It is an accepted fact that my sister is the fashionable one in our family.
This winter whenever I would see my father, he would invariably be nattily dressed in a sweater that I knew he would never have picked out for himself. My father, who had never before in his life expressed a shred of interest in clothes or fashion, would pat his torso in satisfaction and say to me, “See this sweater? Your sister bought it for me. It’s a really nice one.”
My mother, who favors shapeless black turtlenecks and sweatpants for herself, looks at my get-ups with resigned pity and says, “You always wear weird things. That’s your taste…Your sister always looks beautiful in whatever she wears.”
When I was living in New York, I would buy clothes every now and then at the ubiquitous street fairs. My mother would look askance at a skirt I’d be wearing and say, “Quit buying one dollar clothes! They look terrible!”
“Hey!” I’d protest, “This actually cost me five dollars!”
A couple of weekends ago when my sister and I were debating about the clothes I should wear to our cousin’s wedding, (mine or hers), I told her, “People at work have told me they think I dress fashionably.”
“That’s really sad,” she replied with perfect sincerity.
Recently I needed to buy a pair of shoes to wear with a certain outfit. I looked through thousands of pairs of pumps on that rabbit hole of a website called Zappos until my eyes started to glaze over. I was getting nowhere until I tried to pretend I was my stylish sister as I looked through the gazillions of shoes. I finally settled upon two pairs I thought she might approve of and sent her the links. I picked them, in fact, because to me they were reminiscent of the shoes she had worn to the wedding. I immediately got this three word message in return:
“Old lady shoes.”
“Maybe because I used ‘wide’ in the filter?!” I wrote back, bewildered.
“Get over yourself and your ‘wide’ feet!” she snapped back at me by text message, “You are not wide, you are just whining. Beauty hurts.” And then she proceeded to text me pictures of sleek $300 to $400 dollar shoes.
“But do they come in pot roast size?” I mused to myself…The answer, of course, was “no.”
My sister eventually picked out a pair of wide pumps for me that I could actually afford and today, when I got home from work, there they were waiting for me on my doorstep:
They looked so sleek, I had to double check to make sure they were really wide. I put them on and marveled at the way they magically made my fat feet look narrower.
Sometimes when my family gets together, my sister entertains us all by imitating the way I walk in high heels. Picture her walking around like a cowboy with rickets drunkenly swaying to the loud and hearty guffaws of my family. I decided to make sure the shoes really fit by walking around in them as I cooked dinner. I made a concerted effort to not teeter swaybacked and bowlegged as I walked back and forth between the fridge and the stove. I thought I looked pretty damn good. I tried to channel my sister as I sauntered around in my beautiful new suede high heels.
And then I dropped a huge blob of mayonnaise on them.