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Little Pink Raincoat
Life and Love In and Out of My Wardrobe
By Gigi Anders HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008
All right reserved.
Little Pink Raincoat
Suddenly, on the second Sunday of March in 2003, it appeared. My "it" hit me like a coup de foudre, a French lightning bolt. Only it was American. I was zapped by the picture of a model in the "Sunday Styles" of the New York Times, wearing the Gap's little pink raincoat. Not just any little pink raincoat. No. That would be plebeian. MY little pink raincoat was the cutest, most perfect, most I've-got-to-have-you-this-very-second-or-I-will-die-lonely-and-raincoatless little pink raincoat. That's right. That's how good it was. It was my rainy day destiny.
Men move me, but not like clothes and accessories do. Or maybe they're inextricably bound. Even saying "clothes and accessories," uch, that sounds so ordinary and banal. Can any kiss, any flower, any orgasm—approximate the rush of finding That Perfect Pink Raincoat? I mean the world's grooviest raincoat. I mean the raincoat of laser-like focus and obsessive desire. The raincoat that stops you cold. The elusive one that once you have it, you feel not just better, but fulfilled, transformed, you've arrived more deeply and forever at your best self.
Do you understand what I'm talking about? Of course you do. Something that makes you feel scared thinking that if the Times just hadn't come that one day, you would have missed this. You'd have lost your only chance at thelittle pink raincoat of all time. (It's fun to scare yourself with contemplative what-ifs, but not until you've landed the damn thing and you know no one can ever take it away from you.)
Here she was: Simple. A-line. Hidden buttons. Bright but not too bright pink. Soft but not forgettably soft pink. Baby girl pink. Dubble Bubble pink. Daisy Buchanan pink. Billowy clouds streaking across the sky at twilight pink. Underneath it, the brunette model was wearing a man's white cotton long-sleeved shirt over broken-in, slightly faded skinny blue jeans. The picture was cropped there, so I kind of wondered about the shoe situation. But not for long. I had to get on the phone and order my love dream to be sent to my house so I could go on living in love and dreams. That was the subtext behind the impulse, it's what's always at the hopeful, beautiful, beating heart of it: Love. And the vertebrate with whom I was engaged in beasty love, he would HAVE to marry me once he saw me in that little pink raincoat. He would HAVE to. He couldn't not. It was too lovely. And sweet. Innocent, almost. Girlie, but not froufrou. Just really, really, really great. I was thinking how I'd pop out in a crowd of boring beige and plaid Burberrys, like a lone little pink flower in a desert.
I had my idée fixe all worked out: Little white cap-sleeved T-shirt, white lace-edged bra (so you could see it, but almost, like, accidentally), fitted black cotton capri pants, black leather ballet flats with quilted black patent leather tips across the toe box. Legs ultra-shaved and self-tanned. Chanel No19, for sure—it was almost spring. Black kohl liner the French way, on the inside of my eyelids, and tons of black mascara, but really worked through so there's no hint of glop or flake. Love that look. Soft pink lipstick, maybe just a lot of pinky gloss. Maybe like NARS's "Orgasm" gloss but pinkier, more full-bodied. Then ice-white acorn pearl drop earrings with the silver hooks and my watch with the black faux-croc band and silver and white face, and my Isaac Mizrahi for Tarjay black leather purse with the silver zipper.
And, like the wedding cake toppers to top all such toppers—the little pink raincoat. A vaguely Gallically gamine ensemble that I'd still be proud to wear twenty years from now. That's the secret. Always ask yourself: "How mortified would I be if I saw myself in this outfit, say, post-menopause?"
After dating and living together off and on for four years, The Dinosaur—he was, after all, twenty years my senior—still would not commit. We'd even been engaged at one point, for about three or four minutes, and he'd broken that off. When he did, I thought my life was over. So I plunged into the requisite Madame Butterfly mode—I've always been a little dramatic. This involved crashing into the tragedy of love gone wrong twenty-first-century style, on my aging mattress that was turning into a hammock no matter how many times I turned and flipped it, and armed with Parliaments and Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk. In a twisted way, this is the fun part. When they leave you, you get to eat whatever you want, as much as you want of it, turn into a total slob of whimpering self-pity, and check the fuck out. It's like getting a guilt-free temporary pass from life and its grown-up responsibilities. You get to Really Suffer and Do It Up Right.
But then—this is the bad part—those who dumped you can come to their senses and come back at an incredibly inconvenient time. At least this one did: After I'd gained fourteen pounds and my face was all broken out and I was at my haggiest, most reclusive, most kill-me-now worst. Yes, The Dinosaur returned. Despite the fact that the only thing that fit me was my wardrobe of black yoga pants (J. Crew's and Old Navy's are the best), I was actually happy about this. When you're crazy in love and crushed, you're dying to get uncrushed ASAP. In this state, the man you love, and only he, can make it better. So I tearfully and gratefully took The Dinosaur back. The pain and the Ben & Jerry's bingeing stopped. Or maybe they just went underground. Either way, I got my love back and I got back into my size 8 jeans.
The Dinosaur and I rejoiced on my sagging mattress. Afterward, we shared my sensational sesame noodles. This is not a metaphor. I make the world's best sesame noodles, if I do say so myself. One of The Dinosaur's predecessors, a Brooklyn mama's boy in his forties who'd never not lived with his mother (which is why he became my ex), once ate so many of my famous sesame noodles at a single sitting that he spent the subsequent twenty-four hours locked in my powder room, emitting truly terrifying noises and odors. I took it as a kind of compliment.
Excerpted from Little Pink Raincoat by Gigi Anders Copyright © 2008 by Gigi Anders. Excerpted by permission.
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