Friday, June 6, 2008

A flimsy shirt, heavy with memories

I'm trying to get rid of my pack-rat tendencies, since soon I'll be moving out of my parents' house and into a presumably small apartment. As I cleaned out my bureau today, I particularly agonized about whether to keep one flimsy black shirt. But I finally trashed it...and what it represents. Yes, I'm moving on.

This shirt comes from my JYA time in France. My new friends and I had just arrived in Paris and decided to go clubbing--probably the first and only time I will ever do that. It turned out to be one of the weirder nights of my life, but I won't get into that now. Suffice it to say that my friends all put on a "clubbing uniform" of jeans and an embellished black tank top, while I, not owning a black tank, wore an ivory-colored tank with a beaded neckline. It's one of my favorite shirts, but I felt that it made me stand out too much. An innocent white swan among predatory crows...that kind of thing.

After this, I decided that I needed a black clubbing shirt. I went to a store called Kookaï near Chatelet/Les Halles, which is like the French version of Express, I suppose. But I figured it must be cool, because in Les Poupées Russes Xavier dates a pretty Kookaï salesgirl. I tried on several black shirts while Sean Paul's dancehall music played over the sound system. My new friends were all obsessed with Sean Paul, though I'm not really a fan.

I settled on a black tank top made of cheap nylon jersey, with a wonderfully soft black silk ribbon around its neckline. The ribbon ties at the bottom left corner of the neckline, to make an asymmetrically placed keyhole and a floppy bow. I showed it to my new friends the next night; they all approved.

But I never got a chance to wear it in public. Not much later, I had a falling-out with these friends, and realized that I hated clubbing,. The black Kookaï shirt got buried at the bottom of my drawer, once I realized things were wrong with it, too. In a hurry, and unfamiliar with French sizing, I had bought the shirt one size too large...and let's just say that the neckline hangs so low that the asymmetric keyhole reveals a part of my anatomy that I don't want to show in public. Still, I didn't get rid of it. I felt sure that I could restyle it and make it work; I hate feeling like I've wasted money on something; and I'm reluctant to get rid of anything that has such memories associated with it.

But today I found the shirt, and thought, Why are you keeping something that you only bought to please a group of people who later spectacularly rejected you? I mean, if I'd never met those people, I'd probably be a lot happier. And I wouldn't own that shirt.

I cut the black silk ribbon off and saved it--for sentiment's sake, but also because it makes a useful accessory. The rest of the shirt went in the trash. And If I do go clubbing again (unlikely), I won't feel compelled to dress just like everyone else. about an ivory tank top with a black ribbon belt?

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