I had the perfect outfit picked out for the evening. I scanned my closet and pulled out the perfect purse. As I got ready, I imagined the night unfold, I saw myself charming strangers, secretly hoping that the one person invited who wasn’t a stranger would also be there. We would see each other and make our way over to each other much too slowly after too many unnecessary conversations because we wouldn’t want to appear too eager. We would walk up the staircase in the garden and then I would fall, tearing my dress, landing bruised and humiliated at the foot of the duck pond as disturbed waterfowl ruffled their feathers and walked away.
So I had the perfect outfit picked out for the evening until my imagination got involved. That staircase in the garden did exist, and of course I would want to go for an evening stroll, especially in the company of the object of my obsession. With only twenty minutes left to get ready, I needed to come up with another outfit. The dress would not work with any other shoes, so I needed an entirely different outfit altogether. Sometimes I just hated everything in my closet. I imagined burning it all and starting over. Reinventing an entirely new wardrobe held so many possibilities that adding to an existing set of clothes simply did not offer.
Thinking about the possibilities of a new wardrobe took up five minutes, leaving me with fifteen minutes and a newfound appreciation for the concept of uniforms. I looked in the mirror and wondered why we spent so much time trying to look better when we would just turn decrepit so quickly. I decided to just risk my original outfit. If I fell off the staircase, I would have deserved it and become a symbol of gendered consumerism.