My sister got married in October last year. It was an event which caused me many mixed emotions, and I haven’t even finished ‘processing’ the whole episode with my counsellor. But perhaps for Part 1 of this narrative I should start with the funny trivial incidents, and leave the serious emo stuff to later posts.
My sister wanted the colour theme to be Blue&Silver. She decided that her bridesmaid, and other key people, be dressed in some shade of light blue. So, it was off to find a proper dress for myself. I wasn’t the bridesmaid (thankfully) but nonetheless had to get something halfway decent, as would no doubt be appearing in a dozen or so photos.
The words “jin” and “dress” rarely appear in the same sentence, so I enlisted the help of a colleague and went shopping one Saturday afternoon. Thank goodness for straight colleagues blessed with a sense of fashion.
So off we went to a shopping mall, and located a shop specialising in pretty gowns and party frocks. Shiny, satiny, flowy, sexy… and that was just the gowns in the store window. I was visibly nervous at having to step into the shop. I spent a good few minutes inspecting the window display, the miniature pool of water with its plastic flowers swirling at the mannequins’ feet. And all this while stalling for time making inane conversation with my tolerant colleague. Though it turned out to be a good thing eventually, because I stumbled upon the subject of footwear. She quickly informed me that “you have to wear strappy heels with the gown. If you wear closed shoes, you will look like an auntie”. But but but they do not make girly strappy heels in size 41 … “No, you will not look nice at all” …Oh great now I have to embark on a mission to find shoes as well….
So I finally mustered up courage to step into the shop. I do like looking at elegant gowns and all that, but to picture myself in one of them took all the strength of my imagination. My philosophy is COMFORT. My favourite material is cotton. My shoes are all sensible. There is a shop I buy many of my clothes from; the lady working there thinks I am a teacher. (Well, close enough: I work in healthcare. No one would fault you for dressing for practicality.)
Anyway, back to my fashion escapade. I finally found a dress that I didn’t mind trying on. It was a pale shimmery blue, bias-cut ankle-length thing, with a strap / sash over one shoulder so it looked like a Roman toga. Inside the fitting room, I wiggled and struggled into it, paranoid that I would rip some stitches. (Unlike t-shirts, it would not have stretched. Of course.) Managed to jiggle myself into it eventually. But horror of horrors, I could not breathe. Well, OK, I could only take small shallow breaths. I was struck with the thought of 18th Century ladies with their corsets, and the men armed with smelling salts to revive them when they fainted. Serious conflict with dyke image…
“Hey, it suits you!” my colleague said, when I drew back the curtain. “Yes, but I can’t breathe” I whispered. “Ah, yes breathing is important,” she agreed “your sister will say, I told you to get a blue dress, not turn blue yourself!” So we abandoned the shop, and continued to search elsewhere.
Dozens of shops later, we drifted to yet another mall. I finally managed to find an outfit which a) was my size, b) didn’t make me look fat, and c) allowed me to breathe. I immediately decided to buy it, and was very relieved that my quest was completed. And in the end, when I wore it at the wedding, people did tell me I looked nice.
Morals of the story:
1) Be adventurous! It is safe to try new things, provided you have adequate supervision.
2) An outsider’s point of view is often very valuable
3) Persevere and you will find what you want
4) Fashionable female straight friends are very useful!