NO INTERVIEW TODAY. JUST SOME MUSINGS… You might call them ‘surface thoughts’ – nothing profound, groundbreaking – or deep. But I got to thinking about a few comments presented last Saturday when my interview with The Editor From Hell appeared. It started with his/her mention about men not wearing a tie when attending the Edgar’s banquet. Which led to a few other things I’ve had on my mind. But back to last week – I was happy to see JLW (James Lincoln Warren) and Kris Montee (P.J.Parrish) chime in. In one of my comments I made mention that JLW looked handsome as all get out (or something like that) in his white dinner jacket at the Edgar’s banquet a couple of years ago – and Kris said that she and Kelly -(they’re in charge of the banquet this year) – are hoping to encourage all the guys to dress up in black tie. Also, I must add – at that same Edgar’s – Laura Lippman was a knock-out, and so were Kris & Kelly – and so were most of the guests. But – there were enough ‘tie-less wonders, jeans and shirts untucked -to take a bit of the glitter off the glitz, you know? Oh, and speaking of white dinner jackets – Ali Karim wore one to the ThrillerFest awards banquet this year! And let me tell you, I was thrilled (pardon the pun) to be seated next to this suave and debonair guy. Now, just take a gander at this guy on your left. I mean, wouldn’t you rather be sitting at a table next to a dream like this? Okay, so he’s not a writer. But still?
And, okay – so we’re not all this slim, or can afford a designer gown, OR need to get this fancy – but wouldn’t you love to glam it up at least once or twice a year? Kris also mentioned how elegant Tess Gerritsen looked at last years Edgar’s. And at ThrillerFest this year, Gayle Lynds was in a long gown and so was C.J. Lyons and quite a few others- along with some fetching evening pant suits as well. And-dare I say this – quite a few guys in ties. The point is – ‘dressing up’ lends an event stature. It tells the world (well, our mystery world) that our award banquets are important. So why shouldn’t we dignify them with the ‘stature’ they deserve? A lot of people like to say that The Edgar’s are our Academy Awards – I’m not sure where that puts The Anthony, The Agatha, The Thriller, The Barry, The Shamus, The Gumshoe or The Macavity-but that isn’t important. What IS important – is that these events and awards are to honor our best writers each year. I think we ought to respect those distinctions with a little more sophistication and elegance. Wearing jeans, or tee-shirts – or the same damn thing you’ve had on all day – just says you think you’re too cool to be impressed with the whole shebang. If that’s the case, why show up in the first place?
Okay-I know what you’re thinking now. Who cares? I mean, really. Why the hell is she wasting our time about this? There are more important things in life-and in the world- than getting dressed up for some award show most of us might never attend. Well, it’s not just about the Edgar’s – or any other awards banquet. Like I said – a few things got me to thinking.
About us. All of us.
What has happened to the way we look these days? I have to thank Kris for another one of her comments – ‘the hairy guy on the plane in cutoffs’. I remember when ladies wore heels (with hose!), and gentlemen donned a jacket and slacks on an aiplane. These days I feel like I’m on a dirty, mud splattered bus with people who have forgotten how to bathe, let alone dress like civilized human beings. On my last flight, a ‘young lady’ sat next to me. She had the window seat and had propped both of her bare feet up against the seat in front of her and was painting her toe nails. She had on very short shorts, and well – two or three male passengers seemed to find a need to walk the aisle several times during that five hour flight. No, it didn’t take her that long to paint her nails – but she kept her feet up anyway for most of the flight. And no, none of the flight attendants said a word to her either.
Anyone remember when we used to ‘dress up’ when we went out to dinner? And that many restaurants wouldn’t let a guy in without a tie or at least a jacket? My husband and I had dinner at Morton’s in Portland a couple of months ago, and the two couples next to us were dressed like they were going to a mud wrestling contest. The men had on torn jeans, dirty sweatshirts-and baseball caps they hadn’t the good manners to remove. The women were in very low hip-huggers, cropped tops with bursting boobs- and one of them was very pregnant. They were loud, profane and obnoxious to the waiter. It was an evening of ‘in your face’ – and it ticked me off no end. Thank God my husband – a six foot-four ex-Marine – had the sense to tell me to calm down when I wanted to complain. He told me that at seventy-two (with bad hips and knees from playing semi-pro ball years ago), he thought he could take one of them, but not both, and suggested I zip it up. It’s not that I’m a stranger to four-letter words. Those that know me well, will attest to that. In fact, I know some very interesting combinations I save for special occasions. But Morton’s ain’t MacDonalds’, okay? Or, Jimmy Bob’s Barbecue. So it wasn’t thrilling to spend two hundred bucks for dinner and sit next to low-lifes whose only intention (it appeared) was to act as raunchy as possible and get away with it.
Yeah, yeah…I know what you’re thinking again…who the hell cares? Life is casual these days. Live and let live. Let it all hang out. Do your own thing. Chill out. Get with the times, honey. Well, life may be more casual these days, but IMHO -it’s beginning to erode more than the way we look. It seems to me that this ‘casual’ attitude has permeated our manners and our civility in more ways than one. Our outward appearance is only the packaging. It’s what that packaging is intent on displaying that makes me ponder. Now, I’m not a fashionista by any stretch. Stop laughing. It’s true. I live in jeans like a lot of us. But I remember an old saying – ‘the British dress for dinner in the jungle.’ Think about that. Maybe the image the world has of Americans – ‘loud, boisterous and uncouth’ – is well earned. It seems to be how we look, act and sound these days. Maybe it’s time we dressed for dinner in the jungle too.
Oh, and one other thing – (you knew I wasn’t going to go quietly, didn’t you?) since we’re talking about fashion and image (more or less) – when did women stop wearing hosiery with heels? Where the hell did that come from? I mean, even hookers wear hose. Okay, maybe it’s fishnet, but still. Thing is – not many females have gams shapely enough – or blemish free – to go around buck naked. Have we forgotten that there is nothing sexier than silk stockings? Okay, nylons. The homeliest leg, the thickest ankle – can take on a hint of allure, a sheen that is irresistible – a whisper of…well, a hell of a lot more than bare legs.
See what I mean?
So now you’re all wondering what the hell else I had on my mind, right?
Actually, not much. Well, that’s a lie. I have a lot of things that make me shake my head these days. But I’d either bore you, or have you roll your eyes, or think Evil E has lost it – I might even tick you off. Worse yet – Heaven Forbid – you might never buy one of my books again. And we can’t have that now – can we? 🙂
But – indulge me – there’s another thing or two that perplexes me…
Please tell me – how did we go from this…
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So is this one. What the hell is she gonna do when tattoos are no longer cool? Or, when she meets ‘Mr.Right’ and he takes her home to meet the folks? And when – pray tell – did this tattooing business become so popular? Now, I’m not talking about those ‘special’ adornments that have meaning – that are discreetly positioned -and/or meant only for certain eyes. But Ladies! We got the vote a long time ago – the bra’s were burned – the glass ceiling is shattering (more or less) – so why are we bent on losing the respect we’ve fought so long and hard for?
Do we even have to resort to this to make it?
I mean, darlings – must we mimic biker chicks or white-trash to get attention? And don’t tell me this is empowerment either. Remember all the women bitching about being exploited? So, tell me – now who’s doing the exploiting?
Gosh, I wonder what her children will think of this photo when they grow up?
I know none of my musing have a damn thing to do with mystery -other than all this is a mystery – to me at least.
Your thoughts are welcome. Just don’t yell, okay? I’m very sensitive and I cry easily.
I love this side of you, Evil.Half of me wishes we could go back to the old days, with some sense of propriety and mystery. The other is glad I can go to the grocery in gym clothes.
Okay, confession time. I got married on my lunch hour, and my husband wore jeans to our wedding. So I’m not automatically going to agree with your yearning for hosiery and evening gowns.
But I’ve recently become a closet fan (ha! a pun) of What Not To Wear, so maybe I’m closer to agreeing with you than I thought.
But you’re still not going to get me in heels.
Thanks, J.T. – but – like I said, I live in jeans. I’m with you about marketing – the produce dept can’t tell the difference anyway. 🙂
Oh, Louise! I wasn’t talking about US wearing heels! Hell, I haven’t had them on in eons. Just if…you know? And I love that program too. Some of those poor ‘victims’…oh, I cringe along with them.
I’d rather sit next to Johnny Depp in jeans [or even pirate garb] than George Cloony in a tux.
And I think neckties are not only superfluous, but dorky.
I get your point, but I look at it this way. Until I was well into my 30s, I wore mini-skirts. Very mini. Recently I dug out some old hip-hugger, bell-bottom jeans, now back in style. Would I wear them to an Awards banquet? Probably not. But I wouldn’t wear a long gown and hose/heels, either.
As long as someone has a clean bod and clean clothes, I don’t give a rat’s spit what he/she wears to the Edgars, Anthonys, Arthur Ellis Awards, et al. But that’s moi.
Like Louise, there’s no way you’ll get me into heels, which are, IMO, instruments of torture [except, apparently, for Sarah Jessica Parker]. But nothing says I can’t wear spiffy sandals or boots. And if one has buck-naked, blemished gams, just hide them under Kate Hepburn-ish trousers.
Hey, Elaine, great post! But I have a confession to make–I wasn’t wearing any pantyhose under that gorgeous red gown at ThrillerFest!! Sorry to disappoint, but I long ago decided that you can dress up and look fancy without being uncomfortable and chucked the nylons!
Does this mean you won’t talk to me at TFest in NYC? Promise, I’ll be on my best behavior–of course, that’s not saying much
Hey, C.J.! Considering the 100 degree plus temps at TFest – I didn’t wear pantyhose with my cocktail pantsuit either! BUT – no one could tell that you and moi were sans silk. 🙂 I guess I should have said ‘with short dresses/gowns’.
I can’t wait to see you at TFest in NYC! Behave? Why, you were the epitome of…of…how’s joie de vivre? 🙂
Joie de vivre? LOL! Is that the new name for running on adrenalin and no sleep??
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again in NYC–oh boy, what fun we can have there in the Big Apple!!
I like to think of ‘joie de vivre’ as a catch-all description…kind of like a mystery, you know? Let the reader wonder. 🙂
Oh,NYC? Fun? Absolutely! Dylan Schaffer is going to take me on a tour of the best deli’s in town -who else wants to go?
I disagree with Deni. There’s nothing better than a fine looking man in a tux. And there’s nothing like a crisp, starched white shirt with a great tie and suit… Mmmmmmm….
I was retreating in Montecito with Oprah the past three days and missed all this excitement. (The retreating in Montecito is true, but not the Oprah reference.) Anyway, I’m one who doesn’t like hose, but will wear it on occasion so that my feet don’t hurt as much in heels.
My question to you is what to do with all the silk slips given to me by my mother all these years? Nevermind hose, who wears slips anymore?
Funny you should mention that you wear hose with heels so your feet won’t hurt! Thing is – NOT wearing hose with heels also ruins the shoes – besides the discomfort! And at todays prices for good shoes??
Silk slips? You’re on your own there, kiddo! I doubt if I even own one anymore…but then…like I said…I live in jeans.
Hope you had a great time in Montecito!