Miles I ran yesterday: 4.5
Hours in the day I wear running clothes: 1
Hours in the day I “dress up”: 2?
I made a Scarlett O’Hara-type vow when I was 13: I would never again, as God was my witness, wear a slip.
Of all the slippery-ish, uncomfortable, meaningless garments in the world… grrr!
By the way, have you heard we’re getting a new pope? And have you heard about what Princess Kate wore at her last public event?
My mom and I were talking last night about why the media seems to seize on certain events and people who may or may not affect the world too much one way or the other.
The answer: pomp and circumstance.
We, as a culture, are experiencing a dearth of pomp and circumstance.
No one (thank God) wears slips anymore.
I can blog in my pajamas (or sweat pants or running clothes).
When I meet clients or have interviews, I can meet with them in “business casual” clothes, whatever that means. When I see gorgeous gowns hanging in the windows of boutiques, I wonder who really wears them.
But a pope? Steeped in centuries of tradition, mysterious rituals and great costume changes? Why wouldn’t the media want to cover it?
My mom used to place a very high value on dressing “appropriately.” When we went to the ballet or the symphony or church or a silly school concert, it involved a certain amount of procedure.
There was the annoying process of getting ready. Then, throughout the event, the pantyhose would wriggle down my legs or tear or leave elephantine creases at my ankles. The dreaded slip would shift around in opposite directions from the dress or skirt or cling embarrassingly to my legs as the wind and static cling had their ways with me.
By the time I got to college, there were fewer and fewer events where I had to dress appropriately. And at the end of college, I had to dress up one final time.
The only time I remember being certifiably hung over was the morning of my college graduation.
Someone, I don’t remember who, talked me into tequila shots the night before. There was a certain throw-caution-to-the-winds-who-cares-if-I-don’t-yet-have-a-job-and-have-to-attend-graduation-tomorrow?
It felt nice.
Until my parents and sister showed up at the door of my room to attend the ceremony. I had dragged myself through the shower and was lying across my twin bed with my head dangling over the edge.
I was not a pretty sight.
But I threw on (slowly, very slowly) a dress, sans slip, and my Carolina blue graduation gown.
The temperature outside in May felt like 98; it was probably in the 80s. We made our way to the football stadium, a gorgeous procession of blue the color of the sky.
I was sweating underneath my gown, and I couldn’t find my friends. My best friend had graduated in December, and my boyfriend wasn’t even close to graduating. I was adrift in a sea of blue, buffeted about until I found a blessedly cool bleacher.
My head hurt. My heart hurt. I was finished with school and had nowhere to go but back to live at home with mom and dad.
But when I sat in the middle of a group of rowdy fellow graduates, the sky all puffy white clouds and clear blue, the mortarboards and gowns so festive and optimistic, I felt my spirits lift. The speakers played our fight song and “In My Mind I’m Going to Carolina.” The professors up on stage, set apart by their serious black gowns and stripes that meant business, told us that we’d achieved something.
My dress stuck to my legs, but I didn’t care.
I was going places in this world, and a slip was not going with me.
Do you think that pomp and circumstance still has a place in our super-casual world? Why do you think that we resist tradition when people are so obviously drawn to it?