Not so long ago, a man I fancied very much hurt my feelings through the grave sin of casual disregard, and I found myself trying not to cry at the exact moment I’d thought I’d be slathering on lipstick. I was crumpled on my bed next to a very pretty dress laid out in anticipation of him taking it off; it was blue and green and generally of a form and function I’d known he would admire. Though I never explicitly buy an article of clothing for one man’s eyes, I’d been happy about the prospect of this dress barreling past his defenses. I should have known better. Recently I’d had a dream in which this manic pixie dream man had been idling beneath a neon sign flashing the words DISASTER THROUGH AMBIVALENCE. That’s more supertext than subtext–neither ambivalent nor ambiguous–but what can I say? Hope is the thing without feathers, or so Emily Dickinson and Woody Allen might have said had they put their heads together. (Perish the thought.)
Just when I was thinking the smart move was to burn the dress and let the tears flow, a friend texted, Put on the dress.
I stopped short and looked at my phone as if it were a magic wand rather than–well, these smart phones are magic wands, aren’t they? Sci-fi psychic remote controls that confirm the future we already take for granted.
I hadn’t told her about my plans with this man, whose mixed messages she does not endorse and who reminds her of a love from which she is still recovering. And her comment was so specific, like she’d installed a webcam in my bedroom–like she was a NSA bruja.
Which basically she is. All intuitives are, but it still surprises me when the universe reaches through one of us to so definitively extend a hand to another.
I texted her back. Did you mean this for me?
Earlier you’d said you were feeling blah, she wrote. (Though I’d not copped to my plans, the power and pleasure of our supersensory connection never lets me fake the funk.) I tuned in and saw your new dress. You should put it on and go out.
Not wanting to torture either of us with a confession, I sent her an avalanche of emojis– those fuckers have a use after all—and slipped the dress over my head. Into the world I sailed, my lipstick firmly in place like the siren armor it really is. I returned seven hours later, alone but with color in my cheeks and a new name in my contacts.
The next day, I filled her in with more details. I knew she wouldn’t be thrilled I’d let Mr. Mixed Messages disappoint me again but had to share our latest delivery from the psychic friends network.
“It’s the The Dress, The Dress,” she said, referencing a SATC episode neither of us can resist. (Despite ourselves, we can resist very few.)
“It’s the Us, the Us,” I joked back. “Next time I’m moping, can you please remind me of the power of a long walk in an amazing dress?”
“Go outside now, doll,” she said, and hung up before I could protest.