Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Dress Code

Well, I guess we should kick Al Gore around the parking lot a few more times: it's January 8 and like 70 degrees. I went home at lunch and opened all my windows, because it's freezing in my house and when I left this morning to walk the dogs, I was suitably dressed for the interior with no idea that I was heading out into the Amazon rain forest. I was wearing my dearly beloved utterly hideous Carhartt mens' denim overalls, my dearly beloved completely falling apart giant mens' undershirt, a giant green mens' sweater which my crazy ex mother in law sent to young M for Christmas (apparently she decided that her son, my ex husband, had too many clothes, so she sent a few to young M. Sound nuts? This is as nothing, trust me. Anyway, I'm getting a kind of unholy glee in wearing these clothes, which are all waaaay too big for young M, beyond waaay too big for me and almost certainly waaay too big for my ex, so gods only knows where they originated, but they're warm.) heavy socks, hiking boots and of course my regulation dog walking Scooby-Doo fleece hat and green Army coat with the dog treats and plastic bags in the pockets. This outfit (guaranteed, by the way, to scare off muggers, rapists and innocent civilians, which is why, besides the pure-D comfort, I wear it every morning) kept me at a normal temperature in the house but made me feel like a complete idiot when the joggers in T-shirts and shorts passed me at the park. So I took off my hat and unzipped my coat and when I got to work later, I left my coat in the car.

Still, it's January and you're just not supposed to be wearing shorts and T-shirts. It's wrong. I don't care if it's 70; it's wrong. This is Asheville, not Cozumel. Have some dignity. Those of us who are not prepared to put our summer stuff back on beseech you.

The other day, when it was still cold, there were a couple of what I think were goose hunters at the park. I'm not sure you're supposed to hunt geese from a public park in Buncombe County that happens to be surrounded by populous West Asheville, but hey, I'm not going to argue with two guys in full camouflage, a pickup with a gun rack and, the best part, a yellow lab in a spiffy padded camouflage vest. I waited until they left, actually, before I even let my dogs out of the car - I didn't want them to feel underdressed. It all struck me as weird and I couldn't quite figure out why, but a friend the other night explained when she enquired as to why you would dress your DOG in camouflage? First off, dogs, even yellow labs, are kind of naturally camouflaged, being animals and all. And second, wouldn't it be better to put flame orange on them rather than exposing them to the risk of getting shot by Dick Cheney?

When I lived by Gunpowder Falls State Park in Maryland, there were often hunters in my backyard (in fact, my enterprising neighbor used to rent out one of the trees in his backyard so they could shoot deer without even going into the woods) and I worried about my dog. I worried about my kids too for that matter, but even when young they resisted wearing flame orange, so I had to focus on the dog and in my crafty ingenuity, I made him an outfit for hunting season hiking. To this end, I converted a certain sheath minidress that I got in New York, made by a real true New York artist. You could tell he was a real artist because he just painted straight on the dress and thus it was stiff with paint and not the most comfortable thing I've ever worn. Also, it was partly black and partly had huge vaguely rectangular splotches of day glo - really day glo, like it glowed in the dark - multi colored paint on it. Look, it was the eighties. I looked hot in it. Well. Okay. So I looked weird in it. But bright! Unmistakeably bright! Anyway, in the nineties, I turned it into a hunter proof costume for my dog. Sort of a cape type thing, actually, and I thought he looked spectacular, until we ran into a couple of hipster hikers in the woods who looked at my dog with disbelief and horror. "What the hell is that?" one of them asked me, "Wonderdog?" "Alive dog," I replied briefly and succinctly, or, well, I wish I had. In real life I think I just kind of muttered something.

But it worked better at keeping the hunters away than a camouflage vest ever would have and, it was seasonally appropriate fashion, which is what this post is all about. So put your coat back on. It's January. I don't care if you're hot; you have to wear a sweater. Because I said so.


Edgy Mama said...

Oh god, please tell you have a photo somewhere of Alive/Wonder dog in the art/cami cape? Please?

mygothlaundry said...

I do! But unfortunately not only is it a photo in the physical and not the digital sense, but it's 3-D, because the wonderdog cape coincided with the purchase of a disposable 3-D camera that turned out to be a ton of fun and it's too bad they don't have them anymore. Which is a long way of saying, huh, I wonder if you can even scan 3-D photos or not? Maybe I'll give it a try some time.