• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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This Is Not My Beautiful Wife

Tomorrow, I am driving two hours to Wayne, NJ. Apparently, there is a class of writing students who have all read my book at William Patterson University. I am deeply flattered by this and felt I had to accept the invitation. I hope they know what they are getting into. I told my daughter about it and she asked the one and only relevant question: what was I going to wear. I’d write a better post if I had time, but I now have to ransack my closet in some pantomime of looking for something to wear. Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes. Quick true or false: writers are generally crappy dressers.

This?

Or this?

27 Responses

  1. As a self-professed intellectual rebel/pragmatic prude, I vote wear the first outfit under the second! I’ve always heard it’s the underwear that makes you feel “good” anyway.

  2. Rule of thumb I’ve noted from looking at authors’ pics: the further away from literary fiction you get: i.e. the more commercial the work, and predictable the plot, the more stylized and pretentious the makeup, clothes, jewelry, expression and pose of the author.

  3. If I had the abs, I would definitely go with number one. I would stand in front of that class and say something like “writing is good, but awesome abs are better.” And those poor students would think I was kidding….

  4. Number one, but only if you have a navel ring.

  5. True or false? Talk about rhetorical questions.

  6. I am so crashing this class. You’re in my neighborhood now! And I vote or number one…with number two’s pearls.

  7. I say mix it up. If there is anything writers are known for it’s their eccentric offbeat nature (Normal wouldn’t come close to attaining the level of patience and imagination writing needs to succeed.)

    Then again, you don’t want to alienate yourself altogether from them either. College? Destroyed jeans would fit right in. (Hugs)Indigo

  8. Oh my GOD, number TWO, no question. People, PLEASE. That is COCO CHANEL. Did number one come from a Walmart catalogue? (In answer to your other question, true, writers are generally crappy dressers, but that doesn’t preclude them from judging the sartorial choices of others. Harshly.)

    Plus, if you wear number two, you get to accessorize with a cigarette.

  9. I’m dressed from head to toe in Target so I guess I’m not too chic or Bohemian…But…I do love my wide-legged stretch khakis and purple cotton sweater. Just add, say, large gold-loop earrings and a funky necklace and voila–a writer…

  10. I think that there are so many types of writers that they reflect the full spectrum of sartorial possibility. So there are the writers who look like they have made no effort whatsoever to adhere to a personal style (or any style), and those who are terribly chic. Most of the writers I know dress in a purposeful way – a way that is distinctly their own – whether or not that may be deemed crappy by others.

  11. OMG this so weird. I have been invited to speak at my first ever sales conference in two weeks and the first thng my friends said was, “so Joycie, what are you going to wear.” Yeah, I’m a crappy dresser. Writers are just weird that way I suppose. So my freind is taking me shopping. Vintage 40s she said. Okay, fine as long as I can wear my Chucks.

  12. I don’t know if it’s true or false that writers are generally crappy dressers, but I always feel more confident if my daughter approves of what I’m wearing. Or if I can manage to leave the house without her seeing what I’m wearing…

  13. Is it that we can’t put a snappy outfit together, or is it that we just don’t care?

    Yesterday, I went to my part-time job at a web magazine wearing jeans, an E.T. T-shirt and a blazer. My former, corporate-type boss would have a heart attack but, in the small press world, this is what passes for hip. 🙂

  14. When I was coming to New York to meet my agent for the first time (yes, Henry) and was dithering to death over my clothes, my 13-year-old daughter rolled her eyes and said, “Mommy, no one expects writers to look good.”

    Which was sort of freeing. I think…

    That being said, my book launch is coming up next week, and I’m all, who am I? what do I want to project? If I look too good, will I look dumb? If I look too frumpy will I look, well, frumpy? Maybe dress up for these things, but wear my glasses to be the Instant Intellectual? Hell, I don’t know.

  15. I’m sure whatever you threw together was FABULOUS, as long as you wore that hat. (You did wear the hat, didn’t you?)

    If visits to the office weren’t required, I often wouldn’t get dressed at all. Or, God forbid, bother with painting my face.

    Who cares, most of the time? Except for my mother, who cares all of the time. Sometimes she eyes me with a sigh, and refers to me as her Amish daughter. I’m nearly certain she’s alluding to my natural beauty.

  16. I can be honest in admitting that my first reaction to Toni Morrison’s continued use of the shoulder pad was to watch “Baby Boom”…I myself like to leave them wondering. Was that intentional? Is she medicated?

    Just kidding, I dress great.

  17. In my daydreams I dress like a beatnik (beret included) for book signings, speeches, and when I’m on Oprah. If my MS ever got published and people actually wanted me to talk I think I would dress like a beatnik. I should buy a beret just in case.

  18. I’d definitely go for the Dorothy Parker look. You have to give these kids something to aspire to.

  19. All of my creativity gets sucked into my writing, leaving my clothes choices fairly…boring. Today? I’m wearing black slacks, black flats, and a black, knit, scoop neck blouse. (I’m sorting newspapers today, so I played it safe.) No black lipstick though, in case you were wondering.

  20. Dress like you’ve got a pair.

  21. Wear a Mercedes and a really great pair of shoes.

  22. I drove past Wayne on my way to visit my niece at college today, and hopefully you weren’t heading anywhere near all the flooding!

  23. go for sexy librarian.

    with heels.

  24. You’ve been working out, Betsy, so show them what you’ve got.

    And tomorrow is the deadline for the pages and pounds goals we all set, is it not?

  25. Aren’t writers all supposed to look like we just woke up moss-covered in a library somewhere, maybe in a tweedy suit with elbow pads?

    Barring that, last week I was at the post office and there was a elderly man in line in front of me wearing a beret with a red pom pom on top. Distract the students with a pom pom.

  26. True. For sure. Which sets the bar low, so I breath a sign of relief.

    For me, it’s all about having friends with great visual aesthetics. It helps being a homo. I do not allow myself into a store without a gayguy or a fashionable girlfriend.

    I think I actually have some good instincts, but they need honing, guidance and EDITING! haha. Like everything with me.

    But I am completely clueless on shoes. I never look down there, so I have no idea what people are even wearing below their knees. I would not know where to start at a shoe store. It’s the one store where I don’t even try starting with the things I like, I just have my adviser hand me things, and explain them.

  27. I write, and am told i write well, but I am also very vain. I find I write better when I feel put together- a flattering peasant skirt with a jewel toned tank top and a jersey wrap, for instance, or jeans with a swiss dot blouse and a little cropped khaki jacket. If I get up, put together an outfit and slick on a little make-up, I settle more easily into work. I take the day more seriously than if I stay in flannel pants or boxers.
    Are writers known for bad fashion ’cause writing is a solitary pursuit? Or is there a certain amount of pride in being unfashionable? Knowing how to use eschew properly in a sentence and eshewing such plebian pursuits as choosing pants that fit and flatter? Is it a holdover from high school, when I suspect many of us telegraphed our smarts and seriousness by being deliberately unfashionable?

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