Thursday, January 24, 2008

Down the rabbit hole

By Courtney Nelson | Juneau Empire

If you're interested in being in a relationship but haven't had any luck, maybe it's time to take a trip down the rabbit hole. Maybe it's time to forget everything you think you know about love and relationships, and free-fall into the unknown like Alice in Wonderland.

First you'll need someone to lead you down the bunny hole. Find someone you trust. Someone who has what you want. Ask them to give you a few pointers on finding love. Sometimes a gentle but honest assessment from a mentor can push you outside your box.

Here is a case in point:

I went to a birthday party at Shoefly last month for a good friend. It quickly resembled the Mad Hatter's tea party.

I walked in and was handed a beverage. "Drink this," my friend said. Homemade birthday cake followed. "Eat this."

I found myself surrounded by whiskey, wine and wild female hockey players. The doors were closed, the party was private, and we started to try on shoes together.

At first we all gravitated toward practical shoes: brown clogs and rain boots. But then we began to encourage each other to try on more daring shoes. Soon boxes were exploding from the back, shoes with sequins, high-heels, feathers and jewels. Drinks flowed and there was whistling and laughter as we collectively turned into Juneau shoe divas.

How was this possible with icy streets outside? It was so impractical yet felt so good at the same time. The area around the large mirror soon resembled a fun house and a catwalk as we went from frump to fabulous, strutting around in divine design.

The birthday girl found herself a pair of red shoes she wouldn't have picked out on her own, and they went home with her with no hesitation. She wouldn't have bought them on her own, but when she put them on, we told her she had to have them. She walks differently now, with more of a strut.

I have another friend who never dresses up at all. Baggy pants and oversized sweatshirts are her standard wear. One day I approached her in class and pleaded with her to allow me to make her over. She agreed reluctantly, and I got to dress her up like my own Barbie, then took her to a masquerade ball at Jaded.

A masquerade at a masquerade. Red lipstick, a skirt, a sequined black top, her long hair released from its normal ponytail, and a black-feathered mask. Men were swooning the instant she walked in the door. I didn't talk to her all night, but she says she had a great time. She had never seen herself in that light.

So if you've had some love struggles, turn yourself over to a good friend or a smoking caterpillar for direction. See what happens. Try on a different aspect of your persona. See if there's a strut or some swoons lurking in your looking glass.

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