What Sexy Is

I actually have no idea what sexy is.  More correctly, I have an idea, but am pretty sure that everyone’s individual ideas are all different, so it’s almost not worth trying to define.

So, this all came up because Cooke Street Carnival is Saturday, and the Advice Ladies are very busy preparing the Advice Booth.  The past couple of years we’ve done general carnival sideshow attire, and that works great.  We decided this year to switch things up and go sleek and professional, but all with different versions of the same bob wig.  About a drink and a half into the planning we had made it from “sleek and professional,” to “sexy librarian.”  I’m fine with that.  We’re a smart group of women, and if we can all get behind a sexy archetype, that’s a pretty good one.  Until we started trying on outfits.

That went better for some of us than for others.  I couldn’t find anything in my closet that fit my image of sexy librarian, which sent me into a shame spiral about a) having no money, b) my first-choice dress suddenly looking frumpy, c) not having the coordination or the intact knees to walk in stiletto heels, and d) wondering how I got to the point where there is nothing in my closet I or anyone else would find sexy.

I showed up empty handed to outfit try-on night.  I was instructed to keep an open mind about the bob wig, because even though it was my idea I knew I would find a bob wig unflattering and unappealing.  Not on other people, mind you.  My friends have successfully rocked every possible hair length from pixie to Crystal Gail, and some of them look great with short hair.  I am not one of them.  In short hair I am frumpy and at least ten years older, and if you don’t believe me and promise not to laugh I’ll show you my last ID featuring me in short hair, and then you will laugh anyway and have to send me for an appointment with my hair therapist.

So, everyone tried on all the assembled wigs, and matched pencil skirts with cardigans and stilettos. Everyone looked amazing. Except I put on the blue bob, and it was awful, and the black longer bob, and it was awful, and the fuschia bob, and it was awful.  Everyone correctly stated that any of them would be fine if I would just stop making that face, but they did not feel fine.  They felt like I worry I will feel if I ever cut my hair off: like I’ve just given up on youth and fun and travel and optimism and joy, and traded it for responsibility and a sensible middle-aged haircut. I have no plans, ever, to have a sensible middle-aged haircut. Good heavens. Stop making me talk about it. 

I finally tried on the lilac bob, though, which is pale and delicate enough not to look as chunky and harsh as the other ones did, and Julia made me try on a bunch of jackets and we found one I liked and then I remembered my black glitter stiletto heels from New Year’s, and I felt better about the whole thing.  I won’t be able to walk on Saturday, but that’s fine. I’ll just sit in my four-inch heels and have people bring me drinks.

So I’ve been thinking about this all week, now, and am fascinated by the fact that none of us precisely agree on what sexy is, because we’re all like snowflakes that way. Some of us prefer mystery and suspense; some of us prefer a more direct approach.  Some of us prefer our clothes to be subtle and understated like a picture frame so that it’s our faces you notice first; some of us prefer bright colors like flowers which kind of sparkle in a crowd.  Some of us like stiletto heels; others of us like stiletto heels but we like walking more. Some of us are wallflowers. Some of us are divas. Some of us are flirts. Some of us are spitfires. (Actually: all of the people involved are all of those things, sometimes.  It’s situational, and it’s a matter of degree.)

I haven’t worked it all out yet.  It’s a moot point anyway, since I have no wardrobe budget.  But I’ll be there on Saturday with a bob wig and shoes in which I can’t walk. You can come tell us all what you think.  

We plan to have a huge time.

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