“She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.”
I heard the rain through the open window when I woke up this morning. The rain is steady but it’s a light rain, the sort where the drops from the roof make more noise than the rain. I love days like today when the room is dark and all is quiet except for the raindrops.
A lot of the pine pollen has been washed from my deck, but under the deck chairs the yellow-green spots are protected and only pitted by the rain. They look like paintings, like Pollacks dripped from brushes. The umbrellas are back to being red. The deck will soon be in its summer finery.
When I was a little kid, I didn’t need or want much. I had my sled for the winter and my bike for the rest of the year. I wore sneakers all summer, the same pair until I either out-grew them or they finally wore out. I wore shorts and blouses, the summer uniform for girls. Fashionable hadn’t yet become part of my vocabulary. Whatever I found in my bureau drawer was what I wore for the day. I don’t even think I worried about matching colors.
When I became a teenager, clothes were paramount. I had to have what everyone else was wearing. Individuality was a concept none of us espoused. I remember one Christmas getting black stretch stirrup pants and a fluffy, almost Angora like pink sweater. That outfit was so much the rage you’d think it was a uniform for a strange band. I loved that sweater and wore it until it was unwearable, worn and no longer fluffed. We wore our cardigans backwards, the buttons down our backs. They were best worn with tightish skirts which zippered in the back. I never had enough clothes back then-at least I thought so.
In college, for my first two years, we were required to wear dresses or skirts. None of us liked it but we didn’t have a choice. The coldest winter in years occurred during my junior year and the clothing rule changed. We could now wear slacks to help keep us warm. The horse had been let out of the barn, and from then on we could always wear what we wanted though shorts were not part of the deal.
In Ghana, in those days, women had to wear dresses, never pants. I wore a dress every day to teach. I travelled for hours on busses in a dress which actually made pit stops easier as most places were holes in the ground in sheds. Pants would have been complicated. I had a pair of jeans I wore for long rides on my motorcycle, and I had a couple of pairs of shorts I wore around the house, never outside. The good part of all of that was my dresses were made in Ghana of Ghanaian cloth and were bright, colorful and beautiful.
Teaching here started in dresses and went to pants at some point in the late 70′s or early 80′s. My casual clothes were jeans and flannel shirts in winter and shorts and polo shirts in summer.
Now, for the most part, I wear pants and all sorts of shirts. When it’s cold, I wear a hoodie. I have two summer dresses and a spring-fall dress. Seldom do I go places where dressing up is demanded, maybe a wedding or two. My life has slid back into the comfortable. Fashionable is no longer part of my vocabulary.Explore posts in the same categories: Musings comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.