This weekend I did two things: Garba then Renaissance fair. At both I was rather skimpily, but beautifully clad.
Garba is an Indian holiday. It involves a LOT of dancing. In very very pretty outfits. Statute invited me. I was going to be a third wheel to her and her boyfriend (they’re both lovely, but being third wheel at a dancing event is dreadful) and expressed discomfort with this (not the least because the fun dance requires a partner). So she persuaded a friend of hers, Poppy to come. So I came.
(An aside about Poppy that makes me happy EVERY time I think of it. Statute was in India buying dresses for me and Poppy and she showed her mum one she was considering for me. Her mother looked at it, and told her, “No, it’s not good enough for Toretha. Give it to Poppy.”)
My dress is glorious. It is totally awesome. It is black background with red and golden brown patterns on it, and sparkly beads sewn all over it. They fit into the pattern and aren’t overly gaudy, but when I spin in it, they pick of the light and I am covered in sparkles. The skirt flows to the ground, long and full and perfect for twirling: wide enough to do what I like, but heavy enough that it won’t come immodestly high when I twirl. The blouse is patterned the same as the skirt, fits my perfectly, and ties very prettily in the back, with a flap you can fold back to show your back, or fold forward to hide a bra strap. And the scarf is a brighter red that complements it perfectly. I adore it completely.
So, Statute told me to meet them at Poppy’s place and we’d get ready together. Statute did our hair, we all put on our pretty outfits then all of us, and oh? Poppy’s bringing a boyfriend? WE two couples and the fifth wheel set off. Statute also forbade me and Poppy from covering our bellies with the scarf like last year. She said this year we had outfits that were meant to compliment bare belliedness and we had the bellies to do that. I felt mildly awkward but got over it. Poppy who had no reason to feel even mildly awkward fussed and fussed.
Poppy wanted to bring an extra car, and leave later, so we arrived first. Got food. Not very good, last year was WAAAAY better. After we’d eaten, we went looking for Poppy, we’d figured she and boy would find us in the cafeteria when they arrived. No go. Statute and I, being skimpily and pocketlessly clad hadn’t cellphones, so Statute’s boyfriend eventually got the call. Poppy concluded that Statute and I would naturally wait outside for her. THis might sound reasonable, but I will tell you why it is not.
One: Poppy had said she was going to be late and we said we were leaving now so as not to miss things.
Two: Our outfits were beautiful but very belly button baring. It was Quite Cold outside. No way in hell.
Three: Poppy’s reason for wanting us to wait: it was because she was uncomfortable going into a group of that many Indians without Statute. She said this. Repeatedly and angrily, upon discovering that we hadn’t waited. This made me uncomfortable. In fact, throughout the night she reprised this theme of too many indians I am afraid of them. Despite the fact that they were all lovely. Complimentary on our appearance, on how nicely we were trying, and how well we were doing for being inexperienced, and generally totally friendly. (Except to Statute and her boyfriend, who a few people stopped to scowl at ferociously. Statute didn’t notice. Boyfriend did. I did too, and smiled cheerfully at scowlers just to annoy them).
We danced. I sucked, as always. But I have fun sucking when I know what i’m trying to achieve, and I didn’t mess up the line too much or bump into people too much, so I had fun. Poppy whinged about how she didn’t know if she could do it right. Poppy’s boy was a perfectly gentleman, polite, graciously dealt with Poppy’s brattiness and threw himself enthusiastically into the dancing. Way too good for her. When the fun dancing (with sticks! You hit sticks and twirl! I LOVE IT) came, I didn’t have a partner for a while. I joined some kids doing it, then Statute came and grabbed me into a line when someone stepped out to get a drink of water. It was GREAT. I had so much fun, and actually pretty much did it right. lovely.
Result: I’d forgotten how good it feels to do things that make me live inside my body. I need to so that more. I feel asleep still counting the dance to drumbeats in my head.
Day two: RenFair.
I love RenFaires. And no one up here was free to play but Lol, and he wouldn’t enter into the spirit of it properly. No spontaneous joy from him. So, I figured, dress up pretty, go, play, see if I meet people.
In the spirit of bellybuttonbaring, it was a warm day, so I put on my favorite outfit: long green embroidered skirt, with matching halter top. Bellybutton and back baring. My hair was gorgeous: still straight at the top so the chestnut gleamed and falling in perfectly articulated waves at the ends. I went. I wandered. I saw plenty of guys checking me out. I smiled friendlily at them, in a come and talk to me fashion. But I clearly do not give off the right vibe, for nary a one did. But I had fun anyway. I talked with the performers, and the stall people, and people in line. I insulted the Cardinal and the Pope, bought an indulgence, joined in the cheering and heckling at the shows, shot arrows, fell off the impossible to climb ladder so enthusiastically I got applause, bought bizarre jams, and generally had a lovely time.
But, seriously? WHY DO I NOT HAVE THE VIBE? Guys were absolutely checking me out, guys my own age, for a pleasant change! I looked hot! I smiled friendly! I was clearly geeky and enthusiastic! I WAS TOTALLY APPROACHABLE!