Someone hosted a sock monkey making party, something typically cute, DIY, Olympia-style, and I went with a few friends from the coffee shop where we all worked and flirted.
The sock monkey that resulted sits in the corner above my desk perched on the Victorian (Edwardian?) moulding that surrounds my apartment living room. She's mostly dark blue, made from a dark blue cotton sock with light blue ears made from scraps of a light blue sweatshirt with a single, very stiff and short arm made from the same light blue sweatshirt. She has one eye, stitched in light blue embroidery thread above the grayish blue muzzle made from grayish blue sock and traversed by a few strands of bright red thread meant to realize a mouth, that are actually stretched a bit too tightly horizontal to make a smile. She wears a kelly green sweater with matching red and green argyle sweater vest and skirt and some light blue and pink argyle leg warmers. She is incomplete but well dressed.
I want to make a sock monkey for my nephew, Kenzo. He'll be 3 1/2 months by the time Christmas comes and I had originally planned to make him a mobile using crystals and glass doorknobs and metal keys and things that I had bought from a junk store on the day he was born. Now I can't find those things, tucked into a brown paper bag and hidden somewhere from myself.
I am not a crafty person. I don't get up early on a Saturday morning and bake things and rarely embroider, but a sock monkey is not difficult to make. Somehow though, it seems wrong to make a sock monkey alone.
I remember sitting on someone's carpeted floor, some house on the East Side, in a circle with several other women gathered around a pile of socks and thread and scissors. I was probably the youngest there at 18 and the rest in their early to mid twenties. This was one of many such gatherings : switch n' bitch clothing swap, vegan soul food secret cafe, listening party, zine-release party, or what my an ex boyfriend would later call, "Hello Kitty Hot Chocolate Parties", because they were a bit cute and probably a bit threatening to the black t-shirt wearing, PBR drinking rock mentality of the boys my straight friends and I chose to date.
"We should make a porno sock monkey!" I exclaimed.
...like, we could make a little pink coochie for one!
"Don't say coochie, Lindsey." scolded my friend and roomate, Christy.
"Why not, it's fun to say."
"I'm very particular about my pussy words." she explained.
Years later, another older female roommate at The Phoenix House, Amber, and I would make a list of euphamisms for vagina on a white board and post it in the dining room of our punk house. The title of the list would be, "I'm Very Particular About My Pussy Words" and the list would include such items as: little man in the boat, the pink canoe and ax gash.
Without delving too much more into the past which I have to say gives me a kind of wrenching feeling similar to the frustration of a dry heave, when all you can hope to wretch up is bile, I should say that I wrote a song about a sock monkey with the same ex boyfriend who made the joke about hot chocolate hello kitty parties. We called ourselves "Cookies" and never played a show. The music was a real pastiche of genres ranging from reggae to metal to country to pop often within the same song with lyrics like:
White hippie with the dreadlocks
likes James Brown a whole lot
and the white hippie with the patch pants
likes to wiggle wiggle likes to dance dance
to the Bob Marley and the James Brown
and the white hippie smells like patchooleee
Which was set to a reggae style groove and was inspired by a real party with real white hippies.
On our honeymoon
in sunny Cancun
we're totally gonna bone
and then we're gonna spoon
on a boat
in the ocean...of love
Which could be considered a pop cross over hit and featured me singing in a stereotypical valley girl accent, pronouncing all O's and U's as "EW".
The song about a sexually withholding sock monkey, probably inspired tangentially by me, went like this:
Sock monkey what you tryin' ta do
You know I just wanna make a sweet love to
Sock monkey what you tryin' ta prove
OH SOCK MONKEY
OH OH SOCK MONKEY
Which started out as a sweet melody in two part harmony and devolved into Metallica inspired thrashing with Eddie Vedder inflected vocals.
So, tonight I will stuff my mostly pre-sewn sock monkey with polyester stuffing in the company of my good friend Lauren and hope that Kenzo will appreciate the non-gender specific coloring of the socks and the gendered to gender-neutral clothing I plan to make for it.