My nephew is getting married this weekend. While I certainly wish him and his lovely bride a long lifetime of happiness, I don't know if I will be able to forgive him for forcing me to go shopping. Oh, I'm not talking about shopping for wedding presents --that I can cheerfully manage. No, I had to go shopping for a dress. A dress for myself. A dress I could wear to his wedding. You know, a dressy dress. Something that requires me to wear shoes -- shoes that do not have rubber soles! Now you see where I'm coming from.
Don't get me wrong; I can shop all day for books or music. I can set up camp in a candle shop or hobby store. I love browsing for the perfect wine or the freshest truffle. God knows, I will spend hours joyfully perusing non-perishables and assorted sundries at the local Winn-Dixie. And, boy-howdy, do I enjoy clicking that little "add to cart" button on that there internet. But, please do not ask me to shop for clothes. Especially not clothes for myself. My entire wardrobe consists of four pairs of blue denim jeans and four white shirts. These go very well with my classic white canvas Ked's sneakers. (For a more formal occasion, I will wear socks).
I think my fashion reluctance goes back to an Easter Sunday when I was four years old. My mom had taken me shopping for my Easter outfit a few weeks earlier. And, oh, what a lovely outfit we found! The dress had an underskirt of taffeta with folds of the palest, most enchanting shade of pastel green gauze and silk skirts cascading over a myriad of lacy, starched petticoats. There was this big bow that tied in the back. Rounding out this ensemble were a pair of white patent leather shoes with sweet little baby-doll straps, a pair of white gloves, an Easter bonnet adorned with pastel petals and lacy ribbons, and finally, a shiny new white purse with a star-shaped snap on the front and a beaded handle that looked so precious in my little white-gloved hand.
As I stood staring at my reflection in the mirror on Easter morning, I felt like a princess. I was certain that anyone who looked at me would think I had been enchanted with a magical radiance by some fairy godmother. I was so proud...maybe too proud.
I left my bedroom and airily glided into the living room where siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles had gathered, all anxiously awaiting the call to choose who was riding with whom to sunrise services. I was poised. I was graceful. I was waiting for a compliment. That was when a couple of aunts I saw once a year only on Easter mornings called me to stand before them. They looked me over from head to toe. Finally, one of them asked me if I felt all right. The other aunt clucked her tongue and said, "My, what a thin, frail, sickly child I looked." I was devastated. I didn't look pretty at all. (I had been very ill as a child, constantly in and out of the hospital and doctor's offices because of a kidney ailment). Suddenly, I hated wearing that beautiful dress. I detested my new shoes. I wanted to tear that Easter bonnet from my head and send it sailing through the air across the living room like a frisbee. The purse and white gloves now reeked of ridiculousness. I felt like a cockroach in an Easter basket.
Funny how some memories stick with you. So, here I am more than half a century later, still hesitant to get dressed up. I don't want to draw attention to myself. I don't want to invite scrutiny. I just want to wear my blue jeans and white shirt and fade into the wallpaper. Sure wish my nephew had opted for a casual wedding.
Oh, well. Maybe it won't be as bad as the time I went to my cousin's wedding wearing a dress that looked just like the bride's! (True story, I swear). It just goes to show that nothing good can come out of making me go shopping for clothes or forcing me to get dressed up!