Monday, June 28, 2010

Crab Man, Tango Man, Sauna Man

I encountered all three of these in the last week or so in three separate habitats, and, as a consequence, am feeling rather disenchanted with Homo Supposedly Sapiens.

Crab Man and his female consort occupied the fare next to mine and E's on the beach in Vanuatu. So he was the one who responded to our cries for help when we discovered a big black crab clomping across our floor, bound for God-knows where. Crab Man approached the creature rather less confidently than I'd expected and dithered a while with sheets of newspaper, clearly reluctant to pick the thing up in his bare hands.

Meanwhile, we hovered - girlishly - on the little veranda. He exited the fare with the crab more or less contained in a clumsy newspaper parcel. As he came by, he thrust the parcel at my face, roaring with laughter when I reeled back. He released the crab into the wild, we were obliged to thank him, and off he went in triumph.

Tango Man was my first partner at Saturday night's ball. He said he'd been dancing four years so I warned him I was much newer, that I hadn't danced for 10 days and, as this was my first of the evening, I would be a little rusty. I always am - it takes a while for my fear of doing the wrong thing to melt away and for me to relax into it. Thirty seconds after we began, he abruptly stepped back and threw up his arms. "Stop leading me," he ordered. I apologised, feeling, after this little display on a crowded dancefloor, like a leper. We began again. And again he stepped back and threw up his arms. By now I was rigid, unaware of the music or him; aware only of my fear of getting it wrong. Somehow I stumbled through to the end of the song. We paused; a milonga started up.

"You're not ready for that," he announced gracelessly and turned on his heel.

I had two options at that point: retire to the Ladies and weep or find a kinder partner and try to recover a little self-esteem and confidence. I opted for the latter. T wheeled me round with patience and good humour, as he always does, and put the blame for the previous fiasco squarely on Tango Man. "A good strong leader should have coped," he said.

E and I encountered Sauna Man at the pool yesterday. One half of of the facility was clearly marked out of order, so she and I, a young woman and a sweatily overweight gasping young man were installed in the adjoining section, the two being separated by a lattice partition. Young Sweaty Man had already treated his female audience to a mini-lecture on various sauna-related topics, but since no response was expected, he got none. We just lay on our towels, heating up.

A skinny middle-aged man suddenly plunged through the door of the adjoining room and - contrary to clear signage, towel-less - threw himself down on one of the benches. Within a minute a young attendant was at the door to tell him he wasn't meant to be in there: it was a health and safety issue. Young Sweaty Man had already informed us it was a minor matter to do with the door and had bemoaned how long it was taking the council to fix it.

Sauna Man said he only wanted one sweat and then he'd come out. Attendant explained again that that side was closed, and asked him very nicely to come outside so they could talk. He argued. Finally, with a little show of exasperation, he did as asked. A minute later he was in our side, clambering over E without apology and planting himself - still towel-less - on the top bench.

"It would be a woman", he announced. "They're bloody fearless."

"You're not that scary, don't flatter yourself."

This was me. Unwise, I know, but I was riled by his air of entitlement and his smart-ass tone. I aimed for jocular but may have fallen a bit short.

"Hah, they can't help themselves," he added. Not to me, presumably, unless he failed to recognise my gender.
Sure enough, his real audience - Young Sweaty Man - responded with a guffaw.

Thus encouraged, Sauna Man came out with, "She only got away with it because she was good-looking."

And with an even heartier guffaw, the other agreed.

I flung myself from the bench with a cry of "Oh, for fuck's sake', grabbed my towel and left. E followed seconds later.

What prompted the bad behaviour in each case was a moment of perceived vulnerability that threatened the protagonist's notion of their own manliness.

Crab Man wasn't a whole lot keener on tackling our intruder than we were, so shoving it in my face allowed him to feel in control, invulerable, again.

Tango Man wasn't as good a dancer as he liked to believe so needed to treat me badly rather than risk losing face.

And Sauna Man, having been publicly bested by a woman, recovered face in the only way he knew how - by bonding fast with the other man present against all women. The backslapping was infuriating, and rendered the other three occupants of that confined space invisible and inconsequential.

Anyone got a better explanation?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Going troppo

Hard though it is to believe that I'll soon be basking in 26-plus degrees, a pile of summer clothes waits on the spare bed to be packed. I'm thrilled by the prospect of a week of Vanuatu's sea and sun, and all-round self-indulgence, but I can't help wondering why summer clothes are so much less interesting to me than winter.

It comes down to fabric and texture, I think - a certain lack of substance that, necessarily, carries through into design. Summery clothes are soft, flimsier, girlier. They gather and flare rather than fit to form. They need ironing. And I hate getting the ironing board out of the cupboard as much as I hate getting out the vaccuum cleaner.

Nevertheless, I did pick up a heavyish cream cotton Starfish skirt the other day from Madison Rose. A wide dropped waistband, with a few narrow unpressed pleats rather than gathers (which will always look 70s peasanty to me), and huge interior pockets. It looks nice on and will be just the job for a hot climate. Its secret joy, though, is the standard of workmanship that's gone into it.

The wide hem isn't just turned up - it's faced with a cream patterned silky fabric, as are the pockets and the waistband. As a former sewer, I notice these things and usually have to avert my eyes from the inside of cheap buys. The Starfish skirt was made in New Zealand, and the care with which it's been sewn puts up right up there with winter clothes.

I have another gorgeous summer skirt I bought in Sydney some time last year with T. She bought one too. The fabric is a glorious swirl of colour. Unfortunately the cotton is so fine that Wellington offers few opportunities to wear it. That coupled with the fact that even on the warmest days here the wind can catch you and instantly turn a garment like this into an embrrassing unwrap-around. Whereas I bet, over in Sydney, T has worn hers to death.

Meanwhile, outside it continues boots and coat weather. Which reminds me that sandals will never ever outdo boots and shoes for real style, either.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


nm_makeup_counter_081212_main.jpg (JPEG Image, 413x310 pixels).jpg

For the first time in my life I have perched on one of those high cosmetic-counter stools and let a young woman have her way with me. 

It's a dismal day outside - cold, dark and damp - so after my coffee I headed down to Lambton Quay with the vague idea that the right lipstick might brighten the day. I've been thinking for a while now that, given my almost entirely black tango wardrobe, I should break away from the brownish lipsticks I usually wear (Mac's Fetish and Satin are my fallback position) into something ... well, redder.

I bought tights in Kirks (black opaques with a thick red back seam), so you might think I'd have investigated the lipsticks on offer there. But I've always been intimidated by their bright lights, the hundreds of unknown products and all those shiny surfaces, not least the radiance exuded by the assistants themselves. So I ducked over the road to Farmers where I expected to be able to safely dab endless samples on my hand and be left alone.

Not that one's always safe in Farmer's, either. A few years ago, I was accosted by an assistant my own age, her skin caked in supposedly flesh-coloured gunk, lips a slash of horror scarlet. It was wrong, so wrong. But that didn't stop her proceeding to share with me the information that as "we" aged, browns didn't suit "us" so well, that "we" should consider reds like the one she was wearing, and (given, presumably, the rate that "we" were ageing before her very eyes) "we" should return to the cosmetics counter every six months or so to have our lip colour "checked".

I left empty handed.

No evidence of her today. I was left in peace to play around until both hands were lividly striped and I was none the wiser than when I started. I needed a second opinion, and preferably an informed one.

Lucille looked 12 but was probably 20. Her plump milk-white skin was accentuated by the glossy black she had coloured her hair. Her eyes were rimmed in black and gray, and her lips exactly the same red as the woman who alarmed me the first time. But because Lucille was young she looked cute rather than scary. And that was why I needed her - scary was precisely what I had to avoid. Lucille was neither snooty, patronising nor painfully bored - just plain sweet and helpful. (My propensity to thank shop assistants for their attentions once spelled the end of a brief but intense love affair. But that's another story.)

Lucille and I did a bit more dabbing at my hand then she asked if I'd like to try the one we both thought the nicest. My dears, it came as a revelation to me that if you play your cards right you can get to see what lipstick looks like on your actual lips before you pay for the damn stuff and leave the shop. I had no idea! I don't know what I thought women were doing on those stools while other women in white coats emblazoned with important-looking badges fluttered about them. But whatever it was, it was something that up until today I had not considered I might be eligible for.

I perched and Lucille painted. A magified view of my face in close up under harsh lighting wasn't good for morale. Lucille kindly suggested I look in a mirror further off for a better effect. Which it was.

Inspired by my Kookai shocking-pink tee-shirt, Lucille offered to apply a shocking-pink lipstick. She said it was fun. I thought it made the face around it look as if it had had too much fun, rather a long time ago. I bought the red. Plus a grey eyeliner pencil, after an application lesson from Lucille.

I'm now taking my glaring red mouth off to tango. If anyone reels back in dismay and/or I get no dances, I shall be back to see Lucille forthwith.

Isn't she lovely? No, wait, she's a feminist!

Foolish of me to say a few days ago that I'd uttered my last word on the subject of beauty queens. Mrs Lott's remark that "real" feminists don't enter pageants jogged my memory that I once met and interviewed one who did. And if Mrs Lott knows about her, it would explain her heart-felt "ergh".

It's the final of the 1988 Miss California contest, a lead-up to Miss America. As the clip begins, note behind and to the left of that expanse of front-row 80s shoulder pad the young woman in blue. The two finalists are named and step to the left, putting the woman in blue on their right. Don't blink or you'll miss what happens next.

She's Michelle Anderson of Santa Cruz. The silk banner she pulled from her decolletage read "Beauty pageants hurt all women", and her protest earned international coverage.

I was living in Berkley at the time, with a photographer. I tracked Michelle down and a few days later S and I drove down to Santa Cruz to interview her. Her studio apartment was bright and airy and a bit student-messy. The blue dress hung resplendent on a wall. Michelle was cheerful, forthright, unrepentant. The profile I wrote up was published in the Listener in, I think, 1989, but neither its online archives nor my own go back that far so I'll have to rely on other contemporary reports.

Here's the New York Times of June 16, 1988:

Beauty Contestant Denounces the 'Indignities'

SAN DIEGO, June 15— A beauty contestant who pulled a protest banner from her bra in the middle of the Miss California pageant Monday says she plotted the disruption for a year and a half.

The contestant, Michelle Anderson, displayed a white silk banner declaring 'Pageants Hurt All Women' just as the winner, Marlise Ricardos, was about to be announced.

Other participants yanked away the banner, and security guards promptly removed Miss Anderson, who was Miss Santa Cruz, from the San Diego Civic Center's stage.

At a news conference Tuesday, Miss Anderson, who is a college student, said she dieted, took voice lessons and spent $5,000 over a period of 18 months to carry her message against beauty pageants to the contest stage.

'Expose the Lies'

'I wanted to go behind the scenes of pageants and expose the lies they promote, such as women like to be judged by men, or like to duct tape their breasts,'Miss Anderson said.

She said beauty pageants gave women the message that to be beautiful they had to be thin, blonde and young.

'Women suffer severe indignities to try to be beautiful according to these standards,' she said.

The 21-year-old Miss Anderson is a junior at the University of California at Santa Cruz majoring in community studies. She said her protest cost her the Miss Santa Cruz title and a $3,000 scholarship.

Organizers reacted to her move with anger and surprise. ...

Miss Anderson said the idea for the stunt came in a protest planning session with a former model, Ann Simonton [pictured], whose Santa Cruz-based group, MediaWatch, has staged a number of pageant demonstrations.

Largest Possible Audience

The plan was for Miss Anderson to get to the largest possible audience before sharing her message. If she had won the Miss California pageant, she would have kept silent until reaching the Miss America pageant.

The archive backgrounds the story:

The daughter of a now retired Air Force colonel, Anderson discovered her feminist consciousness early.... [T]wo years ago, Anderson met Ann Simonton. Once a top model, Simonton had come to believe that pageants dehumanize women, and for eight years she had picketed the Miss California pageant. Simonton asked Anderson to phone for details of the pageant so she could make plans for a new demonstration. "I pretended I wanted to be a contestant," says Anderson. "Then all of a sudden I thought, 'Oh my gosh, what an idea...' "

Tall (5'11"), somewhat blond and already striking, Anderson set out to make herself over in the image of a perfectly groomed pageant champion. She bleached her hair, dieted, took voice lessons, spent hours in tanning salons. She also embarked on a campaign of deception, claiming, for example, to be a fundamentalist Christian. For all her preparation, Anderson had to settle for third place in the 1987 Santa Cruz pageant.

Relieved, she reverted to being herself. But as the 1988 pageant neared, she decided to try again. "The first time, I didn't know about taping my breasts, didn't know I was supposed to spray my butt to keep my swimsuit from riding up," she says. At the urging of pageant officials, she came on with studied meekness at interviews. Last February she became Miss Santa Cruz. Even runner-up Frey admits, "She deserved to win."

During her three-month reign, Anderson cheerfully attended gas station openings and dance recitals while she plotted her protest. "It was incredibly intense," she says of the moment of unfurling, "but I had no second thoughts." After getting the bum's rush, she changed quickly out of her white [sic] evening gown to join Simonton and 60 other protestors on the sidewalk outside.

And finally, the Orlando Sentinel followed up two years later:

SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. — She has gained 30 pounds, doesn't wear makeup and no longer glues her swimsuit to her body. Now she wears blue jeans and sweat shirts, and she feels most comfortable when she can be 'just plain ugly.'

It has been nearly two years since Michelle Anderson of Santa Cruz infiltrated the Miss California Pageant and during the finale unfurled a banner that read 'pageants hurt all women.'

What followed was a full-scale media blitz - Anderson's story was carried in newspapers around the country and as far away as Germany. She even got a guest spot on the Geraldo show.

'I had no idea that the story would be as big as it was,' Anderson said recently. 'It was just a whirlwind after the protest. People were calling me wanting to buy the rights to my life story, make a movie of the week. One guy called and wanted to make a poster of me.'

Anderson, 23, admits she made some mistakes the first time around. Still, she says, she would do it again - in a heartbeat.

'I have no regrets about what I did. My message is that pageants demean all women in a variety of ways, and my experience on the inside only reaffirmed that it's true,' she said. 'Because real women don't look like that and real women feel terrible that they don't look like that.'

Anderson said women in the pageant put duct tape under their breasts to create cleavage and starved to be thin. She said contestants would spray adhesive all over their bodies to keep their suits in place during the swimsuit competition.

After the Miss California Pageant in June 1988, it took about a year for her life to return to normal. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in May 1989 with honors and an undergraduate degree in community studies (the study of social change). In addition, she has written a book about her experiences inside the Miss California Pageant. It's called Becoming Barbie: Tales of an Undercover Beauty Queen.

Anderson got the idea for the book's title when she thought back to a make-over session between the Miss Santa Cruz and Miss California pageants in the spring of 1988.

'There were these people there and they kept putting more and more makeup on me, and making my hair bigger and bigger,' Anderson recalled. 'When they were done, they stood back and crooned, 'Oh my, who does she look like? She looks just like Barbie.' It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I thought I was going to vomit.'

Michelle Anderson's most telling insight into the pageant game was that she wasn’t beautiful but that she learned to be “good at” beauty.

Be very afraid, Mrs Lott.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

X Wear

Does there exist a woman over the age of 25 who doesn't understand X wear? This was Princess Di's choice - the stunning LBD she wore for her first public appearance after she and Whatisname anounced their separation. It's the look-what-the-idiot-is-missing look.

My own Waterloo was rather less public - no paparazzi showed up - but the personal stakes were just as high. The event was the launch of a book by a dear friend, and the X would almost certainly be in attendance. Throughout the day I toyed with the idea of not going, but always knew that in the end I would, I had to.

The X look requires exquisite calibration. You must balance your interpretation of the occasion's sartorial demands with the need to appear at your delicious best. To overdress would be tragic and invite only sympathy. To make no effort at all would invite even more, possibly even from the X himself, which would be intolerable.

I washed and blow-dryed my hair to its shiny but casual best. I applied eye-liner and mascara (adornments usually reserved for tango), and, because I'm still a bit peaky from the flu and lack the know-how to buy or apply blusher, I rubbed a smidgin of lipstick into my cheeks to good effect.

I put on my black Icebreaker merino tunic. No, it doesn't bear comparison with Di's LBD, but this was an early evening event in an antipodean bookshop, remember, and my version still exudes a certain understated panache. Besides which I'm old enough to know I don't look my best when I'm perishing cold. With it, I wore red, gray and black tartan tights, and the gorgeous red ankle boots that E passed on to me, with their killer heels and fuck-you pointy toes. And finally, my faintly rock-chick jacket in what the man in Melbourne's Victoria Market referred to as finest Italian vinyl and others call pleather.

Dressed not to kill, exactly, but to survive with honour. Which I did. Don't tell me appearances don't matter.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Holding open the door

Ria van Dyke, 21, of Auckland, aka Miss Econo Heat, who was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand, and named Miss Charity Queen and Miss Potential Model in Wellington on Saturday night.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Ms van Dyke "wowed the judges through a series of tasks [sic], including an interview on Friday during preliminary judging, strutting in a bikini and evening wear before the audience last night, and dancing on stage to the Copacabana along with her competitors."

We’re not told what intellectual territory she and the judges traversed in her interview, which leaves me wondering if the fact that Ms van Dyke has a BA (Hons) in psychology and sociology – and was going back to Auckland after the show to finish two essays towards her master's degree – counted towards the judges’ final decision.

I suspect not, given the eagerness with which she and her 11 fellow contestants pointed out to another interviewer that they weren’t just pretty faces.

They were also keen to disabuse anyone of the notion that – god forbid – they were feminists. The very term elicited an “ergh, no!” from contest director Val Lott, who said she didn’t think “girls that are real feminists enter pageants.”

Some of us spent a good part of the 70s trying to work out what a “real” feminist was. (Where was Mrs Lott when we needed her?) Early on I rejected the “if you’re with us, you’re against us”/“if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” position. Now, I reject it even more firmly. Ideology is never more important than people, and the result when it becomes so is always hideous. As my New York friend Jim Raymond says, “Certainty kills.”

Yes, it’s dismaying when bright young women can’t bear to be thought feminist – do they know for how many centuries they were denied the vote, access to a university education and a fair share of matrimonial property, and who it was fought to get them these rights? – but my guess is it’s merely the caricature they’re rejecting. You know the one – an ugly combination of man-hater and man-imitator, humourless, rude and aggressive.

I daresay there are feminists like this. I know for sure there are women (not to mention men: see below, for instance) like this who aren’t feminists.

These youngsters, added Mrs Lott helpfully, still liked men to hold the door open. Feminism for her meant “back in the 60s where there was a lot of nastiness and they [feminists] were quite rude about pageants and I thought 'We don't comment on how you want to live and what you do, so why would you comment on us'?"

Except that, given the happy perpetuation of that daft stereotype, they did and still do.
Rudeness seems to be a particular worry for Mrs Lott. "There was a stage when I think women in general got quite rude to men, especially younger girls, and men, young guys, were saying to me 'I'm not holding the door open for them' ... I just don't like that at all. Men and women, no matter what sex you are, you should be respected."

I don’t disrespect the contestants - they’re young and hopeful; they want to get on, whatever that means to them, and believe this is a way of doing so. And they enjoy looking pretty in sparkles and flounces. They remind me of the little girls who go shopping with their mothers dressed as fairies in sparkly crowns and wings. Perhaps if these young women get it out of their systems now, they won't be such suckers for the full white wedding and its ensuing disappointments.
I admit, though, I'm struggling to respect Mrs Lott, who on the whole seems a lot dimmer than someone her age and stage ought to be.

As a last word on the whole surreal business, I’d like to report that last year’s Miss Universe New Zealand apparently told this year’s that the highlight of her reign was meeting Miss Universe co-owner Donald Trump. If you don’t know about Mr Trump – or even if you do – you might enjoy a visit here

This is what The Trump (and his favourite kind of accessory) looks like.

And in case you think I’m deliberately picking an unattractive picture (which I am), here's one that suggests some kind of gruesome good mood.

Now, if Trump wasn’t absurdly rich and therefore powerful, would a nice young woman still have found it such a pleasure to make his acquaintance? You really can't blame us older feminists for the occasional weary sigh.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A bit of a stretch

B told me that in Dunedin recently she fell in love and eloped with boots that, to her dismay, shrank alarmingly between trying them on in the shop and getting them home to Wellington. She googled, with much the same edge of desperation as you might "heart attack symptoms" (about which, more, I hope, from another friend, A), and found this It recommends stuffing the offending footwear with a plastic bag of water and freezing it. Ice expands. Get it? An overnight stint and sure enough, her new boots now fit.

B adds that local giveaway Capital Day quoted someone who stretched their boots by wading into the Bot Gardens duck pond. The duck doings are the magic ingredient, she says, "although I don't believe it. But I guess it's like Jesus. If it works for you ..."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Flu wear

Grateful thanks to the 2.37 people who inquired into my blogging silence. I had the blogging flu. Still have it. Proper woman flu, not just a cold, the doctor said. So for the last 10 days I've hardly been outside the house (which pleased the physio since it stopped me dancing on my injured foot), and have spent most of that time - upright and otherwise - in an ensemble that would do the term nightwear a serious injustice.
Even in ordinary non-flu life I have trouble with this sartorial genre. What looks nice out of bed, fast becomes nothing but cold and uncomfortable in it. A bottom draw is packed with failed attempts to get a grip on this problem, the purchase of many useless items prompted by the prospect of trips away from home, including hospital.
Back last century, in the course of an interview with Linda Grant in London, I asked her what she was wearing right then. "A white nightie from John Lewis", she said with a trace of amusement. I pictured it. Enviously. And changed the subject.
Nighties are out of the question for me. Between the sheets they take on a life of their own, creeping relentlessly up my body until, by the small hours, they're entwining themselves ever more tightly around my upper torso while my exposed knees and bum freeze to death.
Pyjamas are only marginally more cooperative. They still twist around each leg but can get no further than my upper thigh. Those made for women are usually too skimpy and too flimsy, and too often come in sickly pastels emblazoned with kittens, hearts and coy slogans. For a while, I thought men's pyjamas might be the answer. But they are merely bigger, which means colder, and provide more fabric to do the fatal entwining.
Over the years it's come down, by default, to a pair of soft thin stretchy trackpants, courtesy of The Underwear Club, and inevitably black, worn with one of two long-sleeved stretchy Gap teeshirts - grey marl and shocking pink - bought in London a decade ago. Not glam, but not totally hide-from-the-courier shameful.
I was determined when we went to Vietnam five years ago to get silk pyjamas. In Hoi An I chose good quality burgundy silk and was measured up by an enthusiastic tailor. The result looks splendid. If you pose on a couch with a long cigarette holder. But is quite unwearable in bed. Because the tailor measured me up and the pyjamas fit. Pyjamas mustn't fit, they must hang. Otherwise they're as restrictive as a strait jacket. Someone said brightly that these would make good lounging pyjamas. But what's the point of lounging pyjamas that you have to change out of to get into bed?
I did better in the Beijing silk market a few year later. I bought ice-blue pyjamas with white piping from the first young woman who accosted me. Nothing like such good quality as the Hoi An ones, but loose enough to move in, and, because the silk is so fine, when it bunches it doesn't dig into all the wrong places. Unfortunately, they're nothing like warm enough, so they've have been relegated - or should that be promoted - to going-away-to-warm-places nightwear. Vanuatu, for instance, in two weeks.
Dressing gowns have been less of a problem, until recently. Back in the mid-80s I made most of my own clothes, and, bound for a chilly academic year in Christchurch, bought a length of top quality wool in a sumptous cherry red. It cost $42 a metre - a fortune back then. I put together a simple full-length traditional dressing gown - slim-fitting with red silk cuffs, shawl lapels* and sash. I wanted not only to be warm; I wanted to be able to open the front door wearing it, without loss of dignity. I loved that dressing-gown; it served me faithfully for 20 years. But in the end, the silk disintegrated and the wool became threadbare. It had to go. Since then, nothing has been the same.
For a year of two there was a white Baksana robe of such industrial sturdiness it was like donning a doormat. A short doormat, since from the first laundering, it exposed my knees and white legs. And, as it only touched my body in one or two places, it didn't help a jot to keep me warm.
This year, in a sad attempt to recreate the past, I bought a red plushy, quasi-candlewicky thing from Sussan. It's cosy and doesn't look too bad. Except that once again it doesn't cover me head to toe, and - something I only realised I needed after I got it home - it doesn't have pockets.
The search for the ultimate dressing-gown continues.
Slippers have never been easy, either - that old conflict between comfort and style. Last year, though, I came across these little beauties at a Molly M sale.

Cute and comfortable. Which is to say, comfortable enough for most days but not, it turns out, for flu days, when I found myself sinking into horrible old Number 1 Shoe Warehouse sheepskin, in which I could slip-slop to the kitchen to squeeze oranges and back to bed again.
Where I live now, there's no temptation to venture beyond the gate in slippers - the car is on the street, down a longish path populated morning and evening with wage slaves and at other hours with dog walkers. It wasn't always so. Back in the dark days of early wife-and-motherhood in the Hutt Valley, my husband and I would load the carrycot into the car several times a week and drive across town to watch tv with friends. It was the nearest we had to a social life. One weary evening I reasoned that, with the car right by the front door of the flat, it just wasn't worth the trouble of changing out of my slippers to drive across town only to put them on again. That was the night the car broke down. I had to get out and push it down the Main Street in full fluffy pink regalia. I learned my lesson.

*Looking to jog my memory on the name of this kind of lapel, I came across helpful instructions for sewing an occult-activity robe, courtesy of the Servants of the Light School of Occult Science. No, I'm not providing the link; use your powers to find it yourself.