Talking to my classmates about Lolita was something I never thought I would do. When asked to compare this experience to something, I would say that it is like telling a stranger that you're home alone- you just don't do it. I get enough nay-Sayer's comments on what I wear, (("stupid Japanese whore", anyone? Best part is, I'm not Japanese, and the outfit I was wearing that day exposed literally no skin besides my hands, neck, and face.)) without anyone having the extra bait to go by. In this way, you could say that I was a "secret Lolita". Even though I wore it nearly every day, no one knew anything about it or why I was wearing it, or even that is is a specific fashion and subculture. Who knows what they would do if they had the extra information to go by? But I decided to speak about it anyway.
In my speech, I first gave a very brief history on it, including by saying that it was popularized by Mana, whom is a cross-dresser and very popular rock-star, and that it became popular in the 1990's in Harajuku and that it spread worldwide some years later. I also explained that Mana came up with the term "EGL", short for "Elegant Gothic Lolita", which is also the name of the community where the majority of us converse and share information. I then explained some of the things that us lolita's wear, although since my speech was limited to a three-minute time frame, I only explained the head-eating bow, blouse, petticoat, and bloomers, and then I very quickly discussed brand vs. offbrand. Although my speech was not very spectacular and I was so nervous I was continuously looking down and messing with the sleeve-cuffs on my cardigan, the questions that my classmates asked me left me absolutely amazed and bewildered. They showed some amazing interest.
One question I got was from one of the "popular" girls in my class, Taylor. She asked if I owned any "real brand" clothing. I explained that although I did have some clothes from cheaper brands, I did not own any of the more expensive brands, mainly because I do not really want to spend $150 on a skirt, and also that I would be too afraid of spilling something on it to even wear it, so it defeated the purpose.
Another question was from our "class-clown", Connor. He asked me if Lolita was only for girls, and I absolutely could not hide my smile. I said no, there are men who wear Lolita, too, which we refer to as "brolitas". They wear full-on Lolita- skirt, petticoat and all. Or, if that's too much for some guys, there are other fashions that are similar to Lolita especially for men, such as Dandy and Kodana.
A girl named Melanie also asked me a very interesting question. She asked me where you could buy Lolita offline, in the states. I told her that while there are no Lolita stores anywhere near us, people have been able to find clothing that may be used in Lolita in stores such as Forever21 and The Wet Seal. ((I completely forgot to mention Tokyo Rebel and Baby's San Fransisco stores!!!))
My best friend, Miss Courtney, asked me what my favorite brand is. This was an extremely hard question for me to answer, because, although my favorite brand is Dear Celine, I didn't really want to get into the China Brands, so I said that my favorite brands are Angelic Pretty and Moi-Meme-Moitie, which, is not completely untrue as these are my second favorite brands.
However, my prayer to avoid talking about the China brands went unanswered. Brandon, that one kid most of us cannot stand, who had mostly been asking people confusing and just plain strange questions, asked me "About the brands you mentioned, are those only in Japan?" I said no, there were also brands in China, that were generally cheaper but a bit harder to get a hold of, such as Rose Melody, Dear Celine, and The Dream of Lolita. I then went on to mention the American brands- I Do Declare and Candy Violet. (I completely forgot to mention Lily of the Valley, which makes me sad because I adore that brand!!!)
And now, people have been asking me questions and making comments about everything. My dear friend Matt, whom is basically my older brother, talks to me about it openly, so much as asking Miss Courtney why she isn't a Lolita- she just shrugged, so I said "It's just not her style," and she nodded very frantically.
However, as I had predicted, Lolita has brought some negative attention to me. Not as much as I would have imagined, but the one negative thing that happened was enough to leave me feeling very violated and uncomfortable. This happened to me today. I was sitting in the cafeteria for one of my classes and the "class-clown", Connor, sat on the side of the table to my right, so next to me, but on a corner/angle. He looked directly at my lap and then started touching my thigh, asking, "Are you wearing one of those puffy things under here?"
I tried to keep my composure and be nice, so I said "Yes, and please stop touching me." but, alas, he continued. So I said once more "Please stop touching me." and still he wouldn't. So I ended up just hopping into the seat next to mine and avoiding him as much as possible. I swear, thank goodness my Prince didn't see this, or I fear Connor would not have a head anymore. Nonetheless I am going to tell my Prince, as many of my classmates have been sexually harassing me lately and I am getting very tired of it. Alas, I'm alright- so please do not worry, not a bit.
So I hope that my experience has inspired you to share your passions with your peers, as well, because, even with the negative effects that I have received, it was definitely worth sharing.