Thursday, August 16, 2012

From Mullet Hair to Mullet Dress

I am a slave to fashion. I only wear the most trendy styles from the most exclusive designers. I go through my closet every three months and say things like, “That is so last year.” “Maybe some poor fashion impaired homeless person won’t notice how out of date this is.”

As a matter of fact, I spend seventy-five percent of my salary on clothes.

Have you spit up your lunch yet? I just tasted mine.

While I don’t pay much attention to fashion, I am hooked on Fashion Police. I get all excited when I hear, “These are the five must-see looks of the week.” Then, I cringe when they all fawn over some expensive piece of drek. “Those shoes cost $5,000.”

That is when I scream, “Just because it’s expensive, doesn’t make it pretty!” For example, Camilla Parker-Bowles. How much did that skank cost Dumbo?

This reminds me of Gay A-Lister’s artwork. It is always so damn big and takes up an entire wall.

“Do you know what he paid for that?”

“Too much?”

I have never been accused of having good taste, but in my defense, I don’t spend thousands of dollars on crappy paintings just so I can say “That is an original Charpontier” (there is a Trivial Pursuit answer for you*).

As a Jew, I abide by the rule that art is what matches your couch. End of discussion.

Even though I am not a slave to the latest decorator or fashion trends, I am always color coordinated and so are my living spaces (although I change color schemes more than my underwear, see my last blog).

Denita Wise, a classmate in ninth grade, taught me how to match shirts with pants and to color coordinate accessories. All of this was surprising considering the fact that my mother at the time worked in an exclusive ladie’s boutique – La Vogue of Newport News. Then again, my mother never really noticed those around her. She would also tell me to wear one of the three shirts I owned with one of the two pairs of pants I owned because that is good enough.

Excuse me, while I dial my therapist.

What I realized early on was that trying to be trendy only works for normal sized people. Giants are excluded from such friviolities (my new word). Look at the Jolly Green Giant? He wears spinach leaves and calls it an outfit. When Jack climbed the beanstalk, he didn’t say upon arriving at the castle, “Damn, you’re big. Nice pants.”

The best dressed giant I remember was Lurch. He wore a 1920s-era tuxedo while Morticia wore a Nolan Miller gown.  It was one thing to be called Lurch; it was another to dress like him.

My favorite fashion decade is the 1920s.

Back in 1977, I took tennis lessons for three weeks during the summer, and the five-foot-six tennis instructor kept calling me Lurch. I asked him to stop. He didn’t. I threatened to sign up for six more weeks of lessons if he didn’t. He didn’t. I did. He never taught tennis again. Sadly, I still suck at tennis.

Where in the hell was I? Oh yes, fashion.

As I said, being gigantic and fashionable do not go hand in hand. For example, before the internet and Zappos, to find shoes in my size – fourteen, I had to go from store to store and be disappointed and depressed. How many times did I hear, “We only sell up to size twelve, but they fit big.” If they fit big, they would not be size twelve. When I finally did find shoes, they were usually some ugly crepe-soled walking shoes or wing tips. I had one pair of shoes throughout high school – a pair of brown leather oxfords with crepe soles. It was depressing. I looked like a middle-aged Jew with bad feet … which ironically, is what I am today.

Then, I discovered the Stuart McGuire catalogue. I even sold Stuart McGuire shoes for a while. Some of our neighbors were regular customers, and to this day, my family never knew. Now they do. Their shoes only went up to size thirteen, but I managed to squeeze into a few pairs. Unfortunately, fifteen years ago, I had to have foot surgery to repair the damage from wearing shoes that were too small. And you thought that only happened to women. Surprisingly, I could always find stilettos in my size.

Thank God, Al Gore invented the internet. Now I can shop for shoes in my size! And shop I do. But don’t get too excited, America. My choices are still limited and are never trendy, but when I do find something, I buy every color available in my size. That is why there are at least thirty unopened shoeboxes in my house. Imelda Marcos would be so proud. Since I am known for having clean shoes that show no signs of wear, by this time next year, there will still be at least twenty-eight unopened shoeboxes.

Footwear aside, fashion always eluded me. I never got trends. Until I started watching Fashion Police, I never knew what a bodice or peplum was. I am still not sure. While finding shoes was a problem, finding clothes was worse. No one understood that with height comes a long rise.

Get your mind out of the gutter. That is the distance from your crotch to your waist.

Add to that an enormous tuchus. My ass was and is so big, I could moon Boston. When I was younger, my family would call me fat ass. Lovely people, the Sterns. I was the only member of my family with a tuchus, except for Nana, whom I look like in drag. What was once a hindrance will in my future be an asset. When all of us are walking around the lake at Rainbow Acres, your pants will be falling down, while mine will have a nice shelf on which to be hitched. Hell, you can put a tray on my ass and serve drinks, which was always convenient when I worked as a waiter.

In the era of high waisted pants, I was wearing unintentional hip-huggers. I once bought parachute pants, and I looked like Laura Petrie. Then baggy jeans came into vogue, and I looked as if I were wearing slim fits. Now jeans cinch at the hips, but on me that is the knees.

Underwear is always a problem. Briefs end up being thongs. You cannot imagine what I have lost in the crack of my ass over the years. Some people find change under the cushions of their couch … I jingle when I walk.

Someone asked me why I roll up my shirt sleeves. Then I rolled them down. All my shirts are three-quarter length. I call them blouses.

What some don’t get is that to get enough length in a polo shirt, I have to buy a bigger size, so I often look as if I am wearing the latest fashions from Georgia Tent and Awning (another Trivial Pursuit answer**). I could buy tall, but the manufacturers of tall clothes, really only understand big. For tall shirts, what they make are dresses with short sleeves – shirt dresses in the high fashion world.

Fat people have it easy. Whenever I go to a big and tall store, I find the nicest things in the big sizes, and in the tall section? Pin-striped suits and wing tips. I once bought an athletic-fit dress shirt in a big and tall shop. Now, are you sitting? I wear an 18.5-inch neck, 38-inch sleeve dress shirt. The waist on this dress shirt was 50 inches! This was athletic fit! What kind of athletes? Sumo wrestlers?

And don’t even get me started on one-size-fits-all. All what? They make condoms in different sizes for a reason.

To add to my dilemma, my arms are three inches longer than my legs. Yes, my knuckles have gravel marks. Not only can I unlock all the doors in my car without moving from the driver’s seat, I can also unlock the doors in your car. When the dealer asked if I wanted power windows and door locks in my new truck, I laughed. What for?

Once, I needed something from the cargo area in my station wagon. I didn’t even get out of the car. I reached back, flipped the knob for the seat, folded it down, and retrieved my desired object from the back of the car, while driving on the interstate! It was safer than texting because my eyes were on the road the entire time.

For all these reasons, I gave up on trying to be fashionable years ago. This doesn’t mean I didn’t try at some point. In 1980, there was a short-lived fad where guys would wear skinny neck ties with T-shirts. I came to school like that one day, and everyone laughed at me. Then the grandpa collar shirts came in style, so I cut the collars off two old shirts I found at a thrift store, everyone laughed at me. In the early eighties, International Male sold those skinny striped shirts with the micro sleeves. I bought one, and no one laughed at me. They called me crab man. With my long arms and pumped biceps, I was a sight … or shall I say, fright. I did barbell curls and little else. Flat chest, narrow back, skinny legs, and these pumped up biceps. I see pictures of me back then, and all I can do is laugh.

Now, I dress as if I shop for Garanimals at Sears. Same style shirts and pants every day, but color coordinated right down to the belt and shoes. I have not changed my style in twenty years.

I have rambled on before about the wearing of pants half off the ass, but lately another trend has taken the fashion world by storm – the mullet dress. Forgive me, but who the fuck came up with this thing. If you have not seen one, it is a dress where the skirt is very short in the front and very long in the back. I think it is the most ridiculous thing since bobby socks with high-heeled shoes. Every time I see a woman in one of those mullet dresses, I think she is going to give birth. That is what it is – a birthing dress.

But, on Fashion Police, they love the mullet dress. I am just glad I don’t do drag anymore. I cannot imagine lip synching to “I’m Every Woman” in a mullet dress.

Besides, they wouldn’t have it in my size.

*/ The artist in the I Love Lucy episode, “Paris at Last.”

**/ Where Suzanne Sugarbaker joked she should shop in the Designing Women episode, “They Shoot Fat Women, Don’t They?”

I apologize if you have a mullet dress. I also urge you to burn it. Even fashion-impaired homeless people wouldn’t want it. Follow me, join me, tell your friends, buy my book!

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