Saturday, October 30, 2010


I blogged about my pink pajamas in early 2004, their decrepitude, their squalor. Now, nearly seven years later, the pajamas have reached crisis level, a defcon 5 of wardrobe malfeasance.

They have reached the point at which DK has begun to object.

I have to admit that, as the waistband increasingly detaches from the legs, the pajamas -- all aesthetics aside -- are approaching non-functional. They have the fabric equivalent of gangrene. So I steeled myself, and in keeping with this decidual season, decided to throw them out.

In fact, I resolved to chuck every bit of clothing that's either too squalid or too creepy to wear. It was time to decimate my wardrobe. So I went through it all and made two piles -- the merely creepy could go to Goodwill, since one woman's creepiness is likely another woman's haute couture. The rest would go to the dump.

My Mother gave me the pink PJ's decades ago. They have sentimental value. But am strong, tough, hard-minded, cold blooded ! Out with them !

The frayed chinos came from Macy's in Belmont maybe a decade ago, on one of my rare forays into a non-discount clothing store. Their last stand was beneath an alb on a stifling Sunday this past summer.

The black PJ's are even more recent, a shoddy and cheap issue of the local purveyor of shoddy and cheap clothing, AJ Wright, whose only virtue is that it is 2 blocks from my house.

Then there was the pile of clothes that simply skeeved me out when I wore them. Depressed me, annoyed me, creeped me out. Hurt me. There was my mother's blue cardigan -- which, even after shoulderpadectomy, was simply too 1980's and too not-me to endure. There was the brown V-neck sweater, rather expensive, that, when I wore it, seemed like a horrifying, alien pelt.

Then there are the eBay Levis that almost fit -- in fact, they probably do fit, technically; but my PT's First Rule of Wardrobe is that one should not FEEL one's clothes pressing on one's body. Hence, in my universe, the incomprehensibility of the "thong," and my disbelief of thong-wearers when they claim they are "sooo comfortable !" Liars. All of them.

And then, sui generis, are the loathsome black LL Bean pants.

I have had a pair of stretchy pull on black pants (Filene's Basement circa 1999) that absolutely, brilliantly fulfill PT's First Law of Wardrobe. Unfortunately, they have been hovering on the brink of the squalor pile for several years. There are odd little horizontal runs in the fabric that I hope are invisible, and I am sure no one has noticed the safety pin that pulls the sprung elastic waistband taut. When I pull them on I still hear my sister-in-law's horrified query of several years back -- you wear those to work ?

My search for a replacement has been futile. It did, however, result in my acquisition of the most evil garment I have ever owned: my LL Bean "Original Perfect Fit Pants," pants so evil that, in 2008, they moved me to do something I almost never do: an online consumer review. I wanted to hurt the pants. I wanted to warn others away from them. I wanted revenge.

I, for some reason, have stubbornly continued to attempt to wear these beastly pants. Their fabric claims to be "88% cotton" and "12% Spandex" but is the consistency of a wet-suit, and the elastic waistband seems to be made of some space-age material that, no matter how much one stretches it, always resumes its vice-like, waist-noosing grip. There is no cotton in these pants. They are rubber pants. Laced with plastic. The "cotton" is a lie.

What is it, anyway, about the recent introduction of spandex into our nation's clothing supply ? Is it a terrorist plot ? Everything seems to be infused with spandex ! My "hip hugger" blue jeans (which very nearly made today's skeeve-me-out pile,) my green "corduroy" dress, my pink summer bathrobe, my socks -- all with an unpleasant, vaguely rubbery and oddly clingy stretchiness.

I am declaring a jihad (or is it a fatwa) against Spandex.

Even polyester blends more discretely with cotton, as in this blinding white turtleneck, which, nonetheless, always caused the "get this thing off me, now !" reflex.

Maybe there is some prescient truth in the Levitcan purity code's prohibition against mixing fabrics: some prophetic previsioning of the advent of Spandex and its spreading taint.

This ancient green tee shirt, often paired with the squalid pink pajama bottoms, is simply depressing. The color, the texture, the smell, the feel, all contribute to its aura of utter sadness and melancholy, of deprivation and hardship. It reeks of heartbreak. Of despair. I can't explain it. Try wearing it (if you dare) and you will know.

There was a talk show host in Boston decades ago, an irritable fellow by the name of Jerry Williams, who apparantly used to issue tee shirts to callers he deemed "not boring." DK managed to score two of these, and bequeathed them to me as nightwear (anything to distract from the pink pajamas, I guess.) For awhile I wore them. They were comfortable enough. It can probably be construed as hip in a retro and ironic sort of way to be sporting a garment that announces "Jerry Williams Says That I'm Not Boring."

But as time went on I realized that these, too, were creeping me out. It was the face. The 70's haircut. You could almost smell the Brilliantine. The five-o'clock shadow, doused in cheap cologne. The gloomy, shadowed eyes, the tight little half-smile, a deranged maniac's smile, a serial killer's smile.

And now what ?

Is there anything left that's not squalid or creepy ?

And once every garment has gone to either one pile or the other, will I have to start in on the old skin bag ?

Relinquishment -- where does it ever end ?

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