Three sales circulars that arrived by mail all have cover photos of women wearing
long, dramatic scarves. Wearing a scarf twirled around your neck is the way to say,
"I'm hip" this season. I'd love to say I'm hip with a scarf, except I'm missing one
thing the neck of a giraffe.
I am a member of the short-neck group. I never thought of my neck as short until I
wrapped a silk scarf around it three times, exactly the way I saw it done on a
mannequin. The mannequin looked sleek and sophisticated. I look like someone pounded
my head down into my chest.
If I'd had a top hat and a carrot nose, I could have passed for a snowman.
I should have known. The mannequin had an 18-inch neck and a reed-thin pasty-white
body made entirely of light weight plastic. I birthed babies that weighed more.
Every year fashion incites women to turn on yet another body part. Hemlines rise and
women curse pudgy knees. Hemlines fall to mid-calf and another subset of women
detest their piano legs and thick ankles. The sleeveless returns and women despise
their flabby arms with a newfound vengeance. This year, women will turn on their
In the spirit of "can do," I try another scarf, tying it in a fashionable manner. I
look like a flight attendant. Soft drink, juice, coffee?
I try it again with a slightly different flair. I look like a protestor waiting for
the onset of teargas.
I read a pamphlet titled "Eight Ways to Tie a Scarf," explaining how I might
achieve a variety of cosmopolitan looks. The instructions seem vaguely familiar.
I've seen them before somewhere. Yes, it was the knot tying portion of the Scout
I attempt the muffler, looping both ends of the scarf around the back of my neck,
crossing sides, bringing them forward and tucking them under. Voila! I look like I
am wearing a bib. I look stuffed, like I ate too much for dinner and am totally
miserable. They should market this with an antacid.
And, I ask, what do you do with scarves with the really long tails? Let them hang?
What if they don't hang straight down? What if they go over a slight rise on their
way down and they swing? What is the proper scarf tail etiquette? Do you hold them
down when you walk, or do you let the tails gain momentum and possibly lash a
passerby? I don't think we have insurance for that.
The dramatic types would intuitively know what to do with long scarves. They
casually give one end a flick over the shoulder. They wave the scarf as they tell
stories and laugh. I would try these things, too, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be
able to pull if off, and then friends would suggest that I consider medication.
A first cousin to the scarf, but one that requires absolutely no tying is the
poncho. A poncho is a tablecloth with a hole in the middle for your head. It wraps
around you like a warm blanket and covers every body flaw from the neck to the
Yet I've also noticed that every picture of a woman wearing a poncho shows the woman
walking into the wind. I gather that is the trick to getting all that fabric to
stay in place.
I'll see you around this fall - but probably only on windy days.