Welcome back to Parfait Doll after a lengthy hiatus! Changes will continue around the site as I get settled back in and redefine exactly what this website should do for its readership. Thank you to all my readers who have kept up with me offsite and looked forward to its return!
Let’s dive right in to today’s topic – the sticky subject of lolita community and meetups. I’ve heard this complaint lately both from friends of mine and from outside the community.
“Everyone seems really cliqueish and I’m not getting invited to meetups! What am I doing wrong? Are they big bad elitists who hate my outfits? Am I infected with a strange social disease?!”
Heads out of the gutter, people. The glitter might be contagious, but otherwise, you’re probably safe. New York City, my home community, is notorious for being particularly clique-ish and ‘group-y’. The reason? It’s hard to fit more than ten people or so in a Manhattan restaurant at once! With a community of hundreds of members, there’s bound to be pairing off. The larger a meetup, the more unwieldy it can potentially become. So how do you make sure your social calendar is booked with plenty of teas, ballet invitations, or other fun frilly activities?
Check out this article from Captain Awkward, a social skills and advice blog (I’m a big fan – check out her archives for tons of great reading, and join the legions of Awkwardeers!). In a slightly different context, the letter writer worries that her group of friends is boxing her out of parties and invites. While the situation isn’t exactly the same, Captain Awkward addresses lots of concerns in her article about friend groups, invitations and social settings.
Let’s say you’ve introduced yourself to some local lolitas, maybe online at their preferred hub or group, or in person at a big open meetup. Yet when you log online, all you see is cute photos from teatime that no one told you about! Here’s some classic meetup pitfalls and how to fix them.
Problem: You’ve met some girls you click with, but when the invite list goes up, you’ve been forgotten or left off. How do you get people to remember you’re sitting at home dressed in your best ruffles and glittery eyelashes, just wishing there was an event to go to?
The solution: Get in with the movers and shakers. In any group, there’s going to be people who organize. Usually the same people tend to run the events, such as planning the outings or booking the private rooms or even having everyone to their place. Pinpoint who these lolitas are and try to chat them up. One-on-one time is even better – invite one of the hostesses out for a coffee. Then when the next event is being planned, they’ll add you to the list!
Problem: You work unusual hours or have a rigorous study life, and your local community seems to love brunch just when you’re headed to your job or partying while you’re at home cramming Japanese vocabulary for a big exam. After declining a few times, now you’re worried you’re getting skipped over for invites.
The solution: Life happens to everyone and occasionally we all need to take breaks from our hobbies to handle the nitty-gritty stuff. Drawing away from your hobbies to be a Responsible Adult doesn’t mean you need to pull away from your friends, though. Make sure you’re still chatting up your friends regularly even if you can’t make every event, and try not to flake on the events you do find the time to attend. There’s lots of ways to keep involved with your Lolita community even when you’re not able to meet face to face. Answering questions or leaving comments on message boards, posting interesting content, and just being a good online friend are some examples.
Problem: Your local community is humdrum and doesn’t seem to have a lot going on. The cobwebs are evident on the message board – last updated in 2008.
The solution: If there’s no lolitas to be found in your area, consider checking further afield for Lolita events. It may be quiet in your neck of the woods, particularly if you live somewhere rural (I speak from experience. Consider me reporting live from cow country.), but a nearby city might have tons more going on. There’s also no harm in being part of multiple communities if you have the means to travel. I’m a New York City Lolita first, since that’s where I’ve had the most meetups in recent years, but my state community of Connecticut is having a small Lolita renaissance now too. Can’t wait for our September tea coming up!
The fix-all-solution: There’s also one more solution to any meetup difficulty – run your own! It’s not nearly as daunting as you might think, and anyone can run successful meetups with practice. If you need help, considering appointing a co-hostess with more experience until you feel comfortable. Small meetups for pick-up coffee and chatting in the park can be just as fun as elaborate, catered hotel teas, too – don’t worry about being too fancy! The point is to get dolled up and have some good times with your fellow fashion enthusiasts.
If you’d like to meet lolitas and aren’t sure how to go about getting yourself a lolita friend, check out this article I wrote on making lolita friendships. If you’ve got further questions about lolita meetups (you social butterfly, you! :) feel free to drop me a line at my Ask Box!