I dress myself


I DRESS MYSELF is the slogan on the front of a t-shirt my friend Apollonia recently gave me. It features a picture of little Ralphie Wiggum from “The Simpsons,” wearing his bright-red pajamas upside down. “It made me think of you, babe,” she grinned evilly as she gave it to me.



Most of my friends think that, um, I don’t dress well. Last week, I was wearing a lilac shirt with a nice purple sweater, and I thought I looked lovely. Apollonia called me “Purple Boy,” and later, “Eggplant.”



And stylewise: for me, it’s like Edina said to Saffy on “Absolutely Fabulous”: “Darling, that blouse would look wonderful on anyone else in the world! Why does it look so terrible on you?”



My mother never trusted me to dress myself; she dressed me, and chose my clothes for me, for an embarrassingly long time. I never really learned colors, or style. And now I am the zhlub you see before you.



Partner knew this when he married me. When he gives me clothes as gifts, he doesn’t just give me one thing, but two, like a matched shirt and sweater. The message is: wear these together. “But maroon and green don’t go together!” I squeaked last birthday.



“Just do it,” he said. “It’ll look nice.”



He was right, of course. He has a much more precise sense of style than I do, and a better sense of color.



(But I forget sometimes.)



Here’s what I know of fashion:



  • I like cashmere. It’s soft and nice. But it’s bloody expensive.

  • Black makes me look like a seventeenth-century Lutheran clergyman. And sometimes I like to look like a seventeenth-century Lutheran clergyman.


  • A Facebook friend of mine told me that my profile pic made me look like the president of an obscure Eastern European country. I was so absurdly pleased by this.

  • I favor shirts in Easter-egg colors, but (strangely) most of the people around me think they look odd.

  • I also favor bright solid colors. Why not?



I had lunch with my friend Patricia last Christmastime. I walked into the restaurant wearing an orange shirt with a brown sweater, and as soon as she saw me, she hollered, “Happy Halloween!”



I give up.



From now on, I buy only clothes in blue, gray, and black.



And maybe lavender. And teal. And magenta.



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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