome in person as it is in photos. I’m sure it will be even better, but will be sure to report back as soon as I have an accurate evaluation.

  38. Neil

    Otir thinks Whoorl and Dana are complete amateurs and laughs at them in French:

    otir.jpg

  39. Ellen Bloom

    Neil! I would have yelled, “Neil, Neil, it’s Neil from Citizen of the Month,” but honestly, I didn’t recognize you with your fab new haircut. And, you’re much taller in person than on your blog! Sophia is instantly recognizable…glowing and gorgeous. You did the right thing by listening to her about your hair and other stylistic matters!
    Thanks to you, Sophia, Tamar and Danny for coming to my art opening!

  40. peefer

    As for the hair-off, I’m voting for my friend, like I did in high-school.

  41. Neil

    I’m curious — are there any other women other than Tamar who don’t wear makeup… ever? How do most women learn to wear make-up? From your mother? Friends?

  42. deezee

    Neil, I’m very minimal in the make up department. I’m glad Danny saw the merits in wearing non-tenny-like shoes. And I’m one of those women a bit biased towards the shaggier look on men…but that’s just me. I’ll leave this one between you and Sophia!

  43. pocketCT

    You all look fabulous! I love running my hands through just cut short hair.

    obviously, since those pics are of amazing hair, I don’t have the best on the internet but I may have the most fun with my hair, or maybe have the best hair stylist. Can I put a picture here? Maybe not. Here is a link See

  44. orieyenta

    We want to see pictures of Danny’s sneakers.

  45. DCChick1

    I love the haircut Neil… even without gel!

    (but I also come from the land of shaved heads and crew cuts) πŸ™‚

  46. Neil

    OK, come on. Please. Isn’t there one blogger out there who will honestly admit that he/she DOESN”T LIKE the haircut that Sophia gave me while I sat on the toilet seat, using a pair of 99-Cent Store scissors that were previously used to cut the plants on the patio?

    What ever happened to honesty? I know none of you would ever write off your Netflix as a “business expense” on your taxes or fake an orgasm when you’re in bed with a man?

  47. V-Grrrl

    Best hair on the Internet? That would be mine, y’all. Unfortunately, I have the worst computer skills on the Internet and can’t figure out how to paste my photo in. Just click back and check out my home page and photo album.

  48. V-Grrrl

    P.S. Neil, I don’t like your haircut. Would Sophia want you to re-style hers? I think NOT.

    Every time I see a man with super short hair I think a very unsexy thought: He had LICE.

  49. Neil

    V-GRRRL — I can count on you to always tell the truth. And we both know you don’t fake your orgasms either.

  50. Margaret

    H-AH-TT!

  51. Dana

    Hey! No fair. I don’t like how that coat looks all bunchy in that photo, and my hair is miles longer and more luxurious than that now. I will take a photo and show you. I will so show you, Neil.

  52. ren.kat

    Oh, I so want a psychopathic killer’s doo, too.

    I’ve been away in the dirt with lizards for a while- glad to be back to your posts!

  53. Dave G

    “As I’ve heard over and over from my female readers, women care less about a man’s wallet or β€œpackage” than what type of SHOES he is wearing.”

    Yep. I was bowled over when I first heard that too. I wish I could write a letter to my younger self, “Wear shoes.”

  54. Nics

    I think you all look great and sure Neil, don’t worry, Hair Grows!

  55. Ash

    Hey, Tamar and I come from the same country πŸ™‚ But I never went to Israel – I moved to Holland instead.

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