As we near the end of Blogtober, I won’t lie, there’s a certain amount of panic. I’m writing this at 11pm, which is very late to sneak one in under the wire to meet my “post every single day” goal. To be honest I’m kind of baffled I’ve made it this far.
A few days ago I posted on Facebook calling for suggestions for topics, and one came through from Ashley. Ashley is a dear Facebook friend who I haven’t met but I added because we collaborated on a project close to my heart (telling off a stranger on the internet about their misogyny and or racism). Weeks after adding her I saw a pic of her in a dress I also own, which was wonderful kismet! Thanks Ashley for the internet friendship and for validating my taste! If you ever make it to Melbourne from Utrecht – don’t think there are direct flights but I’m sure we can make it work – you know the first round is on me.
Ashley suggested I write about a wardrobe malfunction and I was like, oh. I know the exact malfunction. My chronic malfunction. My forever problem. And no, NOT the fact that until probably two years ago I didn’t realise that people could see when you adjusted your bra strap. (In my head I was like, if I’m not really thinking about it; neither are they. Turns out if you stick your hand into your clothing and rummage around, other people do notice.)
My chronic malfunction was brought into sharp relief at a work lunch well over a year ago. I went out with my boss. The agenda was simple: to schmooze, talk stocks and bonds, chomp on cigars, and also, other interalia business tasks of that nature, vis-à-vis, um, corporations?
In case it’s not clear, I was – and still remain – a very busy and respected businesswoman.
I wore orange lipstick and a fur coat. The fur coat was new. It’s not real fur, don’t worry. To be honest, it’s not even real pretend fur. A delicate golden label in the inside of the neck brags that it’s a Luxury Wool Blend. Do you want to guess how much wool is in that blend? If you’d think a product would need to have to have at least 50% wool to boast about it, you’d be wrong. At least 20%? Bzzzt, wrong again. No. These bold motherfuckers have – wait for it – THREE PERCENT WOOL in their “luxury wool blend”. The rest of the luxury blend – 97% – is acrylic and polyester.
To be honest, I’m not even mad. I admire the chutzpah of this team to wring every little bit of potential they can out of their product. Keep up the ballsy work, Forever New.
So I was in my orange lipstick and my fur coat, wishing we’d gone to a restaurant with unlimited bread (note: this almost goes without saying, as it is my natural state, in all restaurants, at all times of the day). We’ve covered off all our business – we’ve talked business events, business meetings, business goals. The business to do with the business? It’s done. I’ve nodded and frowned. I’ve written things onto a piece of paper.
Then it happened. We are on the way back, and my boss starts complaining about his socks. Now, I know how to connect in the corporate world like the rest of them. “Oh, my business cards sometimes perforate the lining of my laptop bag too”, I’ve been known to allege. “Indeed, getting my Outlook calendar to synchronise with my personal device can be a real chore”, I’ve sighed. So I was prepared to join him in some casual, watercooler type chat. But then he tells me that his particular sock brand was slipping down, and he had to keep reaching down by his ankles to pull them up, and it was both annoying and embarrassing.
Every single day in winter I put on a pair of black opaque tights. My wardrobe is 99% dresses (the other 1% is pyjamas) so I can slide easily from summer to winter with the addition of some hose. If I sound like I’m giving fashion life-pro-tips, I’m not. This is literally the cheapest and laziest way possible to live.
My collection of hosiery is sourced from only the finest vendors – Woolworths, Big W, Coles. And perhaps it is the origin of the hose that means the quality cannot always be trusted.
The ideal pair of tights almost look too small. When you pull them up, they glide over your legs with no scratchiness, and then continue to rise until they sit snugly under your bra line. Maybe when day when I’m proper old, my saggy deflated bosom will hold my tights in place; an organic and cost-effective suspender belt.
But you can’t tell if you’ve got an ideal pair of snug huggy tights or a disaster until it’s too late.
You know when you have that stomach-drop feeling when you suddenly remember it was your mother’s birthday yesterday, or you realise you’ve just pulled the door shut with your keys locked inside? Imagine that, but instead of your insides, it’s your outsides. It’s a very particular and specific hint of dread. You get dressed, you grab your bag, and you walk. And with each step the hose adjusts itself. It’s ever so imperceptible, but each adjustment counts towards a larger goal. The tiniest yield to gravity. A millimetre means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but you know what they say about the butterfly wings on the rock. Soon you can feel your midriff bare. Wrinkled nylon around your knees. The tights are on their way down, and they have no interest in your fervent prayers.
You can puff out your belly to try to create more surface area. Step wider to try to convince the hose to slide up, not down. But all these attempts will do is make you look foolish, like you’re trying a Monty Python silly walk (and in the fur coat and orange lipstick, it doesn’t help your case for professionalism). A surreptitious hike up can sometimes be enough to keep things in a holding pattern, or else you grab the wrong waistband and give yourself a wedgie on the street.
I worked out the quiet spots on my commute. The trees that provided shelter to give it a proper hoist. The McDonalds and the BP bathrooms where you could indulge in a full reset. The stretch of path that tended to not have many other pedestrians, meaning I could basically just hold my waistband with one hand.
With one particular brand of hosiery I worked out it would fit just right if I gathered up some fabric at the waist and secured it with a hairtie. This gave me a little front-tail. A flaccid nylon penis sprouting from my bellybutton. I didn’t care. It was still better than leaving the tights to their own agenda.
I was thinking about my limp hose phallus when I was snapped back to reality. I was in a business meeting, after all.
“You’d never understand, Kate” he sighed; sounding so despondent; a man with the burden of the world on his shoulders.
Now, I like to think I’m an open-minded gal who considers all sides, takes into account each person’s personal circumstances and life story, and tries my hardest to remember we’re all just made up of our own experiences. But to be embarrassed about pulling up socks? Oh honey. Don’t even get me started.