The Truth About Dressing for Success
I’ve just come off of two ‘dress-up’ events, or at least that’s what I call them because for me it’s always like playing dress-up the day of a reading or a book signing or a party, or any time I have to make a public appearance as KD or Grace. I ravage my drawers for my limited supply of sexy lingerie. Not that anyone would know the difference if I wore my granny panty reliables, I grumble as I truss myself up, but it’s the principle of the thing, isn’t it? By God, there should be lace and corsets and boots and frou frou it I’m gonna play the part, and there have to be items that lift and separate and mould and shape and constrict. Oh yes, they absolutely must constrict!
I try on every cleavage accentuating top in my closet with the sexy black jeans or the flowing skirts that are my standard uniform for those occasions that demand a little more, shall we say, sass. Should I show off the valley or showcase the peaks? That’s the question, and it’s never an easy decision. Occasionally I’m really brave and wear something brazen enough to show off both.
There might be a smattering of lace, a little costume jewelry, a curling iron to the hair for that glam look, or my jaundiced version thereof. Of course there’ll be eye-watering make-up (my own eyes doing said watering). I used to sell makeup. I know how to put on a little slap, but that was before I got obsessed with writing. Now, most of the time I just can’t be arsed. Makeup time is time that could be better spent as writing time. How unglamorous is that? But for a reading or a party or a public appearance as KD/Grace, there must be make-up, and usually at least some of it needs to sparkle.
And the final touch is what to do about my finicky feet? Shall I wear the boots with the girlie stamp of approval, or shall I risk several days in traction or a sprained ankle and wear my nosebleed heels. (Note, nosebleed to me means anything with an arch that I can slid two sheets of paper under. The higher the heel, the more girlie choice, right? And the naughtier, of course.
When I go to a reading, when I put my best girlie foot forward, I know how to look the part. And I love reading my sexy stories to equally sexy listeners. I’m in my element when I’m engaging with the audience, sharing the story, talking about the writing. But once the spotlight is off the story, what am I thinking?
‘This damn bra is gouging a trench in my ribs! If it pushes me up any higher, I’m going to suffocate in my own cleavage.’ That’s what I’m thinking! And though the panties I’m wearing underneath may be deliciously displaying my arse-cheeks (unbeknownst to everyone in the room, of course) in reality they make me feel like I need to either excavate or stand on my toes. And standing on my toes in certainly no problem, since I’m wobbling around on heels that feel like stilts, though that doesn’t seem to solve the panty problem. Oh, and the makeup. I never rub my eyes when I’m not wearing it, but the urge is damn near irresistible when I’m in full slap. Why is that? Is it the extra weight of mascara on my delicate, thin lashes? Is it a stray bit of powdery glitz from the eye shadow? Or maybe it’s just the body’s defenses taking over to rid itself of too much of a glam thing.
Before I started writing erotic romance, I had visions of scantily-clad women writing in their boudoirs in corsets and lace stockings and f**k-me shoes. If I had any illusion that I might eventually evolve into such a mythical creature, I WAS WRONG! It just ain’t happening! At least not with this slovenly writer. My dirty little secret: I write in a ratty track suit old enough and faded enough to easily be a charity shop reject. In the winter I write in fuzzy slippers that look like they might have acquired a case of the mange. In the summer, I let me feet breathe. God, how unsexy!
I’m working from the theory that sexy lingerie constricts the blood flow to my brain, inhibiting any truly sexy thought from penetrating the oxygen starved gray matter. I don’t write well in bondage. I need to be free. I need to be the dominantrix when it comes to the written page. My feet aren’t shaped like Barbie’s, pre-formed to fit into stilettos, though there are times when that would be beneficial. But no! My feet love flat surfaces.
And if you take a look at my hands – especially in the summer – no French manicure for me, nosiree! Guess I never got over the love of playing in the dirt from the days of my childhood. I grow vegetables, and vegetables like dirt, they need dirt. I could tell you amazing things about dirt! And here’s the rest of my dirty little secret. Doing dirty, messy, sloppy things, not the kind of things you’d do in a corset and stilettos, inspires me to write dirty, messy, chaotic, romantic fun stories. Being girlie doesn’t come naturally, digging in the garden, walking on the Downs, being outside in the mud and the dust does.
My dirty little secret is actually not much of a secret, and it’s common ground for a lot of my writer friends. We all laugh and joke that we can clean up okay and do the girlie, sexy thang just fine, even enjoy it. But when we go home, when we revert to our natural states, it’s jeans and trainers and tracksuits. It’s walking and digging and getting our hands dirty that inspires. Okay, some get their inspiration getting their hands dirty in the kitchen, baking and cooking and creating yummy meals, but I’ve never heard of one of them making a pavlova in full slap and a corset. Of course everyone has a different dirty little secret, so I could be wrong.
I guess ultimately the secret isn’t really a secret, and it isn’t really all that dirty. We writers all do whatever it takes to inspires us. The way we dress, the hobbies in which we indulge, the mindset from which we write is all about inspiration, all about finding the way through the gray matter to that perfect story. Still, it’s a part of the writer’s mystique to have a dirty little secret or two, isn’t it? But this is as close as you’ll get to mine, because if I told you any more, I’d have to kill you.