Saturday, August 4, 2012

Formal Trouble

What can an elderly woman wear at a wedding?

 When i was teaching in a Bangalore college, the dress code for women lecturers was the saree. It was tough going for the likes of me who weren’t born into it. But i did manage somehow. Once we moved to Mumbai and i took up a non-teaching job, dressing became free and easy. We don’t deal with customers; we don’t have to impress anybody. So we can wear what we please—within a level of decency and common sense, of course! A pair of corduroy pants, bought from the men’s clothing section at a mall, became my favourite wear. [It’s hard to get women’s casual trousers since they come in tights and slim fits, which i don’t want to wear. Same is the case with footwear, men’s section has interesting sandals and things while the women’s side is filled with silly, icky designs. Isn’t this part of gender harassment?]

But then, thinking of clothes for formal functions is such a headache! Some time back, we went for a Northeast hill folks wedding. Wanting to highlight regional solidarity, i went dressed in ‘puan’. But most of the other guests were in Westerns, and i felt so conspicuous in my ethnic. There’s another wedding coming in a few weeks. Someone is telling me to wear a silk saree. But i don’t want to, especially in this wet season. The situation reminds me of the lines from TS Eliot’s ‘The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock’: Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare eat a peach? I have heard the mermaids singing each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me.

Well, what does a female Prufrock do? Any suggestion?