by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
March 10, 2008
COMFORTABLE WITH MYSELF
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- I'm not sure but I think I may be socially incorrect.
It all started one day when 'Nessie, a charming young family member, looked at my feet and gasped "You can't wear white socks with black tennis shoes!"
Now, you ought to know up front that this particular young lady would look good in a gunny sack tied with a big yellow belt-bow. She is all willowy and has the most unique look of any person on the planet - meaning not like she just stepped off a conveyor belt of socially correct robots all exactly alike with their blond hair, their lacquered fingernails precisely cut straight at the tips, and their clothing designed by some fool in France who, no doubt, hates women.
'Nessie may be an artist's dream walking, but she is also very "cool" or "hot." (I'm not sure which word is currently correct.) She knows everything there is to know about the latest fads and fashions from the latest correct shade of lipstick to the correct size of the purse you carry when wearing jeans.
'Nessie's mother, Debbie, is also quite socially correct and a University Club woman, a teacher, a solid member of the community in which she lives.
Even on a teacher's salary, Debbie always manages to look like she just stepped off a modeling walkway and is going to dinner with Prince Charles. And if she reads this column I am going to catch hell because socially correct ladies don't talk about money, politics, sex, God or who is socially correct.
It must be very painful for these two flawlessly fashioned women to take me out socially. They do it anyway, but it must hurt because I constantly wear my loose, flowered purple top, my white socks and black tennis shoes, and my red slacks. And if I have put on a few pounds and the slacks are no longer sloppy and comfortable, I resort to my purple blouse with the pink polka dots that comes down to my knees and my good, loose, comfortable yellow slacks.
And therein lies the root of my social incorrectness. Comfort.
I sincerely believe most women's clothing is designed by guys who purely hate women.
Take, for example, a pair of pantyhose. If that monstrosity was not invented by a man who loathes and despises women, my name is not Elizabeth, the Badly Dressed. Frankenstein's torture rack had nothing on a pair of pantyhose. This devil's device is made worse because all women live in a state of denial about their weight and size. We'll hobble to lunch with our sisterhood to show off a new size six pair of shoes when our big toes are crying to be unfolded and let out to get some air and then to be tucked into a size 10 where they belong.
And when it comes to pantyhose, if you're sitting across from a woman at a dinner party and she starts turning purple, get her to the nearest restroom immediately and cut her panty hose off. She'll start breathing again and color will return to her face. It might be that her push-up bra is too tight but usually that purple face is the sign of a pair of pantyhose about three sizes too small.
I don't know who invented the first bra but I do know it had to be somebody who decided to punish women for all eternity by designing a torture tool that will prop up what wants to flop down. And if that is not enough pain and suffering, women have to stuff something into the torture device to make 'em look like they are a very upright, firm 40 when in reality they are a saggy size 32.
And then there are the high heels. These inventions from Hades had to be thought up by some man who knew we women would be ignorant enough to buy the stupid things. If ever there is one item guaranteed to give a woman back problems all the days of her life, it is the belief that she has to have on high-heel shoes to be well dressed - and socially correct. Since we are supposed to be the smart part of the animal kingdom, let me ask you: Have you ever seen a swan in high heels?
If you are about to predict "I'll bet Elizabeth is gonna fumble around and locate some gender inequality, even in the fashion industry," you'll get to go to the head of the predictions class.
Bear with me. Do you know any man who would be caught dead in a pair of pantyhose, a bra so tight and padded it is guaranteed to induce a heart attack, and a pair of high heels and black pantyhose three sizes too small?
Yes, I know. There are a few men who play dress-up, but they are not mainstream so let's talk about John Wayne.
Picture, if you will, John Wayne or any of the current macho-man screen heroes striding across a barroom floor in a tight dress that reveals some hairy cleavage and some weird wire bra thing that pushes his chest up to just below his chin. Imagine watching his efforts to keep his holster and guns from sliding down his silk skirt because he has no waistline. See Arnold Schwearzenegger the Terminator walk when you put him in black pantyhose and high heels. Do you think the West or the future could have been won that way?
All I'm trying to say, gender-wise, is in order to be attractive to women, would men wear what women wear to show off body parts that ought to remain out of sight except to our lovers or doctors? Exhibitionism may be required in a topless bar but chemical attraction is best left to the imagination. Those without it don't make good lovers anyway.
As for me, being socially incorrect, my closet looks like what is left after a month-long garage sale. My old housecoat is about my age, my shoes are mostly flip-flops that go flip flop, and my underwear drawer is divided down the middle with like-new, only-if-you-have-to articles on one side and the daily ragged soft items on the other side. The latter are as familiar and treasured as the huge old flannel nightgown I call my best friend.
'Nessie has never commented on my makeup, perhaps because I rarely wear any, believing as I do that if you can tell a woman is wearing makeup she has too much on. 'Nessie herself is quite comely without makeup and I have never seen her overdo the messy stuff when she does wear a little.
Whatever happened to "peaches and cream" complexions, natural eyelashes that weren't stuck together with black tar, and lips that didn't look like the south end of a north-bound chicken? Every time I see one of those socially correct, style-setting, wax-museum Hollywood mannequins with those huge puffed-out lips my first reaction is "Good grief! They must have been in some horrible accident ... or maybe they were bitten by a python while on location!"
How did we get into the butcher business of altering faces, bust-lines, buttocks and other body parts to meet some hideous socially correct law? And why do women do it? And does the doing make of us flashy fools of fashion frivolity?
Does the conservatively dressed, business-correct, male CEO and all businessmen in general know that the power of the personality it is far more important than a purple shirt, no tie, green slacks, a gaudy necklace and rings on six fingers? Do male executives know what female executives don't know - that dressing in dark suits and white shirts is not only long-term social and business correctness, it puts the emphasis on personality power in the boardroom, the office, or even at a social gathering of The Committee for the Study of Why Peacocks Strut.
What has all that to do with my purple blouse with the pink polka dots and my yellow slacks?
Well, in the first place, I am a poet. Everybody knows poets are ragged and neurotic and that we go to the mailbox in our nightgown and to the supermarket in our house shoes and we think that if everybody would just go nude we could all save a lot of money and stop all this craziness about style which changes every time the wind blows or the clothes designers are in a foul mood.
And, in the second place, I despise the American persistence in judging and marketing people - especially women - by the way we look. Character does not come with a pair of designer jeans or a new face that looks like a wax copy of the old face, except worse.
I use clothes to cover my body so that I don't get arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior. And I swear to you that everything in my closet that I wear habitually is older than your Grandma Gertie's girdle.
Shoved way to the back of the closet are two fancy dresses. I wore one to Debbie's wedding and the other one to 'Nessie's wedding. They bought both of them because I pretended to be absent-minded, crippled and too sick to go shopping. By most anybody's standards the dresses are exquisite. But to what purpose that now dusty exquisite-ness?
I am thinking about selling the fancy dresses so I can buy a lot of things for my garden - tomato plants and mulch and peace roses and hanging flowerpots and a new shovel and a badly needed wheelbarrow.
I could have a garage sale at midnight to make sure 'Nessie and Debbie will be in bed and if ever these two beautiful statuesque, very socially correct, treasured gals accidentally peek inside my closet and say "Whatever have you done with your wedding dresses?"
I'll say "Oh, gosh. I guess I forgot to tell you. The house was burglarized one day while I was in town and it was kinda odd. All they took was that pantsuit you gave me last Christmas, and those two fancy wedding dresses. Would you like to see my new wheelbarrow?"
AR Correspondent Elizabeth T. Andrews is based in Cartersville, Ga. Her Website features her columns and poetry. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.