Scanning around L.A. blogs this morning, I discovered Girl From the North Country — a Minnesota transplant living in the Southern quadrant of the Golden State. It seems she recently purchased a second hand dress possessing hidden powers to make her imminently visible to supervisors, sales clerks, and handsome men driving BMWs. Little as I know or care about clothes, I enjoyed her post quite a bit – particularly this passage:
Somehow this funny little exchange filled
me with a sense of belonging, Los Angeles, and perhaps this is why you
brought my enchanted dress to me. Lately life here has been a constant
contrast of where I grew up and where I am now. Perhaps it is like this
for everyone in their 20’s who have moved far from home. I will never
really be the girl that that BMW Boy is looking for, and I really don’t
want to be. I don’t value things like expensive cars, I and I don’t
slow down while driving to check out attractive guys (*D sighs with
relief and mops the sweat off his brow*). I find that most young men
who have enough money to buy BMW’s have more money than anyone in their
20’s should ever be entitled to. Beauty and strength rest in money
struggles, struggles we all ought to experience while we’re young so we
know what many of our parents went through to get where they are, and
so we are grateful for all they sacrificed to give us life. I’m sure
that guy in the BMW would have been surprised if I had told him his
grandmother could have made the dress I wore, and that whoever made it
probably made it because she didn’t have enough money to buy a new one.
If this dress had a slogan, maybe it would be, 'Giving beauty to destitute women for over fifty years.'
While I'm sure the North Country Girl is not truly destitute, her point is well-taken. Most of us are struggling — in this town and everywhere else — and sometimes something as simple as a sharp outfit can lift us out of a lingering malaise. The progress of her second-hand-dress reminded me of the plot of Tales of Manhattan: A wonderful old movie where a tuxedo makes its way through the ownership of six or seven down-on-their-luck New Yorkers — lifting up all who wear it. I highly recommend this movie: A skid-row-drunk Edward G. Robinson cleans up and dons the tuxedo for his Ivy League college reunion; Charles Laughton plays a demoralized composer who wears the tails to conduct his own symphony and regain his confidence; shy and retiring Henry Fonda puts on the coat and screws up the courage to wrest Ginger Rogers away from a jerk boyfriend… Netflix it now, F.A. readers!