October 11, 2011


I’m here to tell you that, as far as domestic abilities go, I’m on the scale somewhere between tap water and road kill.
The reason for this is that I was forced to take Home Economics in high school.  The cooking class was filled, so I got stuck in the sewing class, with all the other kids who had been sewing since birth and were only taking the class, in my opinion, to show off.
Our first assignment was to go out and buy both patterns and material for our projects.  I decided that I would show those smug little bitches, and I bought an elaborate pattern for a dress that was styled after, I think, an Elizabethan coronation gown.  It was just gorgeous, and I had decided that it would be just perfect to wear to the Prom.  With that in mind, I spent most of my college money on a bolt of rich, sea green silk, not to mention all the brocade and beadwork that would be attached later.
I showed up for class the next day all excited about my project.  The other girls stared with open jealousy at my pile of silk, until the teacher, Miss Guano, walked in and we got started.
“Well, Carson,” she said with undisguised admiration, “that’s certainly an ambitious project.  I’m sure it will be absolutely lovely when you’ve finished it.”
“Thanks.  I’m planning on wearing it to the Prom.”
“How wonderful!”
Now, understand, I had never even sat at a sewing machine before in my life, much less actually used one.  Miss Guano had me practice with a couple of remnants until I felt confident about my ability to sew a straight line.  I’m nothing if not a fast learner, and in ten minutes, I felt ready.  But first, I had to pin the flimsy paper pattern to my silk, then cut out the pieces of my dress.
No problem.  I finished just as the bell rang.  The next day, I’d start to sew it together.
I could hardly sleep that night for all the visions I had of myself, dressed like Cinderella at the ball, dancing with my current handsome prince.  Well, okay, he had a few zits…well, more than a few…but he was a nice person and he got all my jokes, so the pizza face was easier to forgive.
Anyhow, the next day, I took my appointed seat behind a sewing machine in the Home Ec. Room and began sewing.  I sewed like a fiend every day for a month.
At last, it was done, and it looked even better than I expected it would.
Then I tried it on.
It was a nightmare come true.
To start with, the right sleeve was longer than the left sleeve.  However, I found that if I dropped my left arm two inches and raised my right shoulder about three inches, the sleeves were perfect.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t all that was wrong with it.
The left side of the dress was longer than the right side.  It looked as if the left side had been sewn to fit Geena Davis and the right side tailored for Dr. Ruth.  But I found that if I leaned right about six inches, both sides balanced.
Then there was the problem with the front and the back.  Front too long, back too short.  Leaning backward five inches solved that problem.
That just left the neckline.  It was low cut on one side and straight cut on the other.  Not to worry.  If I just pulled down a little on the straight part and held it there with my elbow, it was just fine.
Ah, I was a positive vision…with my right shoulder raised five inches higher than my left, listing to port six inches, while bent backward five inches and clutching the bottom of my neckline with my elbow.
I was ready for that Prom, by God!
We swept in on the night of the dance, and were greeted by a receiving line of faculty chaperones.  While walking onto the dance floor, I overheard two of the teachers say:
        “Isn’t it too bad about that poor girl’s deformity?”
        “Yes,” said the other, “but doesn’t her dress fit beautifully?”

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