Pieces of my world

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Strictly Ballgown

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"Too sticky-out". "Too short." "Too long." "Oh- I like that! No, I love that! Let's have a look- oh. No, it's a size 6." "Too expensive". "Gorgeous- but look, there's a rip there". "Too ostentatious". "Too plain". "Don't like the colour".
Shopping for ballgowns is, frankly, exhausting.
It doesn't help that I am indecisive to say the least.
In Gibraltar once, as I shopped for perfume, the proprietor eyed me oddly. He shot me not-so- subtle glances as I went round and round the tiny shop, surveying every bottle, wondering what to purchase. I'd sprayed so much perfume on the same spot on my wrist that the combination smelt like the emissions of a toxic perfume factory and the accumulated scents lingered, despite endless scrubbing with a washcloth and soap, for nigh on a week. Finally, I made my selecion. Clutching various bottles in my hand, I made to pay when the proprietor spoke.
"Excuse me, are you married?"
WHAT?? Fighting back the urge to shoot back a caustic "why, are you proposing??", I replied:
"Um, no. I'm only 17! Why?" I shot him a quizzical look.
"You know, I've watched you going round and round for the past hour and I'll say it now- it's a good job you're not married, as you'd drive your husband absolutely MAD."
This is what I was like in TK MAXX (yeah, not the most glamorous of places to shop- drat! There goes the sophisticated illusion I've been working so hard to cultivate!- but when you're a poverty stricken student with naught but a hefty student loan to their name, who's arguing?) Customers and staff alike eyed the odd girl who wandered round and round in circles, muttering to herself under her breath and rummaged the same racks over and over again, hoping, just hoping, that she''d turn up that elusive "perfect" gown which she'd missed the first time. It was obvious that she was a mere novice in the art of clothes shopping. While, all around her, women with immaculately ironed peroxide hair and fully done makeup (leaving her feeling like a gauche, grubby little girl in comparison) ruthlessly extracted bargains with expert ease, she endlessly dithered, umming and ahhhing over garments.
Eventually, the heavy weight of various ballgowns slung over her arm, she staggered to the changing rooms, proceeded to sigh gloomily at the reflection of her scantily clad figure, which was highlighted to imperfection under the harsh, unforgiving glare of fluorescent lighting, and tried her selections on.
Oh-bugger-the-bloody-zip-is-STUCK! she puffed and panted, attempting to master the fine art of tugging-zip- just-hard-enough-but-not so-hard-that-she-has-to-fork-out-for-an-expensive (and unwearable)-dress. In vain, she sucked her stomach in as far as she possible could. Desperately, she twisted and turned, jiggled and jumped. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. The zip refused to budge. Obviously it was made for a hipless person. "Well, excuse me for actually, you know, being a woman, with CURVES, the way you're supposed to be!" OctoberPoppy scowled, before sniffing: "I never liked that dress anyway. The delicate silver, hand crafted embroidery. The scalloped neckline. The flared skirt. The sophisticated cut. Yeah. I would NEVER lower myself to wearing THAT!" Dress number two was a clingy black number, which was practically a second skin. Gorgeous, but I suspect not so accommodating when one wanted to sit down or, in fact, perform any action other than stand mannequin-still and strike a pose... Dress number three? Defied the general rule "less is more". I don't exactly want to expose my entire cleavage to the nippy Durham air, you know.
So, did you actually buy anything?? You're probably asking.
Well, yes, actually, I did. I didn't just buy one dress. Nor two. But three. I am now in possession of a long beaded black creation, with an extremely saucy back. I am in possession of a seductively dusky pink gown, which showcases my figure to a T (I think this is the one and only time, going shopping, that I haven't cursed my generous hips and bust- without my hourglass shape, that dress is impossible to wear). I now possess a dress, which on first viewing, looked like a sack on a hanger, but when worn, morphs into a retro wrap-around cocktail dress, with dainty cap sleeves and a flared skirt.
I am also, finally, in possession of a bank account, of which the balance is somewhat dented by this recent spree. Given the fact that (the HUGELY fund-draining) Freshers Week commences in a week and a half, this is perhaps not the best of financial circumstances to be in...but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Gulp.



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