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Two maiko performing in Gion.

Image via Wikipedia

I used to tell my friends that when I got older I was going to allow myself to be very eccentric. Well there are some things we can control and others we cannot, eh? I’ve been eccentric my entire life, as have my brother and sister (no matter what they tell you). Undoubtedly YOU are eccentric too.

One doesn’t have to look eccentric to be eccentric. In my family, we are not exotic looking nor do we wear feather boas to the beach. Actually I’m not sure what my sister is up to lately.  We are just different, products of our home life, trials and tribulations, etc. Let’s just say we all have a problem with authority, very wry humor, excellent taste in wine, generous hearts and bad tempers (only if provoked).

I may have mentioned that my 87-year-old neighbor recently gave me 4 kimonos. They belonged to her brother (long dead) who had lived in Japan most of his life. One or two are a bit ragtag, stained and burned with cigarettes or whatever he was smoking. There is a black one that looks so elegant it must have been worn for more formal events. Then there is a pale grey kimono with a lavender colored, geometric design and black collar. This is the one I’ve decided to wear.  No, I don’t go out in it (yet) but I’ve taken to bringing it with me to all the different homes I stay in.

What better place to test out your eccentric super powers then when house sitting? It’s like that favorite dress or jacket you have had for years and are just waiting for the right occasion to wear. Why wait? I’ve a closet full of beautiful clothes and nowhere to wear them – so it’s time. Now when I stroll outside to pick up the paper one will not see me in my fluffy, pink Beverly Hills Hotel robe, I will be in my antique kimono.

The only problem seems to be that the kimono is too big for me so I have to be careful when walking. Those beautiful, long sleeves tend to catch on things like doorknobs – which violently pull you back as if you were about to step in front of a moving train! Obviously back in the day the Japanese had sliding doors in their homes…no need for pesky knobs. I guess I can’t wave my arms around when walking, especially if I have a cup of coffee in my hand.

There are times I feel like a drag queen when wearing my kimono but there isn’t anything wrong with that, is there? It seems to me that drag queens have a certain panache to them, and it usually includes fine clothes made of silk and other soft fabrics. Soft fabrics make you feel…soft. I wouldn’t mind a more traditional Middle Eastern ensemble either. How about a thwab, jellaba, or abaye? Now that’s style.

I haven’t taken to wearing turbans yet but there is still time.

My father used to tell me that when he died he wanted to be put on a funeral pyre in his favorite kimono while Saint Saens played in the background. Can you see where some of my family’s eccentricity comes from? Actually I’ve never seen my father in a kimono so it’s entirely possible he doesn’t have one; and I’m certainly not lending him one of mine if he is just going to burn it.

When I see some women in kimono’s I instantly think of a French mistress being kept in a fabulous apartment in Paris, smoking and drinking while holding an artist salon ala Gertrude Stein. Knowing my personality that role just wouldn’t suit me since artists drive me up the wall and ultimately that character of mistress is just depressing. Unless of course there is a 1966 Alfa GTV involved – then I might reconsider.  But for now I will just parade around in my costumes for the various dogs I care for, and the hidden nanny cam that undoubtedly exists in one of my client’s homes.

Boy, are they in for a show.

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