Satin and lace. Old-fashioned and eighties. This dress makes me feel like an out-of-date, girlish cliché, the same way a long, string-of-pearl single life can sometimes make you feel.
I became steadily single years ago and moved far away. I moved to places where it’s virtually impossible to meet anyone new, like Brisbane and India and my parents’ house. I tried to do my tax return but ended up auditioning for NIDA instead. I didn’t get in. I cried and then bravely pulled myself together.
Haunted by the appearance of early-blooming bunions on both left and right feet, I got obsessed with fitness to distract myself from my impending spinster doom. I started wearing singlets as real clothes, not just as gymwear. I got really into hip-hop as a result of working out so much because, you know, the beat. I scored weed from some dude down the road so I could better appreciate hip-hop, then I stopped going to the gym so I could better appreciate weed.
I reminded myself it wasn’t too late to turn my life around. I bought a heart rate monitor as a motivation to keep my heart rate above 140 when exercising. I tried to keep my heart rate above 140 even when resting, just as an extra challenge for myself. When my mum asked me Where did this Type A personality come from, I explained I’ve always been this way and if she’d ever taken any notice of me she’d know that by now. Then I blamed her for my bunions, which everyone knows are genetic, and haughtily hung up. I cried and then bravely pulled myself together.
I reminded myself it wasn’t too late to turn my life around. On New Year’s Eve I threw on this dress and found someone to pash, but knowing I was still too raw to show the most painful, ugly, buniony parts of myself I went home alone. I checked my heart rate and it was at 290—a personal best. I felt smug, and then I freaked out because actually noone’s heart rate should ever be at 290. When I finally fell asleep it was for a very long time.
When I woke up on the first afternoon of the new year, I saw this dress lying crushed on the floor. It smelled of cigarette smoke and perfume and looked like a huge, crumpled petal: used up, fading, wasted.
But it’s the sort of dress that will magically uncrinkle itself when you pick it up off the floor, so I got out of bed, haughtily hung it up and reminded myself it wasn’t too late to turn my life around.