Setting a New Fashion Trend

5:35 pm

The residents of Scottsdale and their obsession to look good 100% of the time fascinates anyone who visits here. Personally I want to know who has the time to keep up on the fashion trends, plump their lips, maintain orange tans, exhibit flawless nails, walk in six-inch heels and pick up their children from soccer practice in a Hollywood premier outfit. We can’t all look like Victoria Beckham.

I don’t think it’s necessary to get fapitzed every day. Yes, I confess to being a bit vain–I am guilty of making skin tag removal appointments–but no one seems to be addressing the issue of feminists and fashion. Until I read Sonia Isard’s article in “Lilith” called “Getting Dressed.” It inspired me to be proud of my self-maintenance appointments that include:

facialdentaleyegynecologistmammogramhairmanipedihairremovallaser treatments.

It’s finally acceptable for intelligent women to be serious about fashion. We’ve gotten the okay on the crazy shoes, high-end purses and clothes that are not designed to look like paper bags. I’m not sure how I look is the focus of my day but if we look great, it’s okay to flaunt it. We are now permitted to enjoy “the process of feminine self-presentation.” Which doesn’t mean I’m walking around on stilts anytime soon.

It may be time to change the way I approach my fashion choices. I have never really cared what those around me said about my style, except when Glee and April convinced me honeysuckle was my color.  This won’t involve me looking through magazines and over-analyzing my attire in the mirror, but instead I will continue to wear what I feel comfortable in with a touch of flair. Like my Guatamalen vest or my Indian shoes with tinkling bells. I don’t need anything else to make me Stressed in Scottsdale. Except when I visit my mother.

It’s been busy week with events for Martha Beck and Gloria Feldt, but it started with Mother’s Day brunch at Friendly Arms. Michael, Rivka plus kids had the stomach flu and cancelled at the last minute, which did not pass the “good excuse list” for my mother. At any rate, she insisted if we were coming we had to dress up.

Her favorite phrase is, “Jean, what’s the point of going somewhere unless they know you’ve been there?”

I convinced Maury to put on a pressed golf shirt while I wore a linen dress with a scarf and Birkenstocks. I did comb my hair.

“Jean, you look very nice today. Except for the shoes. Couldn’t you wear the scarf in your hair or a hat? It’s so unruly. That’s from your father’s side of the family. His mother had hair like a Brillo pad.”

That’s the best compliment I’ve received from my mother in years. She never comments on Maury’s outfits because he’s a doctor and watches baseball with her, even though she has no interest in it whatsoever.

I do get glammed up when Glee and April tell me we’re going someplace “Scottsdale,” but I’m not about to do it for the Friendly Arms dining room where most of the inhabitants do not have 20/20 vision and wear plastic polyester from the 70s.

Usually my mother puts herself together very well, but every once in a while something appears from the bowels of her closet that horrifies me. Her response is: “What? Throw this out? The fabric’s still good.”

“But, Mom, it’s very outdated.”

“Who cares? I’m not trying to find another man.”

I should hope not. He’d have to be deaf and blind.

At any rate, I like women who think for themselves and misbehave. And, it’s okay to look cute too.

Scottsdale’s ranking as one of the most pulchritudinous cities is plummeting. Even with exquisite flora and the beauty of our desert dwellers our close proximity to Phoenix, which has been ranked high on the misery index by The Wall Street Journal, makes us subject to ridicule. The misery index decides how miserable we are and right now, a lot of people are unhappy. Why? Jobs, business, the heat, the pollution, politics are a few.  Now Forbes has ranked Phoenix/Scottsdale as the sixth dirtiest city in the United States!

That means there’s a brown haze hanging over us. I see it happen every winter. The “brown cloud” embraces our Valley from all the cars over populating our roads. The high pollution warnings tell seniors, children and those with respiratory problems to stay indoors. The minute my mother hears that she has a task she needs to complete with urgency.

“Jean, why is the air a hazy color and shimmering? I can’t see the mountains and I cleaned my glasses. I must go out today to check out the new rinse for grey hair at Walgreens.”

I called Lara—she’s the family environmentalist—to get her opinion to see if Scottsdale deserves this dirty ranking.

“Hi Honey! You’re up on these things? Your Bubbe wants to go out today. Is the air really that bad?”

“Mom! It’s disgusting! Make her heed the warnings. At the very least tell her she has to wear a mask.”

“Lara, if I tell your grandmother that she’ll want to hold up a store. Or she’ll tell me it doesn’t match her outfit. Worse, she’ll make me wear one!”

“Well, you can’t let her out. Today’s the driest, dirtiest day of the year.”

“Oh, for Heaven’s sakes! Who conducts these surveys anyway? I read in last month’s issue of Newsweek’s The Daily Beast a list of America’s 30 Funniest Cities. To my surprise Scottsdale/Phoenix weren’t on the list! Results reflected cities with the highest percentages of residents who describe themselves as funny or watch sitcoms and visit comedy clubs. I think it’s very funny here. I could write a satire about Scottsdale…not that there’s anything to make fun of.”

“Mom, you’re very funny. Michael and I laugh about your crazy antics with your friends all the time. Whoops. Dad has a droll sense of humor.”

“It still baffles me that Scottsdale isn’t on this list. I understand how Austin, Texas and New Orleans take the top two spots, but how does Milwaukee rank number seven? Now all we’re left with are headless bodies according to the Gus and big snakes that creep into our backyards from the desert. They even caught a bear cub near the library the other day. The residents here may be taking our pollution problems more seriously.”

“Mom, since when are you the Scottsdale Ambassador?”

“Since we moved here from Tempe and I schlepped your grandparents here from Florida. She reminds me every day about the cool, ocean breezes. The last thing Scottsdale needs is for everyone to think we are a miserable, dirty, and humorless city. I’d rather stick to the stereotype that we’re a bunch of boozing, spray-tanned, BMW driving blondes like on that housewives reality show. Now that I think about it, not sure which stereotype I would prefer. I think I will just stick with Stressed in Scottsdale.


My Mother, the Jeweler

5:24 pm

After sitting in traffic for 45 minutes—I should have known not to drive north on the 101 during rush hour—I arrived to pick up my mother from Friendly Arms to take her to the doctor. To my surprise my mother came out with a new piece of jewelry.

“Mom, what is that around your neck?” I reached over to hold up her necklace for a closer look.
“Jean, I’m starting a new jewelry line out of all the pills the nurses try to make us take. I made this one myself. Do you like it?”
“This is Viagra! You can’t go walking around with this. Where did you get it anyway?” I looked at her with suspicion. Maybe she is having some fun since my dad passed. “I know these aren’t prescribed to you.”
“How do you know what they are?” She leans in closer. “Is Maury still–you know what I mean?”

“Mom! That’s personal.”

“Jean, I’m your mother. I’ve heard everything. What do you think goes on at senior living places? We have a few Lotharios and Jezebels here too!”

“Mom,” I say with firmness as I start the car, “where did you get this crazy idea?”

“A lady from California makes jewelry out of her unused pills to help pay for her medical bills. I think it’s a great idea. Look at the article.”

The car idles as I skim a newspaper article with scalloped edges because my mother cut it out with cuticle scissors. Susan Braig, a brave woman who survived cancer has a lot of unpaid bills. She had unused drugs from her treatment so she designed pendants, earrings and tiaras.

“I’ve been going around collecting pills from everyone,” says my mother.

“Mom, won’t the medications leak or melt? You know how hot it gets here.” Of course I’m thinking about Bernie, our doctor friend, who will be examining my mother in a few minutes and what he’ll think seeing a blue Viagra around her neck.
“Jean, you worry too much. I will wear my jewelry more than I carry my pills around with me. If I need my anti-nausea medicine I can just swallow my ring. Well, you know what I mean. What I really need help with is selling my drug jewelry. Will you help? Your friends, Glee and April, will love this stuff.”
I can’t believe my mother wants me to market medicinal jewelry. What will she come up with next? More Stressed in Scottsdale!