Are you neat as a pin or always a little bit disarrayed?
I wrote this after seeing the play “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” written by The Ephron Sisters. It’s playing in New York at the Westside Theatre and is about women’s complex relationship to their clothing.
The play was stupendous and I laughed deep belly laughs. I have sufficient deep belly properties to make my laughs resonate and encourage others.
When I left the theatre I could not help but notice the large familiar stain on my aqua blouse. I must have worn this mysterious noticeable stain all day. No doubt everyone noticed it – like food in your teeth, or a blouse unbuttoned too low, or a bra strap that peeks out and even your best friends won’t tell you. In my case, I think, they have simply become used to these spots – like a characteristic mole or scar. You see, the truth is I don’t ever NOT have a stain. Somehow between toothpaste, Hot & Crusty dribbled soup at lunch, a grabbed cookie crumb or dinner on the fly, I always carry around some evidence of drool.
Where does this come from? I never know the moment of this traumatic event. Like the mystery of the lost sock, never to be returned from the laundry room, I most always have a smudge somewhere. My scarlet “A” signifying some sin of decorum.
The cleaner, Mr. Cho, from Gracie Cleaners, always attaches a disclaimer to my garments: “We do not take responsibility for this stain.” He pins it at the spot. “Mr. Cho, I am not reneging on responsibility. I take full blame for the greasy circle. So, Mr. Cho, you see, I always carry a blemish somewhere on what I wear. It is my fault entirely.”
But come to think of it, maybe it’s not just an act of sloppiness. Maybe it’s a miracle. Maybe it’s a message from above. Maybe I could move to New Jersey and apply for sainthood. People love Jews who convert. I’ll become “OUR LADY OF THE STAIN.” Crowds will wait in line to get a scrap of my XL blouse or XL pants.
You see, it’s not what I wear but the eternal damage I do to it. The rayon that shrinks irreversibly when the wash directions say DRY CLEAN ONLY, and yet I toss it into the washer, refusing to read the label, so frantic about erasing the stain. Whether the store is Target or Bergdorf – “la tache** c’est moi.” My stains are equal opportunity employers. Now look at that – there is chocolate on the sleeve of my new white blouse. How did it get there? I surrender to le smudge. I will never be perfect.
**la tache – French for stain