Friday, August 13, 2010


As an avid Madonna fan and with two older sisters, I became obsessed with fashion at an early age. This quickly led to a subconscious act of "costuming." I've had my ups and downs. In third grade I was addicted to a glamourous pair of velvet stirrups that in retrospect, yes, were absolutely fabulous. This was, however, soon after followed with borrowing my sister's heels and my mother's blazer and sauntering into class to find that I was wearing almost exactly the same outfit as my homeroom teacher. Not even the cool teacher- the other one.
Years later, yes, I probably own an identical pair of white pumps, but generally choose more carefully and opt for a rotation of sailor, farmer, shepherd's wife and "French."

This eventually led to the lure of disguise in general. The infamous veil. Wigs. Girdles. Sunglasses. People that buy the entire outfit including the shoes on the mannequin in the storefront window. Things acting in the place of what they aren't, or speaking for someone else. By naming ourselves that thing, what's the difference?
A name is a name.

An earring is an earring.
At fifteen I got my nose pierced and convinced my mother it was an attempt to be more cultural. The school promptly kept up with the times and decided that nose rings, along with earrings, must be removed for gym class. My mother generally agreed with me that this requirement was unnecessary for my intellectual development and had given me a stack of notes for whenever Ms. K would invent a new sport that involved boys coming into contact with girls. The stack of notes came complete with her signature so that I wouldn't have to wake her up at 7am with a pen in hand. "Pssst! Mom! I think we're swimming today!" I composed concise and vaguely threatening excuses, including,- For religious reasons, my daughter cannot participate in (- insert imaginary sport name -) today. Then I would put in my nose ring and look for some heels.

I didn't feel bad about this flawless plan of ours because she would usually just have me sign things for her anyway. It wasn't forgery if there was verbal consent for one thing to pretend to be another by disguising itself as the thing it was supposed to be. Supposedly.

I got my ears pierced when I was eight. Before that I used stick-ons. Most days one of them would fall off and I developed a habit of reaching up to both of my ears every couple of hours to make sure they were still both there. This habit, though compulsive, comes in handy ten years later in the world of clip-on earrings. Costume jewelry in general. My nose is still pierced but I'm saving it for a ridiculously oversized giant gold hoop ring with little bells on it in case I ever get married, keeping my word to remain cultural.

I only wear clip on earrings simply because they are more beautiful and go better with my wardrobe. They look just like the real thing. Transforming clip-ons to their true/false nature of being "real" earrings is my new plan B for becoming a useful member of society. Part B.a) Devise a way to wear earrings with hijab.

Plan A: Chief of Fashion Police.