FALLING INTO DISGRACELAND 

FALLING INTO DISGRACELAND

Imagine, if you will, a typical weekend night. Around nine or so. The phone rings and a voice on the other end says, "Hey, I have a question." You know what's coming. It is THE QUESTION. Asked by females (and, hell, maybe males for all I know) before every social event, work outing, and general get-together. It is: "What are you wearing?" It means, in essence: "What are you wearing? I'm using you as my random sampling of the population/formal fashion barometer. I need to know exactly how dressy or casual this thing is going to be and whether or not belly chains are appropriate. Because if I'm way off base and think that it's cocktail dresses when it's really barbecue attire, you're my first line of defense. And if we get it wrong, at least we'll both look out of place. And, listen, I don't want you to look better than me, but I don't want you to look worse, either, so we need to coordinate." THE QUESTION, you see, is very complicated. On a recent Friday evening, I received THE CALL. I answered by saying, "Are you sick of seeing my low-cut jeans, and ... do you remember seeing me wear my pink tube top lately"? I had pulled the tube top out of the dirty clothes hamper (everyone does it) so I knew I had worn it recently, but I didn't think anyone had seen me in it. My friend started laughing. After she assured me that it was quite a while since I had worn the tube, and, no, she was not sick of my low-cut jeans, she said, "I was planning on wearing jeans and a tube top, too." Okay, I thought, that's odd. We do spend a lot of time together, so there are weird coincidences sometimes (mostly I try to blame them on my burgeoning ESP), but I would say that both of us have rather extensive wardrobes. And while I know that jeans are pretty much par for the course, tube tops definitely are not. We're not walking around trying to be Farrah Fawcett here. Yes, tube tops have experienced a resurgence in the past couple of years, but I would say (and this is only my opinion) that they're sort of on the decline now. So it raised an eyebrow. After my friend made an outfit change (we certainly couldn't both wear tube tops), we took our act out to the Young Avenue Deli. We get there, get a couple of those Smirnoff Ices, and sit down to watch the band. For the most part, everything is chill (by the way, kiddies, ordering a Smirnoff Ice will get you carded. Or maybe ordering a Smirnoff Ice in a tube top and glitter makeup will get you carded). Then I start looking around the bar. And I see a girl in a tube top and jeans. And then I see another one. And another. It was as if the bar had been invaded by some jeans-and-tube-top society, only I had been inducted and didn't even known it. And again, this was like a week ago. Not the height of summer when even spaghetti straps feel hot and oppressive. One might even have described the night as a little chilly. I could only conclude (and, of course, I did this all very scientifically, with control groups and test tubes and such) that it was the band we were seeing. I mean, it wasn't the locale, it wasn't the weather, it certainly wasn't a dictate from the fashion world. It had to be something about Eighty Katie. Of course, that might be giving them too much credit. What about them or their music could possibly inspire tube tops? But if you would wear cowboy boots to see Willie Nelson and leather pants for Aerosmith, why can't there be some sort of unspoken (and very specific) dress code for local bands? Thinking more about it, I usually wear jeans and a muscle tee whenever I see the Subteens. And for one of my favorite country and western-flavored ensembles, I always break out the big ol' belt buckles. I'm going to be keeping my eye on this little phenomenon. I know it doesn't really mean anything in the larger scope of things, but I'm interested. I mean, if an entire group of people can be driven into tube tops by some unseen force, what else can we make people do? Okay, you're right, probably nothing. For me, I'm going to take it as a sign that whenever THE QUESTION yields an identical answer, everyone involved in THE CALL should change. Because other people will probably be wearing that outfit, too. Unless you want to be dressed exactly the same as everyone else. And for my own private rebellion, I'll never wear another tube top to an Eighty Katie show. From now on, I'm sticking to low-cut tank tops.

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