Friday, November 8, 2013

Fashion is a Two-Faced Bitch: Dresses. Who's to blame?

Every once  in awhile I like to play a game called "Creative History".  Would you like to try your hand?

Here's what you do:  You ask yourself a question.  Not an easy question.  A question  you don't know the answer to. A question that has skimmed the surface of your mind here and again without ever rooting far enough down to fire neurons.

Next, you let the question seep down through your brain's nooks and lobes and crannies and all those other places your brain has.  Maybe it settles down all the way to your medulla.  Wait.  Do brains have medullas?  I'm  pretty sure they do.  I believe I read that word in a brain book one fine day.

Hey, there you go, excellent question, right there, perfect example.  What the hell is a medulla,  where is it, and how many do I  have?  But I digress.  The second part of the game, after you've let your question settle down to your medullah and marinate awhile,  is to answer the question. There's only one rule.You can't look up anything.  Not even a word spelling.  You just write out your answer as it comes to you.

When you are done, you can look it all up and see how you did. That's the glory of the internet. You wouldn't be able to play fun games like this without the internet.  If you play this game, you will learn something and if you don't learn anything, you didn't ask yourself the right question.

HEY CHICKEN, NONE OF THIS HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH FASHION.

What? Did you say something?  Oh.  Fashion.  YES, thank you.  Here's where I was going with that.

The question that popped into my head today, just in time for F=2FB Friday AND, as it turns out, Creative History Game day, is why do women wear dresses?

Who thought that would be a good idea?

I've been stewing on it for a couple of hours and this is what I think:

Would you like a glass of wine?  Beer?  No?  Okay...
How about tea? Would you like some  tea?
Pillow?

Touchy touchy.  Alright already.  Here we go.

It was all about sex and having babies in the beginning. The women had to wear dresses to keep their lady bits accessible, while pants were introduced for men to protect their manly bits from sharp teeth and claws and tree branches and other potentially emasculating devices.

So the women were accessible, the men were protected,  fire had been invented and evolution continued. But then what happened? Why did the women continue to wear dresses?  And why did they complicate them even further with multiple petticoats and corsets and hoops and bloomers and stockings....

Accessibility was getting to be a bit of a pain in the ass, I'd guess.  And the church wasn't very fond of it either. So they threw some road blocks in the way to keep things seemly.  And evolution continued.

Then, I think there was a period where things got kind of loosey-goosey and flowy accessible garments had another moment. There was a population boom, an industrial revolution, a war, a particularly raucous prohibition, if  The Great Gatsby is to be believed, a great depression, another war, and finally it occurred to some riveters that if there were no hose available, they might as well wear pants.  So they did.  And then the war ended and the men came home, there was much celebrating and dress wearing, another population boom, a baby boomer rebellion, and finally, finally, despite the reign of free love, pants on women became sort of mainstream.  At least in America.  It was probably different everywhere else.

So women started wearing pants, people who like women appreciated the streamlined view, and pants were here to stay. A shift began, and it was a good one.

Or maybe it had something to do with peeing.

The end.

This is the fun part.  Now you research your question and find out just how well you did.

I did poorly. Very poorly. This is not surprising to me. But at least I am not the only one to have pondered the question.  Here's an interesting chat thread I found on the very same subject.

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=933691

Yeast infections?  Really? And so we all learned something today.  Isn't that great?  Happy F=2FB Friday.

No yeast infections here

26 comments:

  1. Great, Now I will wonder why that woman is wearing a dress today versus pants yesterday. An I thought it was just fashion.

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    1. Things are just never as simple as they look, SS:-)

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  2. Hi-ya. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I do appreciate it, and it's my pleasure to return the favor. Really. I got a kick out of your post... heck, out of your whole blog. Guess I'll have to sign on as your newest groupie.

    As for the whole clothing question, how about Scotsmen who dress in drag? Do they wear pants?

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    1. Hi Susan, Kilts are next week:-) Thank you for visiting and following! The feeling is mutual.

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  3. Although I do enjoy wearing dresses and skirts, I'd be lost without my jeans, so I'm glad whoever started that for us did it.

    As for my question, I didn't do so well. The correct lyrics to Blinded By the Light are nowhere near how I've been singing them all these years...

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    1. Oh Shelly, that is a fantastic question. I immediately had to try it myself. I was so glad to find that the word "douche" was not actually in there. No one was revved up like a douche. Did you know that song is one of the most misquoted? We are not the only ones. Check it out: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/11/misheard-song-lyrics-misquoted-spotify_n_3579834.html

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  4. For someone who questions absolutely everything, oddly I can't think of a damn one right now. But I'm fascinated with your whole dress history. For me to wear a dress these days means, literally , dressing up. When I went to high school, dresses and skirts were mandatory. I'm always amazed at the way girls dress for school nowadays. Oh, look. I said "nowadays." Christ, I'm old.

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    1. Terms that old people use is a great post idea, Jayne. My personal favorite is "when I was young". I'll bet you woke up at 3 AM with a question.

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  5. I had never thought of that particular question but found that forum a lot of fun to read. Seems a lot of people have thought of this and figured out some possible answers as well. I, for one, am glad we have evolved to wearing pants. My lady parts don't really have to be all that accessible...or at least not so hurriedly that I would have an issue.

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    1. It was fun to read, wasn't it? I learned a lot. Naked Battling Celts. That brought such a vision to my mind. All my celts looked like Mel Gibson and were blue.

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  6. I have no questions. I just want to say I haven't worn a dress or other non-pants option for over four years. And that my favourite kind of dress to wear is a maxi length. Do they still call it "maxi"? I'm so stuck in the 70's it really is pathetic.

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    1. They do still call it Maxi, I believe. I'm keeping the 70's alive with you. I started wearing dresses last year again. Not sure why. It wasn't because of yeast infections, I assure you.

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  7. You have a very active and creative mind. I am panting to read more.

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  8. Hey, I don’t have a dress.
    Access All Areas therefore not a given?
    Hm, now there’s a question.

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  9. Your closing photo and caption made me bark with laughter.

    I would have guessed dress wearing versus trouser wearing also tied into the way each gender urinates (as in, pants work for standing up, but it's easier for a woman to unleash a stream while wearing a skirt...maybe?).

    The challenge you pose here is really fun and interesting--to compare our personal thinking against fact--to the point that I might use a version of this in one of my composition classes one day. Thank you! (I'll credit Chicken Consigliere at the bottom of the handout. Heehee)

    Anyhow, I actually had wondered the same thing about shalwars during the year our family lived in Turkey. Women there have been wearing shalwars for, gosh, more than a hundred years...I'm not sure how far that stretches into the past. They are super practical for the kind of "sitting on the ground to do work" ethic that runs through the formerly-Nomadic culture and super practical for the low-couch type of furniture that is traditional. They also are wonderfully practical for holding a project as it's being done (say, shelling beans); I'd say this is the case with a skirt, too--there's a kind of built in table made of fabric. Finally, I suspect shalwars, because they are a pant and are sewn closed, are part of the "modesty" and "we don't want easy access to the women's bits" aspect of Islam.

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    1. Hi Jocelyn, I had to look up shalwar. I pictured a long tunic with a lightweight board sewn in to the lower abdominal part. To form a table when someone sat down. Because I have a literal mind like that. Once again, so so wrong:-) Thanks for stopping in.

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  10. Pants are the devil. We should all be wearing kilts. Except during curling. Brrr.

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    1. Hi DBS I like kilts but not this time of year. Give me flannel lined jeans and a snorkel parka

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  11. I am going to wear pants under dresses just to cover all the bases.

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    1. BB, I think that's wise. Just stay away from jump suits and dresses, because that outfit presents way too many obstacles

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  12. I dunno about all of that..I just know I don't wear dresses because then I'd have to shave my legs.

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    1. If I had a dime for every time I contemplated wearing a dress only to weigh it against the effort of shaving my legs....

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  13. THAT was refreshing and educational. I just bought a dress. I don't know why. I'll wear it with tights if I wear it. so it will feel more like a long shirt and leggings. my lady parts will be well protected.

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    1. Hey Green Monkey, it is nice to hear from you. Tights are almost as good as the pants except for the whole rolling down around the waist bit they do sometimes. I hate that.

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