Friday, February 18, 2005

On Losing My Hat

I realized, today, that I'd lost my hat. My big, red and slate-blue, fleece hat, flat on top and round as a layer cake. I felt more than a frisson of chagrin: I liked the hat, and dislike hat shopping.

But I was on holiday and, dispatched on an errand to the post-office in the upscale suburb where DK's composers' consortium does their bulk mailing, I decided to visit the nearby upscale mall. I was feeling that sanguine. Imagine.

So I strode boldly through the Filene's cosmetics department, past all the mysterious potions and creams and pots of color, dodging the white-coated clerks all hell bent on squirting me with their atomizers, and into the mall itself where I'd remembered there was an Eastern Mountain Sports.

It was gone.

OK. Fine. A lesson in transience. I could dig it. So I turned tail and went back through Filene's, taking a brave detour through DRESSES. I am not completely free of material desire. I am not an entirely unnatural woman. I could do a little shopping, eh ?

I was caught up short by a mannikin. A cadaverically thin headless torso of a mannikin. Or, to be charitable, an Audrey Hepburn-thin headless torso of a mannikin. It was up on a pedestal, and its hips were thrust forward at eye level. It was wearing a beautiful dress -- a summer dress, white, clingy, covered with colorful, airy, almost abstract prints of Parisian street scenes. Very 1960's, in a good way. On the mannikin's long, sleek legs were pale, green fishnet stockings, and on its feet, elegant green suede high heels.

She, it, was lovely. I gazed, helpless, strangely enraptured.

Then the thought ran through my mind: There is only one purpose for obtaining such a costume, and that's mating. Attraction. Seduction. Procreation.

I imagined myself wearing it. It felt like a transvestitual, practically transexual fantasy. Oh, sure, I'm thin enough. But bony in all the wrong places. Scrawny. Wizened. And the lank gray hair ? Oh, man. Where were the cosmetics mavens when I needed them ? Shouldn't they be flocking around me in their quasi-medical vestments, offering first aid, offering extreme unguents ?

If I was not shopping for fuck-me clothes, what was I shopping for ?

Grave clothes, proposed my increasingly melancholic brain.

So I wrenched myself away from the lovely, headless siren, veered past a rack of beige, elastic-waisted polyester slacks marked CLEARANCE, and, hatless, fled to my car.

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