The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday and Dress Shopping

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

The water understands
Civilization well;
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
Elegantly destroy.


I had a very nice Thursday morning and early afternoon, getting a bunch of paperwork done so I could go meet twistedchick for lunch (to which I was a bit late because my elderly neighbor tripped and fell on the sidewalk just as I was walking out of my house, so I ran back in to get her ice and band-aids and make sure she was all right). Twistedchick brought me a Tarot deck and we had vegetarian Chinese food and a long conversation about family, politics and fandom that continued past lunch and on to coffee and hot chocolate, at which point we decided we should just have lunch again next week.

Then I had to commit the ongoing atrocious act of trying to find a dress for my niece's Bat Mitzvah in two weeks. I'm sure you all know my policy on fashion for myself, which is: unless it's for a play or some other theatrical-type event (Star Trek convention etc.), I refuse to be uncomfortable, let alone in pain. If I ever got invited to the Academy Awards, I'd be going in flats. So I ruled out 3/4 of what I looked at/tried on purely on the basis of comfort, because a Bat Mitzvah not only isn't a theatrical event unless you're the celebrant, but generally involves two hours plus in synagogue followed by several hours at a party that includes dancing. Pretty much everyone at this particular Bat Mitzvah comes from an area where dressing to the nines is the norm for such events, so I'm going to be in the cheapest dress there anyway -- why would I want it to be an uncomfortable cheap dress?

Normally I would just wear something I already own with some jewelry modification or something, but my last many semi-formal events have called for summer clothing so I truly have nothing in my closet, and while I might otherwise wear an out of season dress, since even winter formal dresses can be sleeveless, there will be photos that will be seen by people who literally have only met me the once before in the same dress. Have I mentioned the huge dent in my crush on a certain actor made by his wife's self-aggrandizement as an "eco-warrior" on Twitter? Honey, bragging about your Brazilian waxes and your phone calls to Stella McCartney makes you sound like an insecure woman who wishes she could be a young supermodel, not a fashion provocateur -- and please stop kidding yourself that getting Armani to make you a dress of recycled materials is saving the environment -- getting Armani or anyone to design recycled material dresses for middle- and low-end retail stores would do a hell of a lot more. It isn't like Carey Mulligan's designer dress won't get auctioned and worn again anyway.

Speaking of high fashion, my favorite dress at the Golden Globes by far was Sarah Michelle Gellar's swirly blue confection -- it reminds me of the Whispering Wind Barbie doll dress, hee -- for which nearly every magazine criticized her even though she was by no means the most famous or worst-dressed there, and she said she didn't care because her daughter picked out the dress...this makes me giggle, because of course my favorite dress would be the big flouncy one adored by a little girl, not the supposedly sophisticated fishtail things that made actresses teeter their way up to get awards as if they'd suffered from foot binding.

Urgh, even witnessing the ridiculous behavior of the very rich, fit, and fashionable does not make me feel better about having to be on display even marginally as the aunt of the impending Bat Mitzvah -- normally my body issues are all about healthy weight and skirts that are labeled XXL yet when held up against a size 10 on the same rack have even smaller waists. So there I was, first in Nordstrom then in Macy's, trying on dresses that in some cases said they were 14s but fit like 8s and in other cases said they were 12s but though they fit across my ample butt were designed on top as though women are or should be built like boys. Here are photos of the two most promising candidates, taken in the dressing room with my mobile phone; the one on the left actually has lots of sparkly sequins and isn't as plain as it looks, the one on the right is pretty on the hanger but on me made me feel like a grandmother of the bride or something:


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