Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dressing Up, Costume, and Being Eccentric

Being a self-employed writer isn't conducive to what used to be called dressing for success.

Even though I have an office away from home, I could get away with going to work in my purple fleece Couch Sack if I were sufficiently what-used-to-be-called laid back.

Today, however, I went hog-wild in the other direction and put on a pencil skirt and heels and a semi-fancy shirt. Mon Dieu! It changes my view of myself and the world. I feel much more grownup (this is important at 59) and to-be-taken-seriously.

What may have inspired me to do this: last night I watched the first half hour of Grey Gardens, the documentary on Jackie O's poor relations, when they were revealed in the mid-70s to be living weird reclusive past-obsessed lives in their wretchedly decaying old house full of cats in the Hamptons. These two women, Big Edie and Little Edie, mother and daughter, both born beautiful and still wildly theatrical, brought back to me my childhood mantra: I will not be eccentric.

Having that running through my head regularly as a wee kid should have been a sign.

In recent years, however, I've mostly abandoned that resolve, and pretty much do and dress as I please. And I haven't gotten too weird.

Last night, though, I was sobered. Seeing the state of their house -- when I'm a so-so-minus housekeeper and spend much time alone with husband and king-size dogs in our very messy house in deep mossy shade-- made me think about my old childhood resolve.

But the truth is that, having relaxed, I haven't turned into a camp icon. The truth hasn't turned out to be so bad. Even so, I'm turned out like a hip CEO today. The old fears seem to always leave their traces.

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K.B. said...

This afternoon I bought a pair of what's essentially citified motorcycle boots that reach all the way to the knee. I felt quite eccentric buying them, since I'm about as far away from a biker as you can get (although I once worked for a world-famous photographer whose specialty is the Harley Davidson bikes and lifestyle).

They ought to look wonderful with a pair of black leggings and a charcoal grey wool dress from lucy that I'm waiting on the delivery thereof.

The boots ought to be great up in the North of England (brr) and then later out in the wilds of Ireland this winter, but they're not exactly the most practical travel shoes I've ever bought -- I'll have to wear them and put the walking shoes in the luggage. :) So that's a rather eccentric choice too.

I don't mind being eccentric, but I'd rather not be weird. :D

Peggy Payne said...

Your distinction between eccentric and weird is the key thing, I think.

And I love! the boots. A boot named Mayhem is bound to lead in interesting directions.

Not exactly for hiking, as you say, but Clark's are always comfortable. I was down in Yeovil, Somerset, doing book research couple of years ago and noted the Clarks plant nearby, but didn't have time to go.

K.B. said...

I had planned to buy quite normal, sleek city-style boots with a low heel for walking. But these I found irresistible for some reason. A lot more rufty-tufty than I expected to walk out with, but what the heck.

I do love Clarks shoes, but whew, pricey, specially when your funds are actually in US dollars!

Re: weird, I do remember quite vividly staying overnight with a friend when we were about 14. I realized suddenly that she rinsed her toothpaste out of her mouth with warm water. l said that I thought that was weird, and didn't it feel weird? She replied cheerfully that she thought it was weird to rinse with cold water, and I learned quite a lesson about what's weird and what's not that, somewhat oddly, has stuck with me ever since! :)

Peggy Payne said...

I hate to think of operating there in US dollars. Or rinsing with warm water. Very weird!

Debra W said...

Peggy, I sort of do think of you as eccentric, but in a very positive way! You have your own bold style which comes through in your writing, your outfits(the few I have seen) and the way in which you live your life. Maybe it's because I relate living eccentrically with living boldly that I got that impression. I think you are wonderful just the way you are! And you never really have to commit to one particular style, anyway!

Thank you so much for the comment about my brother. It really does help to know that you understand what I mean. I had a very interesting reading from Kelley a couple of weeks ago. Wow, it was very, very intense.

Must go to sleep now!


Peggy Payne said...

Thanks, Debbie. And that's so cool that you got a reading from Kelley.

Did you meet her here? Any sharable insights?