Elf on the Shelf – Day 6

Music is one of the things in this life that I just don’t know I could ever live without. Life just doesn’t make much sense to me without a soundtrack. I think that if the human soul could ever truly be captured, caught in a net or bottled up in a little glass jar, the first thing you would notice is the sound of it–some sort of beautiful melodic vibration resonating from the inside out. I think there is music in all of us–in the way we think, the way we speak, the way we move. It doesn’t matter if you can’t play the piano or sight read a song. It’s there, somewhere, and it’s the reason that we can’t help but nod our heads and tap our feet and hum along with the radio. Music speaks to us in a way nothing else can.

I think it must be the writer in me that makes me so partial to musical theater. Sure I love rock concerts, and I can get chills sitting in the audience and listening to an orchestra. Hell, I sometimes even feel myself getting overwhelmed with emotion just listening to the way a hundred voices intertwine while singing hymns in church. I know, I’m a weirdo, but there is just something so inexplicably awesome that happens inside when there’s music involved.

And, for me, there is nothing more magical than musical theater. The story, the sets, the costumes, the lights, the colors, the way the actors moves as they deliver their lines. If there was ever a way to pluck a story directly from the brain of a writer and show it to the world, I think it would probably end up on a Broadway stage. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen a show, whether I have memorized every word or could recite the story from beginning to end in exquisite detail, I always lose myself as soon as the theater lights dim. If there is anything that I am going crazy waiting to share with my daughter, it’s musical theater, because the way she loves music and movies and performing already, I know it’s only going to take one show to get her hooked.

Of all the shows I’ve seen (and seen over and over again) through the years, Wicked is at the very top of my list of favorites. Les Miserables is a very, very close second (which is why I am so obscenely excited for the new movie musical being released this Christmas), but there is just something about Wicked that caught me and refused to let go. I think part of me always thought there was just something a little too good about Glinda in the original Wizard of Oz story. I’ve never really been a pretty blonde, glitzy, glittery, dress-wearing princess sort of girl, so I knew that Glinda the Good and I would never really see eye to eye. I knew girls like her in high school and let’s just say they aren’t exactly on my Facebook Friend List.

I also think I always felt a little bad for the Wicked Witch. I mean, her sister dies in a tragic accident and some whining brat from Kansas comes along and steals her shoes. Nope, that just never sat well with me. So when Gregory McGuire decided to rewind the story and show the world what happened in the Land of Oz long before Dorothy and Toto landed there, and when the book was eventually adapted into a Broadway musical, I was right there in line for tickets. And what I love most is that it is not just a story about black and white or good and evil. Instead, like real life, it is a story about about the gray areas between the black and white, a story about friendship, betrayal, circumstances, choices, consequences, right and wrong, appearances and reality, standing up for what you believe in, and discovering (and learning to love) who you are.

If you’ve never seen it, find a way. If it’s possible to get a ticket, go. You won’t regret it. And now, I’d like to share one of the songs from the show with you, because it was the first thing I thought of when we woke this morning and discovered what our little Elf had gotten herself into while we slept. So, take a moment to watch before you continue…

After returning from her nightly visit to the North Pole to file her Cadence Report, Cosette was greeted by Cinderella Barbie who, after giving the little Elf a once over, decided that it was time for a makeover. Not that Cosette doesn’t look cute in her little red elf costume, but Cinderella Barbie just thought that maybe a fresh, new look might help Cosette overcome a little of her shyness.

Luckily, there were a few bags of old Barbie clothes packed away down in the cellar. Some were pretty dated (I mean, come on, it’s only been like a quarter century since I’ve played with a Barbie), but fortunately, some of the old fashions have been staging a comeback, so Cinderella was able to put together a little something semi-fabulous for Cosette. And this is what Miss Cadence found when she woke up this morning…

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Low Rise Jeans Are For Assholes

Low rise jeans are for assholes. Yeah, that’s a pretty blunt statement, but I’ll say it again and I’m sticking by it.

Low rise jeans are for assholes.

Why?

Because your asshole is about the only part of you they are actually designed to cover.

Before, I go any further, I guess I should probably start this blog post off with a disclaimer…

I went clothes shopping today. And there’s nothing that makes me homicidal quite as efficiently as clothes shopping.

See, I’m not your typical “girl”. I don’t follow fashion trends. I don’t have a closet full of shoes to match every outfit. Hell, I don’t even really have “outfits”. I live a life of jeans and t-shirts briefly punctuated by the occasional blouse and sundress. I don’t even think I own a pair of heels anymore. Why should I? I can’t walk in them without spraining something and all they do is sit around, collecting dust, and using up valuable real estate in my closet.

Even during my teenage years when I was athletic and toned and not completely ashamed to walk around in a bathing suit in public, I still hated clothes shopping. Nothing ever fits the way it’s supposed to. A shirt and pair of pants that look perfectly adorable on the store mannequin or even hanging on the rack somehow have a way of transforming into an ugly shapeless collection of mismatched fabrics as soon as I trot into the fitting room to try them on. They pull taut at the shoulders, but hang so loose in the bust that I might be mistaken for a flat-chested pre-pubescent boy. A pair of jeans fit well through the thighs, but gape open so far in the back that someone could shoot ping pong balls into the gap from across the room. The fabric is too thin or too itchy, or the pattern reminds me of some old 1960’s wallpaper in my great-aunt’s spare bedroom.

And you can forget about actually getting any quality craftsmanship these days. One trip through the washer and you’ll see the seams begin to separate and colors fading. Hell, I remember pairs of jeans that lasted years when I was a kid, and then found new life when I cut them off and wore them as jean shorts. These days, I’m lucky if a pair of jeans lasts me more than 4 months before I find a random hole somewhere.

So yeah, I’m never a happy camper when I’m forced to actually go out and try to buy some clothes. I’ll put it off as long as I possibly can. I’ll scour the internet for sales and guesstimate my size in the hopes that I can just order something and forgo the painful experience of actually having to go to a store in person. And when it’s finally come to a point when I have no other choice but to head out shopping, it’s a good idea to steer clear, don’t make any sudden moves, and make sure you’re packing chocolate, coffee, or a good stiff drink if you’re planning on spending any quality time with me in the days immediately following the excursion.

So, for tonight, a short rant on the Top 5 Things About Shopping That Piss Me Off Most. This list is subject to change depending on the day, the location, and the reason I’m shopping in the first place. So, be warned, I’m likely to blog about this again in the future with a whole new list of complaints.

1. Low Rise Jeans – I think you already know how I feel on this subject. Low Rise Jeans are, quite possibly,  one of the worst inventions ever. No one looks good in them. No one. Not even the stick-thin waif-like models they were obviously designed for, and certainly not the regular ol’ lookin’-good-with-a-few-curves-here-and-there average American women.

I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the original idea for Low Rise Jeans was formulated by a couple of drunk, college frat boys sitting around in a bar, guzzling beer and wondering what is the most ridiculous thing they could get a girl to wear in public. I imagine the conversations went something like this…

Mike: “Yo man, I bet you a girl would walk around with a shirt so short it barely covers her boobies!”

Joe: “Aww, man! They’ve already done that! Girls walk around wearing bikini tops these days. That ain’t nothin’! I bet you a girl would walk around in a pair of jeans so low her panties and ass cheeks would be hangin’ out!”

Mike: “Aww, no way man! You’re crazy! No way!”

Joe: “I bet you fifty bucks!”

Mike “You’re on!”

Six months later, the Low Rise Jean craze reaches a frenzy.

Joe: “Pay up sucker!”

Mike: “Aww shit.”

2. Short Shorts – Do I really need to go into an explanation here? Take the material they cut off those Low Rise Jeans, add a zipper, and you’ve got yourself the most unattractive pair of shorts ever invented. And really? What’s the point? If you want to walk around showing that much skin, you should just go right ahead and join a nudist colony. Or save yourself some money and just walk around in your underwear.

And the worst part is, these days it’s damn near impossible to find a pair of decent length shorts, even in the children’s department. Seriously people? It doesn’t concern you at all that your 8-year-old is walking around with her butt cheeks hanging out? Not my daughter. Nope. No way. Her ass will be covered if I have to buy a sewing machine and learn to sew a damn pair of pants myself!

3. Sales Racks – Let’s face it folks, who are they fooling here? Prices slashed! Door busting deals! 50% , 60%, 80% off! Clearance! Get it while you can!

What a line of bullshit.

Take all the ridiculously overpriced crap that hasn’t sold, hang it on a “sale” rack, and you’re still going to pay too much for a bunch of poor-quality clothing that doesn’t fit your body and isn’t going to last. But, we have to wear something, don’t we? And Lord knows we all can’t afford to have our very own designer, tailor, and seamstress on staff to create a custom wardrobe that is both flattering and functional. Until then, we’ll just have to make do. But I’ll be damned if I am going to buy something I hate just because it’s sitting on the clearance rack in some store.

4. The 9’s – “You ever notice how all the prices end in nine? Damn, that’s eerie.” – Dante Hicks, Clerks.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed, and I hate it. First of all, I suck at math. Seriously suck. So I’m immediately on edge when I try to start adding up numbers in my head to try and estimate just how much I’m spending.

Second of all, I’m not stupid. I know that just because $19.99 is one penny shy of $20.oo, that doesn’t mean I’m raking in some incredible savings. If you want to cut the cost, why not make it an even $19.00? Oh no, that wouldn’t work, would it? Because then the store wouldn’t be able to rape the consumer out of that extra 99 cents. And let’s not forget the sales tax. Tally up the federal tax, the state tax, the city tax, and sometimes even just a let’s-see-how-much-we-can-squeeze-out-of-them tax for good measure and suddenly that rock bottom $19.99 deal isn’t such a great deal anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, as a small business owner myself, I understand that, in order to survive, a business has to do a certain amount of markup on prices in order to pay the bills and make a little profit. But, when it comes to clothes shopping, I have a really hard time justifying paying $139.00 for a pair of jeans made in a sweatshop in China where the workers are paid a pennies a day for their labor. I don’t mind forking over my hard earned money for good quality products, but let’s face it, when was the last time you bought a piece of mass-produced clothing that was worth every penny you paid for it? I certainly can’t remember. Can you?

5. The Dreaded Dressing Rooms – If I were to die today and go straight to hell, I imagine it would be a small, mirrored room strewn with mismatched clothing with bright, soul-sucking fluorescent lights.

Behold, the dressing room.

If there is one thing I hate the most about shopping, it’s actually having to try the clothing on. Nevermind the urban legends about Peeping Toms and two-way mirrors and other strange department store treachery, if you want to knock your self-esteem down a few notches, head out to any local clothing store, strip down to your skivvies and take a look at yourself in one of mirrors. I don’t know if it’s the mirror itself, the lighting, or some strange combination of the two, but there is nothing quite as humbling as getting a good look yourself in a dressing room mirror. Every blemish, crease, scar, and extra pound of fat you forgot you had is suddenly magnified and, for a moment, you’d swear you saw the Hunchback of Notre Dame peering back at you

Don’t bother trying to clean your glasses or turning to look at yourself from another angle. Just get dressed, pack up your shit, and run! Get out of there while you have a shred of self-esteem left to hold onto. If you’re lucky, you might not need to seek therapy afterward.

So, there you have it folks. I feel better now that I’ve purged my frustrations, and I look forward to waiting at least another year before I go clothes shopping again. Any sooner and it might require some prescription strength anti-anxiety medication and a tranquilizer gun just to make sure I make it out alive.

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