Monday, July 25, 2011

Not a slave to fashion...

Richard listens to the NPR radio program Car Talk every week, and by default I hear snatches of it as I meander within the sound of the radio in his office. I enjoy the program, the banter between the hosts and the people who call in with problems, the weekly puzzle, and the closing credits.

The credits begin with “colorfully nicknamed actual staffers, notably producer Doug the subway fugitive, not a slave to fashion bongo boy Berman

I have not been a slave to fashion since we moved here in 1981. I try to be neat and clean and look presentable, but I have nothing currently fashionable hanging in my closet.

I was reflecting on fashion yesterday when I rose from the pew to make my way to the front of the church at the end of the service to play the closing song and happened to look down. If I had stuck to the white pumps with the 1-inch heels that I had briefly tried on and then discarded because my feet immediately started hurt (even though they are my size) I would not have found myself suddenly realizing that that I was wearing a different shoe on each foot. I wondered why I had not bothered to look down when I was putting them on or at any time before I left the house, when there still would have been time to change my shoes.


It was an easy mistake to make, actually, because they are, after all, very much alike, and I doubt that anybody noticed the difference, especially since I was wearing an ankle-length dress.

In some places footwear like this on a Sunday morning would not pass muster, so I am very thankful that I live in a place where I don’t have to torture my feet to fit in.

The writer of one of the blogs I read sort of went on a rant about why do we need “perfection.” And he makes some good points. Many very nice looking, and pleasantly average, and even strikingly beautiful women are filled with insecurity about how they look and thus gobs of money are spent on facial products and surgical procedures and clothes, and hair to so they can feel better about themselves, and sometimes in order to succeed in a world that values external beauty. 

He tends to want to blame our culture for this, but I think the root of it is basic human nature: I suspect that every culture on the planet has some sort of standard of beauty that the people must strive to achieve – from the tribal people in the Amazon River rainforest where they often have skewers in various parts of their faces, to the Inuit in the far north whose women were expected to tattoo their faces to appear beautiful.

I am just thankful that my career path did not take me in a direction where I had to “dress for success” and appear a certain way to advance my career.

Dressing for success today in our hot little house with no A/C meant slipping on silk boxers to wear as shorts (25-cents at the thrift store) and a sports bra that was in a bag of clothes I was given years ago by a woman whose house I cleaned. I just have to make sure no one arrives unexpectedly at the back door.


Oklahoma Granny said...

I have 2 sisters and of the 3 of us I've always been the "plain" one. It bothered me some especially in my teen years but now that we're all older and their looks have faded, I feel blessed. I've never really had to worry about losing the "beauty" they feel they've lost.

Lil Sis said...

One Sunday, years ago, on my way HOME from church I looked down at my feet and noticed I had two completely different shoes on. One navy blue pump, and one black pump. That morning I had greeted parents and children in children's church, sat through the service, mingled with folk after and then headed home to discover what I hadn't noticed getting myself and two little girls ready for church. Jer & I had a good laugh over that one!

Just Stuff From a Boomer said...

I too, have worn one navy and one black pump to work so Lil Sis, you are not alone. Someone else noticed. It happens. It's a little thing.

Paula said...

I go to a country historical church where everyone (maybe as few as fourteen) is friendly no matter what you wear. Its a good thing for me because I wear Earth shoes year round because of swollen ankles that need support.

Mom said...

Thanks for the laugh Leilani. I needed it. I went to work once with the label still on my new pair of pants. A man getting off the elevator with me mentioned it before I got to my office.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am sure no one noticed and if they did they didn't say anything..and God doesn't care what you wear to church. I am not a slave to fashion either.. I refuse to wear shoes that hurt my feet:)