Dec 31, 2012

Complements of the Season. The other kind.

Having disposed, darlings, of the Compliments yesterday, it is high damn time I turned to the Complements. Return with me to the definition, provided by my go-to, slightly-better-than-sketchy online resource,

com·ple·ment [kom-pluh-muh nt; kom-pluh-ment] noun

1.     something that completes or makes perfect: A good wine is a complement to a good meal.
2.     the quantity or amount that completes anything: We now have a full complement of packers.
3.     either of two parts or things needed to complete the whole; counterpart.

Today then, I am taking my focus off of the nice things said here and there (i.e. compliments) and turning scattered thoughts to the things that completed 2012 for me, complementary things.

Complete is a relative thing, a vanishing horizon. I stretch for it always, hoping to not snare it fully. Petra much prefers restless to rested, hungry to full, tantalized to satisfied. In review, 2012 did deal up a good measure of complementary stuff, moments, habits, and things that did for moments or do, in the Dr. Evil sense, complete me.


Writing remains a source of delight for me, and a genuine venue for discovery and expression. I sometimes feel as though I am not creating as spontaneously or creatively as I did when this blog was a toddler back in the day. Many, really most of my gender frontiers and boundaries have been pushed out to their natural and full extent. There are fewer shockingly new things or novel ideas available to me. Less to ponder and fewer words to set to print. This resulted in an all time low of 10 posts for the 2012.

It seems that I am following a common pattern here. Those of us who newly embrace our gender plurality (or whatever variance of special we possess), and have a penchant for blathering on about things in general tend to strip the ground clear down to stubble pretty quickly. Year 3 or 4 in the life of the T-Blogger is typically pretty moribund. Those of you who find a way to post regularly have my admiration and a tiny measure of low grade petty jealousy. Meg and Stana, Lynn and Janie, a tip of the pillbox cap to you.

I do believe though that the written word here on Voyages en Rose for the year is good and complete. Longer form essays taken at a walk with a slower pulse, more mature and settled, less adolescent and breathless. I have written for honesty, and for plain expression as much as I am capable of. In doing so, I am writing in a more convincingly female voice than ever before. Gender Analyzer believes with 81% certainty that the 2012 edition of these Voyages is written by a woman while the 2010 version of me was a relative butch at 71%. Yesterday’s post came in at 84%. This pleases me.

Writing, completes me.

I write elsewhere too of course. 2012 was a great year for me at Guilty Pleasures. I am the principal editorialist there, responsible for product reviews and the overall style and tone of our surprisingly busy and influential little Lingerie blog. I penned about 20 essays there, mostly reviews of products sent my way by vendors looking for a little publicity. I have become, really quite unexpectedly, a bit of an authority on knickers. I have guest posted on bigger, more influential blogs, and been cross linked, hash tagged, re-tweeted and otherwise digitally cast to the four winds. I am a girl that gets around.

I am assumed to be female by those vendors who seek out my voice and the attention of Guilty Pleasures readers. I do not challenge anyone on the issue. We communicate (for the most part) via email, and it is a correspondence of courtship and intimacy between women. I have found the PR agents, marketing execs and brand leaders who I work with to be super kind, fun and generous women. It is a source of joy for me to share a proposed creative theme, suggestions for product assortments and early drafts with my clients. I get large parcels with handwritten notes of gratitude, smiley faces and fingers crossed in hope that all the pretty things inside fit and feel good. It is business, yes, but it is also girl talk about some of the most completely feminine stuff on the planet, lingerie.

Girl-talk, my dears, very much completes me.


Getting to know what my tastes run to, what suits me, the criteria that go into evaluating a garment for goodness, greatness or notness has been a real labor of love. It all started by modestly here on Voyages en Rose some years ago with weekly hosiery themed dalliances. Long time readers will recall Petra’s Pantyhose Parade. I fumbled there in the dark to develop a critical eye, an engaging voice and a useful measure of expertise in the hosiery arena. I have since developed what I must immodestly call connoisseurship in a bigger broader field. It has not come easily. It has come in sustained frothy rivers of silk and satin, clasps and cusps. Some of which is pictured above as I take on the annual Re-org of the Drawers Project (yes, we all have our silly year end rituals).

Knowing knickers as I do makes a very real difference in my life. Out en Femme earlier this week, I was able to find a perfect bra / panty set from legendary French brand, Chantelle within minutes of walking into the roughly 4,000 sq ft. of retail space set aside for intimates in Bloomingdale's, needle in a haystack stuff m’dears – go ahead ask your wife if you don’t believe me.

In such settings, I am very much the predator, the accomplished huntress. There were a half dozen brands I knew would be of no interest to me. There were certain boutiques not yet marked down. There were chaotic clearance bins and racks here and there. I ran the calculus, excluded what would not work from view, and isolated something desirable in mere minutes, Terminator like efficiency I thought. I had not worn Chantelle, before, but knew from reputation that their ranges run a little small in the bra band. I did go up size, walked my pretty 70% off retail handful to the service counter and asked the woman there if I had made the right decision in up-sizing.

“Yes, Chantelle does run a little snug, the 36 should be perfect for you. Please try it on to be sure, won’t you?

“Thanks, but not tonight. Too many buttons, too little time you know. I’ll take my chances my dear”

“Just keep the tags on. I’ll staple my card to the receipt, please look me up if things are not perfect."

Things are perfect. 

Perfect Lingerie completes me.


The same could be said for all aspects of wardrobe. I stopped making fashion mistakes this year. I know which things I own that I will never wear, and have them boxed up for delivery to shelters and services that can use them. I can resist temptation when the item is not ideal. There are no more repeats. Honestly, there are no gaping holes in my wardrobe, and no overarching urges to add. I spy the odd thing here and there, but am not a slave to impulses any more.

Having a great wardrobe, a complete wardrobe, completes me.


Having a friend to share this with, the ups and downs, the good and bad complements my life too. My partner and the founder of Guilty Pleasures, Ally is a woman. She lives in Europe, and has escaped from a corporate setting to try her hand at a number of entrepreneurial ventures online and otherwise. She communicates with me in one of her many second languages, English with great precision and craft. I cannot remember quite how we connected, but Ally offered me a guest post spot way back in 2010. This lead to a correspondence and in time, a generous and more lasting partnership in the enterprise, my name on the masthead if you will, administrative access to the back end of the WordPress machinery, contact with prospective vendors and etc.

We share notes back and forth about our work, yes, but have learned slowly over time to be friends with one another, to share more generously of our thoughts, and our advice for each other. We speak to each other as sisters. She is my best Girl friend.

Having a Girl friend, being a Girl friend, dear friends, completes me, really completes me.


I have insights and feelings of connectedness with the 51% of the world that the other 49% cannot hope to have. Perhaps you too, Dear Reader, being who you are, understand that. Having a girl friend, and being a girl friend, well it all comes with fierce responsibilities, loyalties, sensitivities. These things endow the relationship with a wonderful warm patina, a soft finish and feeling absent from our masculine relationships.

I cannot have that relationship with Mrs. Bellejambes. My wife is a marvel of adaptability, she must be, yes? Seventeen years later and us still an item, bless her warm, stout heart. But she signed on for a husband, a friend, a lover, for many things. She did not sign on for a girl friend. I could not ask that of her.

Having a wife who does not understand all of this (any more than I do I suppose) but tries to not stand in the way of the things that make me happy completes me.

Mrs. Bellejambes complements my life like nothing else in the world.


Having readers to here at Voyages en Rose, knowing that someone will show up here, take the time to read, and even now and then leave a word or two, well that completes me too.

Thank you for helping complement a great year.

I hope your 2013 is rich with complementary moments.


Lynn Jones said...

Fab post, Petra... and not because I got a mention. ;-) Ooo, it's all me-me-me with some people isn't it. :-D

Girl talk, writing and friends who are of the female persuasion who accept us - be they partners or friends - all helps.

Congrats on the Guilty Pleasures gig. I've read a few now and you're going a grand job there and here on this blog.

Good luck for 2013.


Janie Black said...

Me-me-me too! :D

A wonderful read this prolific last week of the year was.

I stopped by mostly on a mission to wish you a wonderful 2013, and to see if there was anything new, which happily there was. (And, thanks for the plug.)

All the best wishes for you and your lovely Mrs. for the new year.


Petra Bellejambes said...

Lynn, Janie, darlings ....

So appreciate your visits here and your friendship. We must somehow find a way to get together for a cocktail and shopping spree sometime.

Happy New Year to you both.

xoxo - P

Venus Loves Virgo said...

Fabulous post! Your write superbly! I see your taking on a lingerie project, I have to start painting my walls but first to remove all the old junk, yikes. it will take me weeks. Happy New Year gorgeous xoxo

Anonymous said...

"Having a Girl friend, being a Girl friend, dear friends, completes me, really completes me."
That sums up exactly the relationship I have with the lady who owns a bra shop in the UK.
I put my cards on the table the first time I met her and, over the years, we've become friends. She's taken me shopping for clothes, she taught me how to use cosmetics and she even did colour analysis for me. Now I live outside the UK but I've kept in touch and she's always glad when I give her a call. After talking generally for a while, she always asks me, ".. and how are you?" meaning the feminine me.
There's nothing quite like having a girl friend - someone I can let my hair down with.

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