Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be
Category Archives: Fashion
So this happened this past weekend:
And what was so weird about it was, I put no pressure or heat on the frames. As casually as any of you lenswearers would slide a pair of glasses onto your face, that’s how much pressure I applied, and, PLACK!! They just…fell apart.
But the event made me remember another inexplicable demise of something very necessary at a most inconvenient time:
[Cue Law & Order SVU's dun dun dun!]
It was Memorial Day Weekend, 2012, and I was in Washington, D.C. to attend my sorority daughter’s wedding. I hadn’t seen my daughter or her chapter sisters since 2008, and hadn’t done anything sorority-related since, so this was going to be a reacquiantance/presentation moment for me. Gotta look good for the sorors!
So in my arsenal of outfits I included a pair of pumps I’d had since 2003, worn on very few occasions but they were crowd pleasers: black stiletto open toed pumps with a delicate ankle band, trimmed in gold with colorful, gilded flowers dotting the sides and back. Sooooooooper cuuuuuuuute.
I arrived at the Crystal City hotel midday, and attempted to contact my daughter but of course, day before the big event, she’s not going to be available to entertain me. I knew my granddaughter was standing in her wedding party, who I had yet to meet, but also not available. The only other sister I knew from our time at Vanderbilt University was also in the wedding party and likely unavailable.
Sucked hard for me, because D.C. ranks high in Cities I Like To Rawk My Balls Off In. So fine, no one around, not gonna bar hop alone in downtown D.C. (I’m crazy, but not THAT crazy), so I opted to curl up in the middle of my bed. I believe Die Hard was just about to start on one of the cable channels.
A text message bleeps my phone: where u at auntie?
Ohh snap. My niece! I figured since she’s part of the wedding party, she’d be too tired to hang out. But I had forgotten: she’s MY niece. Hits me with her room number.
My text back: Be there in 15.
She greets me at her door and we close the four-year gap in our lives with a big hug. I meet the other sisters in town for the wedding, not in the party, and finally, my grandbaby, proving she’s related to me, without question down to hang out for the night. After small talk we decide to bar hop with some other wedding attendees more familiar with the local haunts. I went back to my room, switched into Night Mode with the Crowd Pleasers on my feet, and we went our merry way via taxi to a segment of P Street where the other people were going to meet us at.
The gist of the evening: bar, drink, other bar, drink, club, flirt, drink, other club, dance. And again, we’re along P Street, not venturing any more than two blocks to visit venues. But while we’re at the last club, I feel a bit of a hesitation on the bottom of one high heel. It looks as if the sole was pulling away. I discount it as latent effect from the friction of dancing and keep winding my waist.
Last call at the bar, then city ordinance kicks us out, and we’re on the streets of D.C. loitering with other club bunnies. I am ANCIENT compared to these spry twentysomethings, so while they’re harangued by every other dude exiting the nightclubs, I stride over towards a brownstone intending to rest my weary body on a stoop. That’s when I hear STTTTTRRRRIIIIPPPPP! The entire bottom of my shoe pulls off! One of the ladies pauses her sorority strolling along P Street to assist me, by ripping the rest of it off. Then, because she thinks in the macro sense, she relieves my other sole, so that I can walk evenly on the residuals. That sister is going to run a nation one day, mark my words.
But then it was painfully obvious why shoes have soles in the first place, and any attempt to walk along the wide, cobbled sidewalks that are uniquely D.C. was causing me duress. Finally, a fleet of flying taxis and I spot The Red One, the red taxis will run you to Alexandria and Crystal City expressly. I clop clop clop from the brownstone towards the taxi, and that’s when I hear, “You are looking mighty fine this evening, Miss Lady.”
I stop my enflamed feet, stagger to balance on these Borgia-esque torture devices and plant my hands on my hips. “Yeah? Well I’m not feeling mighty fine.” Then I call over to my niece, “I’m gettin’ in this cab. Ya’ll comin’ or what?” I pay the gentleman caller no heed and continue forward, for as I continue to walk on these threadbare devices, they’re just falling apart. I’m feeling the sides of the shoes flap away, the ankle band now a clumsy means of keeping a semblance of shoe attached. Once in the cab, the shoes disintegrated.
Never in my life had I done the Walk Home From The Club With No Shoes On thing, but I had no choice.
But it gets better folks.
Next day, Wedding Day. I had bought a new pair of shoes to compliment the cobalt blue dress to compliment my daughter’s wedding colors. The entire time at the church, lovely. The entire time at the reception, lovely. It wasn’t until we went to the vodka bar along DuPont Circle that my shoes decide to fall apart. I’m beside myself. The Crowd Pleasers, fine, we’ll chalk it up to expired warranty. But I literally JUST BOUGHT THESE A WEEK PRIOR!
Mystery. Complete mystery.
Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be
My friends over at Horrified Press are accepting entries for a drink-themed anthology!
Been thinking of putting some of my short stories and flash fiction in publications, just to cast a net, hopefully attract an audience to my art. This is a piece I wrote last year. I’ll need to do some expansion if I’m going to apply for this particular anthology, but really, the first thing I’d like to know is, is it macabre enough?
If you could honor me with an opinion, via comment or direct email, I would absolutely appreciate you!
(Tentatively Titled) Tokyo Rose
The bottom of the lipstick tube read “Tokyo Rose.” A supplication for successful sexual innuendo, in the form of flaming red. From right to left, Tokyo Rose smeared against full, pink lips. There. Done.
The mirror reflected something of an automoton, the way she stood. Shoulder blades wide, arms directed to each side, palms facing thighs. Legs splayed, feet directed outward to push the pelvic blades forward. A black minidress coated the areas between her arms. Skin, dewey and lush. Hair up, tucked neatly with a minimal amount of pins. Anything else? The onyx wings defining her eyes danced as she searched the vanity counter for the diamond encrusted wristwatch and matching earrings. There. Done.
Horns from impatient drivers carried into the night, the bustle of late night diners and evening outers flooding the sidewalks on a hot, August night. One heel before the other, in a sort of straight lined walk that determined the drunken from the sober, as she sauntered down two blocks to the martini bar.
The men’s magazine said for a woman to sit with her torso open towards the suitor as a sign of interest. Crossed legs with a high knee indicated seduction. She considered those notes as she slid her rump onto the well-oiled wooden stool at the corner, facing the door, at a precise 90 degree angle for optimal viewing of prospects. The bartender asked her drink. Her notes said to order something that requires sipping, denoting patience and, in a submissive sense, delicacy. A Negroni is her choice. The bartender asked what gin. She made it his choice, with a request for easy ice.
One by one, some by two if slim enough to master the small doorway, entering with alternating demeanor but similar objectives: go home with someone tonight. She hoped one of them would see past all that. She hoped one of them, maybe even more than one of them, would enter the bar, see her, observe her minimal, stellar appointments and easy expression and decide, yes, I would like to speak to her. Look at her and speak to her.
One by one, some by two if slim enough to master the ever growing crowd around the bar came to view her, acknowledge her. Smile back, the men’s magazine suggested. Always smile, even if his presentation is poor. It shows character. Some spoke in a hurried flirtatious manner, trying to seal a deal with two minutes of cordial exchange. But she’s not like that. She wants depth. Some spoke into a device in their hands, while simultaneously ekeing out subversive comments disguised as compliments. The conversation with the device apparently more engaging than her wide, brilliant eyes.
Evening turned to night turned to early morning. Her Negroni and spirits, half spent. Finally, an engaging character sidled to the bar. He smiles. She smiles back. He comments on the futility of socialization in an app driven world. She agrees. He sinks his elbow on the bar top and presents his torso towards her, which she replicates in kind. He asks how long she’s been sitting there. She smiles nervously, and responds, “All night.” He leans towards her face, an Eskimo kiss hung midair, and tells her, decisively, that she has nothing to offer any of the men in the room.
She controls the expression of despair and the want to slap him for accosting her with the insult. He knows it and smiles. As he straightens his spine and turns away from her, he offers an aphorism. A woman sitting still in a bar, dressed in black, drinking alone is an unworthy challenge. She pushes her stool aside and grips his arm in fury, demanding to know why. His eyes lower. His hand softly cups hers. “My dear. My lovely dear. This society assumes worth in the form of self-taken photographs, drab commentary on afternoon sandwiches, and constantly revolving relationship statuses expressed in the ether-Net. It has bred vapid nihilists parading as gentlemen. And you, my dear, my lovely dear, are a gentle lady. If you don’t conform for the masses, then you might as well die. Yours is a breed inhaling its last breath of existence.” He kisses her on the cheek, and dissipates into the crowd.
She turns to find her seat taken by a loud speaking, swearing man taking a photo of two young women kissing each other in mock desire.
One heel in front of another, sober save for the Negroni, two blocks back to her apartment.
She faces the vanity mirror and finds onyx wings distorted into a black mask dragging salted fringes across her cheeks.
She pulls open the drawer, removes a small revolver, pulls back the hammer, and feeds the barrel into her mouth. Her finger delivers a welcome release.