So, What Are You Wearing?


The answer to this used to be a flirty description of lacy lingerie. It would be nice to reminisce about the days of La Perla when, in reality, you haven’t been out of a sports bra in weeks. Work from home attire is a whole new category of sweats and daytime pajamas, only perhaps topped with a proper button-down shirt for a Zoom conference (only viewable from the waist up.)

People are in a health and financial crisis and suddenly things like pants with a waist band seem superfluous. And skinny jeans were annoying even on “wow I feel so thin” days. Our outer appearance has taken a firm second place to our inner appearance. The challenge is no longer finding a pair of Spanx to hide the muffin top but some sort of mental girdle to contain the rapidly growing anxiety.

So, what are you wearing? I asked this of a nurse friend (get the sexy nurse Halloween costume out of your mind.) Are you wearing a proper surgical gown or are you wearing a garbage bag? Are you wearing the N95 face mask and not a bandana? Are you wearing a plastic face guard, maybe one which is being made by a 3D printer in the local John Jermain library? Are you wearing disposable gloves and finding plenty more when you shed your current pair? Are you wearing a tight mask for so many hours over so many days that it has left bruise marks?

To friends and family, we ask, so, what are you wearing? Are you wearing a painted-on smile because you don’t want your children to know you are terrified? Are you putting on a good face to not reveal the extent of your worry for older or compromised relatives? Are you wearing a scowl, looking at others as the enemy? Are you revealing your worry lines as the Botox wears off? Are you wearing a genuine smile because you just noticed the daffodils defiantly blooming in all their glory while Mother Nature seems to be at war?

To ourselves we ask, so, what are you wearing? Are we wearing our hearts on our sleeves and being vulnerable and emotionally honest and reaching out for help as needed? Are we wearing “I’m fine” armor, which is supposed to protect our soft spots but which, in reality, only serves as a prison for our rich inner lives which remain trapped? Are we wearing our honest selves, which at times truly are ok and at others decimated? Are we wearing our own black and blue marks from kicking ourselves with our overly limber limbs from three to five hours a day of online yoga because we didn’t prepare better for something like this?

Will there be a day when we will only be talking about PPE (personal protective equipment) as something to do with safe sex? When we are just flirting and not flirting with disaster? Where what you are wearing doesn’t create a life or death situation?

This has never been such an important question, and I want to express my personal thanks and awe and admiration for those on the front line. You are heroes.

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