Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Men and Manolos: Love and Relationships In The Heels Of A Hopeless Romantic: A Guest Post from Alyssa Velazquez

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I still don’t refer to myself a writer. 

I know that’s silly, but I always thought of Men and Manolos as more of a monologue in a larger cultural dialogue than a book.

I’ll explain.

My training comes from various backgrounds, but I graduated with a degree in Anthropology and History. Anthropology as a social science has a slight variation in definition and purpose for everyone. For me, anthropologists are cultural playwrights. They study, research, interact, and inscribe a culture. They don’t necessarily want to be initiated into any particular sect of people or lifestyle but they want the rest of the world to gain a sense of acceptance for the foreign and unfamiliar elements of their surrounding environments through the anthropologist’s in-field ethnographic encounters.
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Men and Manolos is a personal ethnography of a hopeless romantic experiencing love and relationships in the twenty-first century. Yet how to transcend that idea cross-culturally and amongst a wide age bracket?

I had just finished a community theater production of Romeo and Juliet. The director was hosting a birthday party for one of our cast mates. Even though it was a house party it had been a while since I had seen this particular group of people so I went searching through my closet for something nice to wear. Amongst my collection of footwear was a pair of black gladiator heels and remembering the last time I had worn them I wondered if they would once again bring me to a close encounter with the opposite sex.

I wrote the first essay for Men and Manolos because of that night, and it was the inspiration for its most constant character: shoes. If you couldn’t immediately relate to my personal experiences I wanted the physical vehicle of a shoe to be able to connect readers to the abstract romanticism of love and relationships. It is my hope that this memoir evokes the reader’s personal memories and lovers. That Men and Manolos causes you to never look at your closet of relationships the same way again.

Blurb: No one walks into a relationship without the proper footing…

In a collection of original essays drawn from her open ended and inquisitive relationship column “Sex and the Chester,” Alyssa Velazquez explores a twenty-first century world dominated by proverbial singles, foreign and domestic affairs, and emotional recall relationships. In her intensely personal memoir of unscripted cute meets, dates that should have never happened, and affairs to forget Velazquez searches through her past for wisdom, perspective, and advice on the survival of a hopeless romantic. Following familiar scenarios through her never ending, often time predictable search for love in flats, sneakers, rain boots, and even a pair of Manolos her electric honesty makes us contemplate if maybe the key to the “mating ritual” is all in our shoes.

About the Author: Living in New Jersey, Alyssa Velazquez currently works as a barista while daydreaming of mastering latte art. The product of liberal arts education, she has worked in D.C., Maryland, and Philadelphia as a conservation apprentice, production design intern, living history actor, and most recently a free-lance writer for The Women’s History Magazine and the Secretaries of Juliet Newsletter: Il Giornal de’Juilette.velazquezalyssa@gmail.com
Twitter: @AlyssaManolo
Website: http://www.alyssavelazquez.net.tf

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