Friday, September 22, 2006

Almost Rosh Hashana and time to say Happy New Year! May your new year be sweet with apple print tops and frocks. Apples, especially red or green ones, might be too pedestrian to qualify as novelty prints. Now if they are blue, sprouting smiling worms and being nibbled upon by giraffes on fire, then it's a novelty print-- no questions asked. And if you see such a thing please contact me at once. A holiday novelty apron would make it clear that your apple print was all about Rosh Hashana and l'shana tova.

Holidays, like going to the beach, or gambling, mean that you can wear a novelty print that depicts the very thing you are doing without feeling overly self-referential.

Goyim, of course, have plenty of kitschy novelty attire for their holidays. Just wait a few months and you'll see some reindeer sweaters out there. So when I see a nice schmaltzy Jewish Holiday- themed apron, well, I am verklempt. This one is sold already, alas, but go to vintage baubles to check out other aprons. I'd wear this apron if I were the hostess of a High Holies cocktail party. Especially since since my dormant kitchen proves I never even turn on my stove. And I'd serve flaming cocktails just like Rosalind Russell in the 1958 film version of Auntie Mame.

For politcal reasons, I don't cook. I have this magic device called a telephone and when properly used it can cause someone appear at my door with piping hot vegtable chow fun, enchiladas, or matzoh ball soup in less than 20 minutes. Well, at least until about midnight, then I'm on my own. Crossing cooking off my to-do list leaves me time to read, write, dance, blog, play pinball and fight the powers that be.

It's interesting that just as modern women are freed from kitchen drudgery, the so-called new domesticity comes along. Now if it pops your rockets to make your own artisanal baclava, vichyssoise or congee, then by all means, enjoy. But a woman shouldn't be so naive as to think that the whole patriarchy-machine hasn't influenced her choice. We are rewarded for traditional feminine behavior. And there are all sorts of well-funded studies with spurious evidence and laughably small sample groups that long to prove that women are hardwired to be nuturing, feeding and generally cleaning up after everyone else. To that I say: Feh! Of course I myself am not outside the system. Are cute novelty prints not feminine? Why is clothing my focus, rather than say, oh, I dunno, ham radio? Isn't it true that women waste a lot of energy planning their outfits?

When I walk the streets of my city I see charmingly-dressed women hard at work an the great work of art which is themselves. Perhaps it is a symptom of larger frustrated ambitions? I notice that I become more obsessed about what to wear when I feel most powerless in my life. I may not be able to control where I live, or how much I earn, but at least I have the final say on the frock on my back.

The apple prints are for my Mom, a fiesty woman who taught me not to cook. Her vintage Holy Grail is a dress with big apples, just like the one she ruined as a girl when she fell jump-roping and cut her chin. I think the black and red apples top would look very smart on her indeed. My mother opened her own clothing store at the age of fifty and continues to be an inspiration to me.


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