m wood pen

illustrator of books, cocktails, travel + more

i’m not even joking.

tonight i am channeling my inner doris day as i’ve been invited to a fabulously indulgent party at the ritz…(name dropper)…with a delicious “mad men” theme.  as luck would have it, i was born in 1959 and am solidly bonded with everything about this era.  from the cut & color of clothes, to the shiny angled automobiles, the locked in look of moderne in architecture & omg the splash splotch breezy cocktail music.  if i had to come up with a soundtrack for my life, i’d have to have a seance and track down frank devol: he peppered up the sparks between rock & doris with that  bossanova-samba-hint-of-sex but always romantic sound countless times.

as luck would have it, i own a perfect vintage (wait: if the dress is vintage, and it’s younger than i am, what does that make me?) hot pink sheath dress with a matching three-quarter length coat.  here’s a funny story.  the neck was a bit prudish (sorry, but it’s true) and so i brought my dress over to the very nice tailor in town.  i explained to him that the boat neck needed to become a V.  he told me to try it on and he’d take a look.

well, as i stood on that box thingy by the three-sided mirror, i pointed to where i wanted the point of the V to go.  he shook his head, and put his chalk stick 3″ higher up.  i shook my head, and re-pointed (is that a word?) to the place of my original point.  he shook his head again, more vigorously, and said, “no”.  then he started drawing straight lines all over my dress using a nice wooden ruler as a guide.  he stood back happily and waited for my approval.

look, i’m 51, and i know it’s only a matter of time where i only want to wear turtlenecks and channel my inner katherine hepburn, but for now, i really want to look slightly alluring!  so, i put my finger 1/2″ from where i had originally started this “let’s make a deal” scenario with this very opinionated man!   we went back and forth 10 times, and finally reached an agreement. drawing the final chalk lines, he seemed dubious but less alarmed than he had with my original plan.  i, on the other hand, felt defeated and admonished, and kinda a little shamed!

i worried for a week that by the time i picked this dress up it would be boring and plain and too modest and dumb and stupid.  so i had an emergency go-to dress ‘just in case’, but of course, i had my heart set on this hot pink number.

yesterday, i drove over to pick it up.  my tailor “friend”, and a woman who appeared to be his wife (or most eager employee, perhaps the magician who worked the actual cutting and stitching), greeted me at the door like a long lost cousin.  i almost resented their exuberance, thinking, sure…they’re the cats with the canary: they got their way!

they gingerly brought the dress out with pomp and circumstance, and honestly: i wasn’t feeling the same at all!  i paid quickly, trying my best to give them an appreciative smile, and then just headed for the car.  most of all i was just sad.  i loved this dress, i loved how i’d envisioned it (again, the visual gene acting all controlly again), and was sure that it was now bound for the rubbish of unwearable lost dreams and hopes!

i couldn’t even wait to get home to try it on, so dashed to my doppelganger of loving all things doris friend who lived nearby.  i pulled the dress out of it’s dry-cleaning wrapper, pulled off several layers of my clothing in a mad frenzy, and threw the thing on.

wow.

guess who doesn’t always know what’s best?

the thing fits like a glove, shows an appropriate bit of something without looking like i’m working the red light district, and matches exactly how i’d envisioned it.  it’s perfect.

the moral of the story?  i have no idea, but i do know that my nails are hot pink and i’m getting close to a bout of vertigo if i spend too much time looking at them.  i guess the moral of the story is learn to trust your tailor.  or, don’t always think you know all of the answers.  the biggest moral of all, i guess, is just accept that it’s all an adventure.  every single silly minute of life.  i mean, how cool to have this story to tell?  a mundane trip to tailor results in near fist-a-cuffs, passion (he was pretty passionate about where that V had to go!), and a happy ending!

what more could you possibly need?

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