Purple Pose

She blinked against the sun’s sharp rays of afternoon, her lids sparkling with silver eye-shadow. I would not have noticed her but she stopped me as I was crossing the street. There was hesitation in her voice as she asked for the address of a trendy lounge bar. It was a few metres away from where we stood.

Even as she thanked me, I could see there was nervousness in her gait. What struck me most was her gown in georgette, clinging to her lean frame. Other than a knee-length slit there was nothing spectacular about it. It wasn’t bad; it was ordinary. Ordinary is worse than bad. The colour was purple. I had read a few days ago in some glossy that purple was ‘in’.

She had probably read it, too, and decided that she had to follow the fad. Everything about her spoke of a simple existence. If she did not know the address of this place, then she must live in another part of the city. She had most likely taken a bus, brought out the money from her little clutch bag – also ‘in’, according to glossies – that was designed to look like a labeled one. She must have visited her tailor or gone to one of those many small shops that now call themselves boutiques and told the salesperson, “Purple.”

Purple became her anthem, I imagined. But would all those other people where she was going to be dressed in purple with silver eye-shadow, holding on to a clutch and wearing sandals with precarious heels and tacky tassels? They would, but they had ‘real’ names written on these appendages.

She would be the outsider, a chance that fell upon her. A rich friend, perhaps. A colleague who wanted to shower munificence. She must have agreed because she wanted to feel like them. Just for an afternoon. Of more.

I dreaded the thought of her entering the dark smoky room only to find that her hosts and their friends were all casually dressed. What would happen to her gown?

As she tick-tocked away from me, I could see the lower ends of her straightened hair curl. A blow-dry gone bad. I wanted to talk to her, talk to those eyes that blinked against the sharp sun’s rays. I wanted to wipe out violet from her prism because that is all she would see.

I write this almost a month after the incident and think about a purple bruise, a purple person who was a wound.


  1. FV "Ordinary is worse than bad"

    FV, Being a non-fashionista, I do not understand why that should be. Do you mean that in fashion it is better to be outrageously bad or good, as opposed to be unnoticed?

  2. Al:

    It goes beyond fashion; the allusion is to both self-effacement that is forced upon by society as well as chosen invisibility as a result of low self-esteem.

    I think society places a premium on the average, which leaves no place for the less than average and glorifies the better than average for the wrong reasons.

    The girl is real but also an allegory.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. One of the reasons is good enough; I was not conducting s sample study.

  5. Ok, that was rude. Sorry. Am just pissed off today.

  6. Sorry for being annoyingly pedantic. Deleted my comment.

  7. Al:

    The issue was not your views; it never is. You can be pedantic or whatever and I can respond to it. That's the idea.

    It's a pity you deleted the comment.


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