Not so long ago I gave someone very dear to me something that I will call, for lack of a better word that I am able to pronounce, a sarong. It is made of cotton (I think), has a dark blue and black pattern, wraps around her waist, and becomes her quite nicely. I suppose at this point I should explain that this person and I are just friends and I am totally not in love with her, even though she's beautiful, intelligent, witty, loving, funny, artistic, lithe, steamy hot, enjoys watching Lesbian porn, has eyes that one could fall into forever...what? Oh yeah, I was saying that we're just friends. At any rate, upon receiving my humble gift, this person – Sandy – said something like, “I love it! It's beautiful! I'll have to figure out a top to wear with it, though.” And I said, “Hey, no problemo, Toots. I'll make you a top.”
Well, I didn't really say “no problemo, Toots” because I don't talk like that, but I did say that I'd make her a top.
You'd think I would have learned better by now. Statements rashly uttered have gotten me into trouble before, things like “Sure, I'll help you move,” “Your jail house tat sucks,” and “Hey, want to get married?” But apparently I have yet to master the ability to think before I shoot my mouth off. Big surprise, right?
So I'm making Sandy a top. And I have no idea what I'm doing.
A day or two after my off-hand comment I realized that, not only was I actually going to go through with this project, but that I had some trepidation about it. Some trepidation? More like white-knuckle fear. I couldn't at first figure out what I was afraid of, until I realized that I was afraid I was going to like designing Sandy a top. “Hah!” said my friend Haley, of whom all the things I said about Sandy are true as well except possibly for enjoying Lesbian porn, have to ask her sometime, “Hah! What you're really afraid of is that, not only will you like it, but you'll be good at it.” And she was right, of course. Incidentally Haley recently became real, but that's probably another blog entry.
The very first issue that I had to confront was what to actually call this thing I was to create. My initial inclination was to call it a shirt, because that's the only form of apparel that guys wear above their waist and I'm pretty comfortable with the concept if not always the execution. But then I recalled that she's a girl (*sigh*), and it might actually be a blouse. Or a chemise. Or a peignoir, who knows? So I settled for calling it a “top,” because I am reasonably confident that it is not a “bottom”, and thus I felt ready to tackle the next hurdle, to mix sports metaphors.
What should it look like? My criteria were that the top be simple, elegant and make this lovely woman appear even more lovely. “Pfaugh! Easy! No problemo!” I said to myself. Well, once again I didn't really say “no problemo,” and I kind of struggled with pronouncing “pfaugh,” but you get the idea – I was confident to the point of cockiness of my ability to design a garment that a beautiful young lady could wear in the evening with a sarong. Until I actually tried to come up with a design. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. Then it struck me: my entire experience with women's fashion to that point had consisted of picking up clothes off the bedroom floor after a night of heavy drinking and subsequently burning them.
Yet I know how my mind works, so I simply let it roil and percolate for a few days until it came up with a design that I liked. Then I revised it because it was too complex and it became two tops. “Gleep!” I said, and that one I actually was able to pronounce without too many problemos. “The project has already grown! Soon I'll be coming out with my own fashion line and have to pretend that I'm gay and buy over-priced real estate in Florida!” But I now had two designs in my head and thus I felt ready to hit the Internet and dive head-first into the rocky shoals of fashion design.
Let me tell you right away that there are not too many fashion design web sites that are meant for beer-swilling, football-watching, shit-kicking Iowa boys like yours truly, who secretly believe in their heart of hearts that women who look like Sandy (and Haley) should wear no clothes whatsoever. For starters, most – as in, all – of these web sites presuppose that you know something about fashion. What the fuck is a selvage (US) or selvedge (British)? Do I need one? Do I need two? What is damask? Organza? (Sort of like the sound of that one.) What in Calvin Klein's name is “Poly Double Georgette?” These sites could have been in Symbionese for all the sense they made to me.
“Okey dokey,” as Hannibal Lector might say, “time to limit my searches to that which I am pretty sure I will need – silk.” You see, my vision of Sandy's top (*sigh*) was to be realized in black silk. I even knew exactly what the fabric should look like and how I wanted it to feel. Finding it proved to be something of a challenge, however. Did you know that there are such things as “free-range silkworms”? I can only image the Japanese silkworm drovers on little ponies cracking their whips and cursing (in Japanese of course) as the Great Silkworm Drive begins; the plains themselves rumble with the susurration of thousands of wild silkworms being herded to the great silk factories of.... Yep. Free-range silkworms. Did you also know that some silk can be pinned and some can't? That some silk is suitable for linings and some for garments per se? That “watered silk” is pressed between rollers to impart a design to the fabric in a process called “calendaring”? Yeah, me neither.
But I persevere. I will keep you posted on my progress in these pages, to the point where I actually present my creations to Sandy. Speaking of which, I am a total gentleman and would never expect Sandy to fuck my wheels off in frank gratitude for the hours and hours I am spending on this project. I can get laid any time; or more precisely, I can get laid any time once I place my Onion Personals ad. If, however, Sandy feels that said wheels will continue to be an unsightly and crippling hindrance to me the rest of my life unless immediate action is taken, who am I to refuse? One must be gracious, after all.