Leafing through some women’s magazines while waiting for a hair appointment, I came across an interesting article in a Vogue magazine. In fact, the article’s opening paragraph completely changed my life:
“There are three things a woman really needs at 38: a husband, at least one child, and a dress with long sleeves.”
The husband and child need not be explained. It is a well-known fact that a woman cannot be complete unless she is married and a mother.
The long sleeves were baffling, until I read further and learned that a woman must always be ashamed of her arms and cover them: “A lot of women who have flabby arms think they have to wear sleeves. But I think if you have muscly arms, you must cover them. You must soften them!”
Of course. Regardless of how your body looks, you must be ashamed of it and cover it. Flabby arms? Cover them! You work out and have great biceps? OMYGOD YOU’RE NOT FEMININE, COVER THOSE UNSIGHTLY MUSCLES! You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
The article ends with the heartbreaking story of an evening gone very, very wrong: “I made a grave error. I had been invited to a dinner party at a grand house in the English countryside… I decided to wear a sleeveless Zac Posen dress. I arrived to find the hostess in gray silk and diamonds. The other girls were in chiffons… the men were in white tuxedos.”
So we already know this was a party for school girls and adult men. Because who in their right mind would call a grown woman “a girl?” That would be demeaning, belittling and totally inappropriate.
She continues: “It was pouring rain. Despite the storm, the hostess elected to keep the huge windows of her dining room thrown open all night… I was forced to put an inexpensive Club Monaco turtleneck over my Zac dress . I felt cold and unchic. If only I had worn sleeves.”
I think my head just exploded.