Friday, February 3, 2012
A Whole Lot of Nothing
An invitation to a wedding, such as popped through my letter box some months ago, sets off a chain of events that I care not to think about too deeply. The most acerbic of which is the requirement to tart up. Generally, I favour the wardrobe-selected-from-the-pile-on-the-bed method for my everyday wear (this is what used to be called 'un-laundered', but is now referred to as 'boho chic'). However, weddings require a certain amount of attention to detail. This is a road less travelled for me and, to be honest, I find it painful.
I don't know quite how it happened, but as I passed from teenage-hood into adult-hood I missed the whole personal grooming craze. Sure, I know sometime back in the last century most women started waxing and tanning and dyeing and painting and lasering and injecting. But I didn't. And now I find myself in a parallel universe when anyone starts talking about Brazilians (which I understand nearly everyone sports nowadays), stick-on eyelashes, straightening irons, full-legs, half-legs (is this an amputee's convention?), paper pants and botulinum toxin (measured in LDs - that's Lethal Doses, as in, "how many LDs does it take to kill a rat?" But that's another story.)
Nonetheless, a level of 'tartedness' is expected at a wedding so I made my way to the mother of all shopping meccas to select a suitable item. Now, whilst I've been in this parallel universe, and obviously not paying attention, it appears that there has been an alarming transmutation of the human female form. I can reliably report that the world is now populated by anorexic Amazonian sylphs. A sea of racks is dedicated to these strange supernatural beings and prodigious amounts of gear is presently available for them. Of course, I could have made my way over to the frumps section, but I was here to get some GOOD gear, not the old maroon and aquamarine tat that was being offered over in the far corner.
In the fitting room, just as I popped the $359 hand-spun Bedouin crafted (assembled in China) silk kaftan over my head, I heard a call...no, more of an entreaty, from the cubicle beside me. "Hey. Have you got this in a size zero?". What! What! Surely Beelzebub had visited Sydney town and she was right here in the David Jones fitting rooms. A size ZERO! What was that fool thinking? What is a size zero? Is it some type of Black Hole, a vortex into which one is sucked when one squeezes into those heroin-chic drainpipes? She called again, this time to her boyfriend, "The four's too big, I need a zero." The cuckold opined the existence of Nothing and went back to caressing his i-phone. The shop assistant regrettably confirmed the non-existence of Nothing and also went back to pressing buttons on her cash register. And there came an audible lamentation at the lack of Nothing from the stall beside me.
Having decided on my Middle Eastern number in size twelve I wanted to move swiftly from the house of horrors and away from that very disturbing scene. But before I could, I heard the homily of Rene Descartes coursing through my tiny brain: "I think, therefore I am. I think, therefore I am." I was compelled to eyeball this Nothing, so as I departed I craned my head around the divider to see the Zero Woman. But there was Nothing there.
And as the cashier rang up her best sale of the day, I was moved to interpolate a thought from the insightful F. Scott Fitzgerald. "Fashion is a racket. You can't be honest without admitting that its constructive contribution to humanity is exactly minus zero." I'm not sure if the cashier was with me or not on that one.