Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

Sweating the Surreal Stuff

Red high heels
Image credit: Christopher Sessums

Why red carpet? Why not blue or purple?

And how on Earth does one walk down it? Certainly not stride, unless shod in combat boots. What about meander? Or stroll? Sashay? Sashay sounds good.

And what should I wear? A suit? A tuxedo? Somehow that doesn’t feel right. Certainly not a dress. I don’t own a dress. I haven’t owned one in more than a decade. I’m a jeans and T-shirt kind of person. Even when I dress up, comfort is a priority. I usually resort to Indian clothes, a kurta tunic and harem pants.

I’ve never felt comfortable in dresses. They make me feel as if I’m a stranger to myself, as if I’m not me. Whenever I wear a dress, I move differently. Like I have to behave myself—no goofing around, no being me. Like a girlie girl.

I looked at the SOVAS (Society of Voice Arts and Sciences)—what did other nominees for the Voice Arts awards?

Oh God! There’s James Earl Jones and Sigourney Weaver. And Lily Tomlin! Oh God! This is serious. I don’t belong with these people. I’ll feel like an impostor among that crowd.

Okay, okay, I have to get past this. At least for now. How about pretending I can handle this, that it will actually happen. It’ll help me prepare.

Tickets for the gala—check. Flight reservations—check. Hotel reservations—check. What else? Oh God—back to what to wear—the toughest part. How on Earth am I going to deal with it? I have nothing—my mind is drawing a blank.

Think, think. I’ll have to buy something. Or rent. Renting is out—I can’t handle the thought of going to one of those fancy-ass shops where they rent out fancy-ass formal clothes. To have to deal with snooty salespeople… Ugh. What to do?

Perhaps I could actually wear a dress. If I wear my superman underwear under it, I might be able to handle it. Or if I pretended it’s a costume party and I dress up as a fancy-ass dress wearing bona-fide nominee… Yes, I think I can manage that. In fact, seeing it as a costume party will give me permission to goof around a bit—that’ll help increase my comfort level. I’m pretty good at goofing around. It’s actually part of who I am. I can pose like a model, imagining the wind blowing through my… very short hair. Yes, I can definitely do that. I can pretend I’m starring in a romance movie, with my foot popping up as I kissed the heroine. I can hike my dress up like can-can dancer—maybe not that high. I envision myself as a bride removing her garter. Hmmm… that works. Though I probably won’t actually do it. Well… you never know, maybe I will, given the right circumstances, whatever that means.

Oh no—if I wear a dress, I’ll have to wear high-heels. I can’t walk in high-heels. What about low high-heels. I’m sure I can walk in one inch high ones. Perhaps half an inch. Do they even sell those? Still, even with low heels there’s a decent chance I’ll trip. I’ll have to practice. I imagine myself as a not-so-thin model walking down the runway. In slow motion—they do sort of stride. One heeled foot in front of the other, sway the hips, swish the dress. Sway to the right, sway to the left. Swish, swish. Yes. I can do that

Back to the dress. No sparklies. Not black. Red? Not a gown. Not a mini. Mid-calf length—yes! I’ll have to try a bunch of things on. I’ll have to try on dresses and a few pairs of shoes. I hate this kind of shopping. I’m an in-and-out type of shopper.

Perhaps I should wear a suit after all. Nope. I can’t see it. It feels wrong. And the whole dress thing is beginning to grow on me. Sarah can help me with the whole shopping thing—she has much better dress sense than I do, and I’m going to see her next week.

Yes, I can do this. And you never know—I might actually enjoy it.