When You Blog in Your Pajamas

Bluebird of Friendliness. My daughter took this sweet photo.

Bluebird of Friendliness. My daughter took this sweet photo.

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?

Mooootivational Costuming




Words written in my novel so far: 26,107

Miles run today: 3

Baby bunnies spotted on a trail at our local park today: 1

Some people like to wear costumes.

I can’t explain this, just like I can’t explain flux capacitors, why they haven’t yet found the Loch Ness Monster, and why some people in our community would choose Dairy Queen over Goodberry’s.

But I digress.

Last night, I mentioned to my daughter that some friends of ours were dressing up as cows to go to Chick Fil-A today and get a free meal. She seriously couldn’t sleep because she was so excited: for her, it was like Halloween and Christmas in July.

My husband felt the same way.

Give the two of them a costume opportunity, and they are all over it. My husband believes that costumes should be homemade, 100 percent. (And also, he heard the words “free meal.”)

As long as there’s sewing involved, I’m on board. If there is any part of the costume that requires craftiness, you will find me cowering in the pantry. There is not a crafty bone in my body.

So before work today, my husband drew and cut out hooves, manufactured construction-paper ears on a headband and cut out not just round circles for spots, but unique, cow-like spots.

Costuming prowess: why nothing is allowed to happen to my husband. Well, that and the $11 flux capacitor.

As I stood braiding her hair, my daughter asked about my Halloween costumes when I was a kid.

“Hmmm. Bunny, witch, Indian (er, Native American), witch, clown. My mom made me an awesome clown costume.”

“That’s it?” she said, looking at me in the mirror.

“Yeah… I guess. What do you mean?”

“I mean… what about all the other years?”

I wanted to tell her that before the era of Monica Lewinsky costumes and before the year I dressed up as a Black-Eyed Pea (before the Black-Eyed Peas existed) in college with all black clothing and black eye pencil around one eye for the annual college get-crazy-in-the-middle-of-downtown-Chapel-Hill Halloween party, costumes used to be strictly for kids.

“I stopped dressing up in about fifth grade,” I said, twisting a ponytail holder around her hair.

She gave me a horrified look in the mirror. “What?!!?!”

She is going into fourth grade this year.

But then I think about my grown-up husband’s Ghostbusters suit and when he was the Tin Man with silver face paint and a box around him rendering him incapable of using the restroom without completely dismantling all components.

“But look at Daddy. He still dresses up,” I said.

Her face relaxed, and she smiled.

Phew. Crisis averted.

And eight to thirty-one more years of costuming that my husband and daughter get to enjoy together.

What about you? Would the idea of dressing up like a cow make your heart go pitter-pat? Do felt and glue and cardboard keep you awake at night? Would you enjoy a Chick Fil-A meal so much more if you were eating it wearing spots and a braided tail?