Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Musings

And so, while trying not to think about anesthesia, my mind wanders:

Why do manufacturers insist on putting little tiny satin bows on women's underwear? [1] As one who is about as likely to own, let alone wear, anything with bows or satin as the Pope is likely to poop in the woods, this raises my blood pressure more than you can imagine each time I bring home a new supply of undergarments. Do they think that perhaps it distinguishes men's underwear from women's? As in some Joe, Dick, or Harry picking up a bra and thinking, "Huh, this bra doesn't have a little satin bow on it—perhaps it's my bra rather than Veronica's? Gee, I'll have to see whether it's my size..."

Or do they think that women aren't smart enough to determine whether clothing is underwear rather than outerwear without the little satin bow? Who knows, perhaps if that bow were suddenly made illegal, there would be a pathetic profusion of women wearing their bikinis and undershirts to the office, baffled as to why their fashion is berated?

What's even worse is how thoroughly attached those little bows are. Underwear can be a shoddy thing, even when one pays a nonshoddy price: The elastic breaks, or comes loose; the seams pop open; the fabric tears in just the wrong spot; but, when the garment is so old and frayed and threadbare that it's barely useful as a rag, by Gods, that little satin bow is still attached. I've spent countless hours cursing and fuming, trying to remove those tiny irritants from new purchases. I don't know why it bothers me so much, but it does; I can feel that little satin bow's presence through three layers of clothes like a malevolent spirit, trying to seduce me to the dark side of satin-fabricked, ribbon-bedecked feminine frippery.

But that's not exactly why I called you all here. I really wanted to talk about dog collars. Time was, when you wanted a collar for your dog, you went down to the five and dime (remember five and dimes?), bought a strip of brown leather with a buckle and a loop, put it around your dog's neck, and forgot about it until it eventually got so encrusted with mud and last year's fur that it couldn't be saved with even the most enthused scrubbing, and then you kept using it anyway because, after all, it's just a dog collar.

NOW you can go down to the dog store and there are dozens of styles and hundreds of colors. I've always tried to get nylon collars in gorgeous colors that (a) I like and (b) complement my dog's colors. Or, if there's enough (a), who cares about (b), really, it's just a dog collar and they're not looking in a mirror any time soon. Besides, the fur of half my dogs has been long enough that it completely hides the collar anyway and the only time I see it is when I take it off.

However, when you can see it, the color fades so rapidly that you might as well have just gotten a plain leather collar; it would look better even in its coat of felted dog fur after a couple of years. Besides, I'm not really a solid-color kind of person; you could tell that if you examined the sheets in my linen closet. I like patterns, the more intricate, the better. But, and here's where I prove that I really don't ramble quite as far afield as you might think, why do manufacturers think that dog collars can only have stereotypical dog designs? If I see another collar with bones or little puppies on it, I think I'll bark.

Do they think that dogs won't wear a collar if it doesn't have little bones on it? Omigod, they'll think, that collar has mice on it—obviously it's a cat collar and my mom has gone crazy and I refuse to wear that thing! For that matter, why don't they have pictures of cats on dog collars? If they're trying to appeal to the dogs' hobbies and extracirricular activities, I can't think of anything that Tika, for example, is more thrilled about than seeing a cat or two outside the window.

How about fresh fruit? Jake used to walk an extra mile for a banana. He once broke into Jim's gym bag to get at one. But do you ever see dog collars with bananas? No, it's little white bones. And think about it, it's not the little white bones that dogs really like anyway; it's the big malshaped juicy brownish ones with tendrils of flesh still attached. You don't see that on dog collars.

Oh, sometimes you can find collars with pictures of a specific dog breed instead of little wussy bones.[2] But you know that there are probably 700 or more breeds of dogs that at least SOMEONE can identify as a breed out there in the world—so, really do you think you can find a collar with, say, Mudhol Hound pictures? And what if you have a Remington or Amber or Jake or Tika, who really don't look like any of those 700 dang breeds, much to one's dismay?

There are also really gorgeous sparkly dog collars, covered with rhinestones—as long as your dog doesn't weigh more than 10 and a half pounds. You don't think Tika would love to wear one of those as she throws herself at the window trying to get the cat's attention?

I say, let's see more little satin bows on those dog collars! And marching rows of tiny white bones on women's underwear! The world would be a better place.

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