Thursday, February 01, 2007

Going Beasley

When I was a small child of two, I had a Mrs. Beasley doll. This toy was mass-produced by Mattel following the popularity of a 60s sit-com called "A Family Affair" in which one of the child characters loved and confided in a doll named Mrs. Beasley.

I, too, loved Mrs. Beasley--so much so I wanted to be her. I took to wearing the plastic Beasley-esque glasses from my Mr. Potato Head set and would fake-hobble around the house, a quilt draped around my head and shoulders, pretending to be an old woman. I squinted, feigned being hard of hearing, and made my voice feeble and shrill. I insisted on going out in public like this, undeterred by even Atlanta's July heat, much to my mother's embarrassment. She pleaded with me to ditch the Beasley guise, which only made me cling to it more. Other little girls pretended they were princesses, unicorns, Nadia Comaneci. I channeled an octogenarian.

Mrs. Beasley remains a family nickname. And between Scott and me it has evolved into a verb, as in "to go Beasley" or to eschew a fashionable/sexy appearance for the comfort of flannel, eye glasses, wool hats, sensible shoes, cotton underwear and the like. It can also be used in the adjective form to describe a bookish, reclusive state marked by general grannyish attire or general lack of concern for one's appearance, as in "you are so Beasley right now."

In the broadest sense, it is a sublime state of retreat from the world.

Since coming to England, I have ascended to a higher plane of Beasley-ness than I ever thought possible and frankly, as a woman of 31, not 81, I think it is cause for alarm. I think it means I need a job in London among fashionable people who wear lipstick and high heeled shoes and meet regularly for happy hour and can still tolerate loud music.

Exhibit One, my outfit today:







Look familiar? Maybe that's because you last saw it on Hyacinth Bucket, of BBC's Keeping Up Appearances (one of my all-time favorites but not to be relied upon for fashion inspiration):


















Bottom line, I am playing a dangerous game. One more wool cardigan and I could reach a point of no return. Somebody pull me back from the brink!

1 comment:

Jim Teacher said...

Outstanding.