1. Deanna Clutch 2. Hotty Dress 3. Double Triangle Earrings 4. Birdie Booty
When we were small, my sister and I received an inheritance. A woman in our parish died suddenly from an anuerysm, and, having no family, her belongings went to her church. These items went to the church basement, where parishioners were invited to take what they liked, and our mother came home with two brown paper grocery bags stuffed with clothing for my sister and I to use when we played dress-up. The deceased was a bit of an eccentric and very bohemian, judging from the bounty we received. There were beads, swirling skirts, and paisley scarves, but the piece de resistance was, without contest, a floor-length pink satin evening gown with a low-cut front, a scandalously plunging back, and a slit that went up the side to the knee. The stitching at the top of the slit was coming loose, and when we played with the dress the first time it tore and the slit traveled up the side of the dress a few more inches. Impressed, we pulled at the seam until the slit traveled ALL the way up the side of the dress, stopping at the top of my sister’s hip. We named it the “Jessica Rabbit Dress” and took turns wearing it, took turns sauntering around with exaggerated pelvic rotations, took turns saying inviting phrases in husky, smoky voices with half-closed eyes, took turns being The Lady. Whoever got to play The Lady got to wear the dress and be demanding, ridiculous, and adored, and the other had to be The Man and get bossed around, ridiculed, and slapped. (There was an unspoken rule that The Lady was, above all things, unnecessarily cruel.) Being younger, I almost always got stuck playing the man, but as an incentive to keep playing my sister permitted me to play The Lady on occasion, and oh what fun it was. There is no demographic on earth more obsessed and smitten with attractive ladies than the little girls who are desperate to grow up and become them. Then you actually grow up and of course, it’s much, much different than you imagined. But it still is incredibly so much fun to dress up and play The Lady, even though you know by now she’s fiction. A nipped in waist, a peplum, polka dots, a dress that Bettie Boop would be proud to wear down Park Avenue. A sleek black leather clutch that holds what? Lipstick. Perfume. Candy. Hundred dollar bills. The keys to a pink Ferrari. Leopard print booties that Cruella DeVille would yearn for, staying up late at night and poring over pictures in National Geographic and weeping for want of a litter of leopards. Sharp, angular black and white earrings that command attention and respect when you make an inquiry, never an indulgent smile. An outfit that makes the hearts of Men explode in their chests as you mince by, brushing the ashes of their adoration from your shoulders with your head high and your chin in the air. The only difference is that now you don’t have to share that dress with anyone, and you can wear it as often as you like.