The Way Things Are






2006-03-10, 1:47 p.m.


I may be out of stories, but I never run out of fashion questions. Letís make every Friday Fashion Question Friday! Oh, do letís!

Hereís what I need all yíallís help with. I will be ever so grateful if you will act as my lil shopping buddies and dress me for summer.

Winter is over. Spring around here lasts about 2 days (yesterday and today), and then we settle into about 6 months of high humidity and upper 90s and 100+s. Scorching hot, high humidity, lots of sweating. And swearing, not so coincidentally.

It is very difficult to dress oneself for work during the summer around heyah in these parts, and the only relief is being able to say things like "heyah".

Synthetic materials make you sweat and itch, silk just gets sweated through (especially if you are a prodigious sweater like I), linen turns into a limp, wrinkled, damp wad, and cotton is just about the only thing that stands up to all the heat, sweat, and repeated washings without wearing out or breaking me out into a heat rash.

Please keep in mind that San Antonio is a pretty casual city, I work in an office with a relaxed dress code (I made it up myself! No shorts unless I declare itís Shorts Friday, no ripped-up jeans (we had an on-site lady who really liked flip-flops and ripped up jeans) no too-casual flip-flops, is about as far as Iíve gone), and everyone Ė EVERYONE Ė is dressed down all summer long because wearing clothes kind of sucks when the heat and the humidity are a matched set: in the 90s.

Here are my Fashion Question Friday questions for you, and especially for YOU:

1. How casual can I go and still look like Iím going to work, and not an ice cream social? Please be specific. Give me suggestions.

2. Are cropped pants ever appropriate?

3. What kind of shoes might make cropped pants appropriate?

4. If cropped pants are okay, how cropped? How long or short should they be? How high can they go? Because Iím seeing lots of cuffed, cropped pants-things that seem awfully short, and Iím not really comfortable with them, unless YOU, yes YOU tell me itís acceptable.

5. Those cute little floaty cottony-looking skirts that are being advertised on the Old Navy ads right now: can something like this work for a 40-something in a position of casual, relaxed authority?

6. What kind of top and shoes would one wear with said skirt, were it appropriate at all?

Here are several caveats to keep in kind: black cotton pants, capris, etc. do not normally work out for very long. Black just soaks in the heat, and second, it fades very quickly in the wash. Skirts are a good choice, because that way you have a chance of a breeze airing out your nether-regions occasionally. Sleeves are RIGHT OUT. Nothing longer than a cap sleeve is acceptable. Button-down shirts, even with a ĺ sleeve, are pure torture.

Also, if you had sweaty, puffy, red feet, would you just wear sandals and hope nobodyís looking at your poor, tired, hot feet, or would you suffer through closed-toe shoes? (all of the heat in my body seems to disperse through my feet. How nice for me! And how nice for you to be able to picture it now!) The closed-toe shoes end up very sweaty and slippery at the end of the day, thus rendering my shoes good for about one season before I have to toss them in the OUTSIDE trash can because they start to rot a little, I think.

Iím willing to spray some Right Guard on my feet every morning, just to make it through the day and not ruin my shoes or embarrass myself by slipping in my own pool of foot sweat. Hey, I can embarrass myself RIGHT HERE, all the live long day, talking about spraying Right Guard on my sweaty feet!

Mayhaps I should keep a cold-pack under my desk, and ice my feet while I sit at my desk.

Isnít this fun? Donít you wish you lived here? With me?

Iím asking because usually, all summer long, Iím dressing down because of the heat, and I end up feeling like I look like Iím running a summer camp. Cotton capris, sandals and an Oldest Navy t-shirt every single day: not a formula for looking good or feeling good. All I need is a whistle on a chain around my neck.

You know that old adage, you look as good as you feel? Bullshit. I feel as good as I look, and I depend on you Ė YOU Ė to tell me how to dress myself so that I can feel good. Itís all about appearance leading my moods around.

A feeling good Laura is a writing good Laura (proper grammar optional), and when Iím writing real good, WEíRE ALL WEINERS! Come on in, itís fun in here.


NEXT TOPIC: Girlfriends

I have friends, and many of them are girls. HOWEVER, I really donít have any girlfriends, you know, the ones you call up to go do something. This is why I have you people dressing me, because who the hell am I going to call to come shopping with me? You? Or you? I think not.

I had some once upon a time, but their husbands are friends of Mr. Surlyís, and you know how that goes: no matter how much everyone tearfully and earnestly wails that they will stay friends no matter what, things change, and most often the friendship goes the way of the husbandís interests. I became a bad influence - a desserter.

But these were the girls I would go to lunch with, or go out with to happy hour, or if I needed someone to help me shop for a dress or find a paint color for my living room, Iíd call Ďem.

Not to sing that sad, old refrain again, but when I was single, after those girlfriends had fallen out of contact, I had other friends whom I called up to go do stuff, but they were mostly guys, and if there were girls in the mix, they were the wives or girlfriends of the guys who were my primary friends. And these were guys whom I worked with for years, so itís not like I was just out picking up random guy friends. But for whatever reason, the women were not my friends that called me, nor did I call them.

We were friends, but letís say I had a hankering to hang out with Dave and Bridget. I might call their house, and whoever answered, I would ask ďWhat are yíall doing tonight?Ē I wouldnít call and ask Bridget that directly and singly. Once, I made a meek and feeble overture, like a lunch inquiry, and got shot down. Very nicely, no offense intended or taken, but enough of a rejection to make me not try it again.

Anyway and WHATEVER. I sound so gay.

So thatís what I really want and what I really donít have. A girlfriend or friends that are my friends independently of my husband. His friendsí wives have not been receptive to my meek overtures toward independent friendship, or hangoutship, for whatever reasons, and I donít take it personally, really. I donít take it personally like ďWahhh! They donít want to be my friends,Ē but more like ďWaahhh! Why canít I get past the point of being husbandsí wives friends and be friends-friends?Ē

I keep thinking that if I tried harder, or tried something different, that I could make some of my own friends. But then I worry about seeming creepy or clingy, and I donít know how to achieve that delicate balance.

I live in a small town, and I have gotten the feeling that all the women have all the friends they need Ė all the friends they have time for. I donít fault them for that, so much. Itís the culture of the place, I guess. If I worked in the small town, I suppose the natural thing to do would be to call one of Ďem up, and say ďWanna go to lunch?Ē But I donít work there, so a calling-up becomes more of a Big Deal, like itís going to take up valuable evening or weekend time.

If you have any insight into this, let me know. Itís like I wasnít socialized correctly as a pup. Maybe there were important things my mother was supposed to pass on to me, and she didnít, like when the guys in 7th grade biology class, which was right after PE, let me know I needed to start using deodorant. What? Why didnít my mother tell me this?

Anyway, I feel Iím missing some important piece of information that I was supposed to get, but never did.

I donít want to seem pitiful by writing this here. Itís more of a puzzle to me than a source of angst. I wonder why I feel like I need my own girlfriends when so many women really donít, and I wonder why, if I think I need this, why I canít seem to accomplish it. I guess we all have our things we canít seem to figure out, and this is one of mine.

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