Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Temperley-ing fate

I have to attend a book launch on Thursday (ha! not that kind of book, with a picture on the cover. This one comes in a funereal black ring binder sort of thing and looks a little like a two volume book of condolence), so I decide that 11pm on Tuesday night is the ideal time to decide what to wear. I get out my best dress and stagger down stairs with it claustrophobically wedged around my shoulders.

- Do you think you can get this zip up?

I say to the CFO. Ever the man for a challenge, he weighs in manfully. We get the dress down over my body with a few well placed tugs and he examines the zip. The dress is beautiful, my most expensive piece of clothing ever. It is a black, short, flared silk and crepe Temperley dress with lovely silver appliqué patterns and very light, transparent flared sleeves. I love it. It is however, part of the "mad period" wardrobe, and thus very small.

The CFO gives the zip an experimental tug. I try to put my arm above my head helpfully.
- No! Don't do that! It's going to give!
- Ok, what should I do?
- Just hold it here. And here.
says the CFO tugging at the fabric and giving the zip another yank.
- Ow! You're pinching me!
- No I'm not. Stop moving.
- But I'm scared you're going to hurt me.
- Well I will hurt you if you don't stand still.
We dance a crablike pas de deux around the kitchen with me shying away from him as he tries to defy the laws of physics. I fear for my flesh.

Eventually, by dint of me holding my arm at precisely 90° while the CFO holds the bottom half of the dress in place with his knee, the zip grinds reluctantly into place.

We stand back and he surveys his handiwork.

- That looks fine!
he says, ever the optimist.
- Hmm. As long as I consider breathing to be optional, yes indeed. How come it's too tight over the ribs? How can my ribs have got fatter?
- I suppose they must have a slightly larger coating of, um, flesh than before. Or else it has shrunk!
says the CFO latching onto what he considers a genius explanation with enthusiasm.
- It's never been cleaned, CFO. It can't have shrunk. I suppose it's just about doable? If I take really shallow breaths?
- Of course mon amour, you look beautiful.
says the CFO, and edges backwards out of the kitchen with the expression of one who has narrowly escaped death at the hands of a savage wild animal.

I take the dress off, very carefully, without getting trapped. There are a couple of sticky moments with the sleeves, but I escape without incident. I examine my feelings. Hmm. I don't actually care that much. The thought forms in my head that to lose sufficient weight on my ribs to wear this dress with comfort, I would have to be mad again. I decidedly do not want to be mad again. Fuck it, I think. I'll try and get someone to move the zip somehow.

I do not want to pummel the offending ribs with my balled fists, or scratch my recalcitrant flesh until it bleeds. I am not planning a two day crash diet eating nothing but prawns and spinach. I do not even slightly want to cry and I do not feel that this tight dress makes me a failure. How can this be? Is this sanity?

12 comments:

girl with the mask said...

If I had brought a Temperley dress and it didn't fit anymore I'd be at the hospital right now getting my ribs removed. Fact.

Parisgirl said...

How can my ribs have got fatter? How many times I have asked myself this? My mother used to say I had "heavy bones".

Léonie said...

I think it is sanity. The dress is only a dress, after all, and your ribs and your flesh are so handy for living and existing and things.

It's funny seeing evidence of healthier attitudes in yourself. Now when I feel like that I am more likely to pick up the phone or a pen, when it used to feel so natural to reach for a razor.

If fitting into the dress means madness, I say ditch the dress.

Léonie said...

Oh, P.S. I tagged you! Oh, what larks. You don't have to do it, though.

Jaywalker said...

Léonie - Sanity, hmm, it's rather nice, isn't it? I could get used to it. Do you think it's just passing through? I am glad it has dropped in on you too. We should try and coax it to stay.
The dress may well be going the way of the much-lamented Brick Lane Balenciaga trousers. Towards the poubelle/ebay.

Girl (or 'Cher' as you will henceforth be known) - if you had bought a Temperley dress you would have nothing left for surgery. Unless you sold a kidney at the same time, which might work I suppose.

ParisGirl - It defies the laws of biology as I mistily remember them. Fatter bones? Some mistake.

Jaywalker said...

Léonie again - yes, and thank you! It made me feel cyberloved. I already did it! I told you, craven people pleaser. Good at homework.

emily said...

oooooooh that sounds like a pretty dress - im with girl... apparently still quite mad!
if you do decide to lovingly send the dress to a better place, you should put a picture on here and let us fight over it! :)

Marianne said...

OMG that is my greatest fear itself: the fear of someone else doing my zip up and pinching my flesh in it! And I'm with you on the ribs too- my ribs always seem to be getting bigger, even though that's the thinnest part of me and it's definitely not my boobs growing!

Mya said...

You can have a couple of ribs removed, you know - you won't miss them. And sometimes I find walking on tip toes helps - you do look a bit freaky, though. You'd get a seat on the tram no problem.

Mya x

Jaywalker said...

Emily - I promise when I finally give up on it, you can fight over it. I hope you have small ribs though. It really is exceedingly small.

Marianne - tell you what's worse - doing it IN A CHANGING ROOM in a shop, and getting stuck in the dress and being unable to free yourself singlehanded and having to call shop assistant for help. Yes, Reiss, I am talking about you.

Mya - Stop it stop it. I am trying to be sane remember. And also if I tell the CFO this, he will offer to help me out with a power drill and some rubber bands, I just know it. And probably barbecue the leftovers.
Will try the tip toes thing. This could make for an entertaining evening.

anxious said...

what is this "sanity" of which you speak?

Seriously, though, I admire your ability not to cry in such a situation. I'm afraid I am not at that point. Yet.

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