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Friday, September 15, 2006

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Too Sexy

Actually, I am neither sexy enough, tall enough, skinny enough, nor remotely young enough to be a model, but that doesn't stop my friend Georgia from using me to parade her cool reconstructed clothing down the runway (which is usually a sidewalk).

For better or for worse, I have developed a reputation for being able to strut my--actually, her--stuff. I wonder if this is what my grandmother was grooming me for when she had me walk about her living room with encyclopedias on my head. Here I thought it was to let the contents sink in.

I guess the bright lights and the red carpet call out the performer in me. Undeniably that is part of it. I would probably be a menace in a karaoke bar (Actually, I was a menace in a karaoke bar, the night before my first wedding, with a heartfelt performance of "Like a Virgin". A bold selection, considering I was back in my hometown, where everyone knew the difference.).

Then there is my personal ethic of "go big, or stay home". I don't like to do things half-assed. I like Georgia too much to skitter past the gallery like I wish no-one would see me in her frock.

Finally, I think the utter irony of me as a fashion model in any context confers the insoucianct demeanor one expects from a mannequin. As much as I appreciate the creativity and effort that goes into these clothes, I am constitutionally incapable of taking fashion very seriously. Of all my friends, I am consistently the least well-dressed. On a day to day basis, anyhow. The exception is on special occassions, which are like playing dress-up, and I do get into that. But the rest of the time I am not thinking very hard or long about what I am wearing, and it shows. I wear a lot of brown. Let's not even get into accessories.

For some of my girlfriends, dressing well seems effortless and natural. They have shoes in colors other than neutral. They wear more than one item of jewelry at a time. They are doing things with layers and scarves and cuffs that are beyond me. They almost always look like they've really thought about what to wear that day, even just to the playground. I suspect it might even be fun for them to do so, like it is for me the half a dozen times a year I do dress up. But they seem to be able to keep it up on a daily basis.

It has always been a mystery to me. I remember coming back home after six months away in Tobago with my family when I was in grade five, and suddenly, what you wore mattered. Tapered jeans were the style then, and I remember a classmate condescending to explain to me why my pants were all wrong. It was the same, out-of-step feeling I would later experience with junior high french because I missed it when the teacher explained about the principle of conjucation. I caught up with the french, after I figured out where that lesson was in the textbook. But I still haven't found Unit 1 on fashion.

From time to time, I try. I thumb through magazines like "Lucky" and "Marie-Claire". (Georgia's favorites, Elle and Vogue intimidate me too much.) I will apply myself diligently, to a point, studying carefully how deep a cuff is, how high a heel is. But I get overloaded quickly. Once they get into layering things, or wearing more than one necklace at a time, I shut down. Also, I am only so willing to suspend my disbelief. $400 for a handbag? $600 for a pair of boots? Seriously? I mean, seriously? Clearly, I am missing some key information that would help me make any kind of rational sense out of that. I understand about craftmanship and that the price could reflect the actual skill and time in the manufacture of the garment. I just can't comprehend paying it.

Preposterous as you now hopefully appreciate it is, I am set to sashay down the runway tomorrow night at the show on the poster above. It's a big show for Georgia, and I love the outfits I am wearing, so I will once again walk the walk. If you are in the area, and are not a stalker, come on down.

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