"I write so that my handful of pebbles, cast into still waters, will create a ripple."

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Lady in a Red Dress

Warning—this blog is purely superficial. In a world filled with bad news, here's a whimsical discussion about the power of a red dress.   

Forget about the “Little Black Dress." Try a red dress and watch what happens. When female news commentators wear red, they seem smarter, more believable. Energetic. Their skin tone pops with vitality. Apparently I’m not the only rougeophile. I did a Google search and found 224 songs with "Red" in the title. Not all dresses—that would be a . . .lot . . .of . . dress songs.  

 My infatuation started a night in the early 70s when I watched Bobbie Gentry in an "NBC Special", singing “’Fancy”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORfoK5Ap0FA  Loved that song. She strutted her stuff across the stage in a skintight dress cut clear up to her hips. One strut and she had me hooked on the power of red. Then there is Chris De Burgh, “Lady in Red”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC1C4g8YOA4

Color Me Beautiful claims that everyone can wear red, if they choose the right base tone. Cherry, strawberry, reds with blue tones, reds with orange tones—there is a shade for everyone. For me it’s cherry. Back in the day, I had a red knit maternity dress and it made me feel gorgeous without my realizing that I looked like a peeled watermelon. 

So yesterday I pulled out my favorite red dress. It’s 15 years old. I keep it around because we have history together. In 2001, I went down to Zihuantanejo in late April. It was raining when I left home so I packed polyester—specifically, black polyester. I walked to the front of the plane, first in line. A stewardess opened the exit door and heat and humidity hit me like a dodgeball kick to the chest. By the time I made it to my writer’s retreat house I was sweating like a proverbial porkchop. What was a girl to do? I went shopping. Bought a red cotton dress and a straw hat with a long yellow scarf. The dress was loose, unstructured cotton that bled onto everything it touched, but that’s another story. Love that dress. Wear it with a concho belt. Wear it with heels or barefoot. One of those dresses that makes my skin tone pop.

So yesterday I wore it to town. And I made an observation. People talked to me. But why? Was it because I was more approachable? Or were people responding because I looked interesting and vital? At church, people smiled and introduced themselves. At the grocery store, a 99-year-old man started telling me that he’d already outlived his wife and kids. Pretty soon he was telling me about his big house on the river and the amount he pays in property taxes (a whole lot) while his hands shook with palsy. He said he hasn’t been dangerous for the last 20 years. I couldn’t be sure, but I think he was hitting on me!

Then a guy younger than me asked if I had a recipe for cole slaw dressing. He chatted while we searched for bottled slaw dressing. After a long minute I suggested he wing it—mayonnaise, sugar and lemon.

The grocery checker pulled out a prized “friends and family” coupon good for 20% off everything in the store. A homeless guy outside wanted to help unload my groceries. Thanks, but I have it. Have a nice day. Here, have an apple.

So was it me or was it the red dress? Hard to tell. My advice—try it. Next time you wear red, do your own research. Lady. . .in. . .reeeed.