Looking Like a Million Bucks

December 29, 2011

I spent the morning in my cubicle, earbuds in, listening to my new copy of “The Essential Rosanne Cash“. Anyone who knows me or has followed my adventures of the past year knows that I’m a big fan of Rosanne’s, both her songwriting and her prose. She is a favorite writer of mine, plain and simple. Even when limited to 140 characters, she is more witty and poetic than the overwhelming majority of tweeters.

Over my bowl of Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins this morning, I read the liner notes to the CD. Many quotable lines are there, but the one I liked best came from the words of Rodney Crowell,

Truth be told, it was Rosanne’s infectious and unforgettable laughter that, more often than anything save the songs themselves, brought out the best in these extraordinarily generous musicians… that and the stylish focal point she quite often provided simply by turning up for the sessions looking like a million bucks.

I was fortunate enough to see Rosanne and her husband, the uber talented John Leventhal, perform live at The Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA in November. Even more, I’m fortunate to have a slight little Twitter friendship with the artist and thus, had the chance to visit with her for a few minutes backstage after the show. She was gracious, funny, down to earth, and… yes… looked like a million bucks. She signed my copy of her memoir, “Composed,” posed for a picture, and shared a few hugs.

me with our well-pressed singing-songwriting hero

When I got back to the hotel after the show, I downloaded the pictures to my laptop and was shockingly pleased to see that Rosanne and I share not only good taste in music (because I have to assume she likes her own work), but in the lost art of … IRONING! Lo and behold, on the table behind her, was an iron. I asked her about it via Twitter later and she admitted that she did indeed iron both her outfit and her husband’s shirt before the show. Be still my heart! She writes, she sings, she cracks witty and intelligent jokes, AND she irons.

I iron every morning. Well, not EVERY morning, but just about. I iron whatever it is I’m going to wear for work that day. I iron whatever I might wear out to dinner or some other entertaining event. For those few occasions each year that I travel for work, I used to pull out all the clothes I chose to wear and carefully ironed and folded each item before packing it in my suitcase. Eventually though, I was told by a colleague with a look of bewilderment on her face as I unpacked, “You do know that hotel rooms have irons, don’t you?”

I confess that I did not, but even now that I do, it’s with reluctance that I pack my clothes pre-pressed (as in, not pressed yet). I just don’t trust those hotel irons. Or the hotel ironing boards. They inevitably dribble water all over everything or they’ll leave some odd mark across the only white dress shirt you’ve packed. They cannot be trusted. And I cannot be wrinkled.

The other day I saw an advertisement for surely what must be the most disturbing invention in clothing ever designed; quite possibly in the top 5 of disturbing inventions of all time. It was for an item called the “Forever Lazy,”  an adult-sized onesy for grown-ups who have evidently not. Grown up, that is. It’s a gigantic cocoon, complete with a zippered trap drawer so you can pee without taking it off. Now granted, one-piece union suits have been around a long time for guys (and women) working outdoors, but this thing is for anything but work. Hell’s bells, it’s called “Forever Lazy”!

My point with this ramble from Rosanne to long johns is this, there is something to be said, still, even in this day of lazy-ass sloppy dress, for looking like a million bucks. There’s still something to be said for ironing your clothes and making yourself presentable. Yes indeed. For all of my friends who forever harangue me about my concern for neat appearance, this is why: laughter and looks will get you through life.

I will never be in Rosanne Cash’s league in terms of style and grace and beauty, nor will I ever possess Katharine Hepburn’s figure or wardrobe as Bunny Watson in every librarian’s favorite film (or at least favorite librarian on film), “Desk Set,” but I’ll be well-pressed when you see me out in the world. I’ll not be caught in any outfit of the style I outgrew 48 years ago. I’ll not walk down the street in whatever I wore to bed last night. Let’s look neat, people! Pull up your pants! Press your clothes! Let’s recapture what it means to be presentable in public.

My New Year’s wish #2.