a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: She Swoons Because It's All About the Clothing

Saturday, April 18, 2009

She Swoons Because It's All About the Clothing

SUMMARY: Agility is coming and we're not prepared. A Facebook experience, confirming that agility is all about the clothing.

I have been intrigued to see that this single Facebook status message and the single follow-up photo have elicited more comments from more people than any other facebook or blog post to date. You guys all have strange appetites. You Facebook fanatics have undoubtedly seen this as it unfolded. But--in the interest of preserving it for posterity (I have only the best interest of history books in mind)--

It all started with my status note on Thursday (compare and contrast to more typical status messages like "Joe Smith...is heading for bed after a wonderful evening with friends," "Jane Doe...loves her new iphone," "Bo Hunk...is leaving for [fill in name of agility trial]" -- all of which are interesting but, like, normal):

Ellen Levy Finch stops suddenly, looks at her calendar aghast, and realizes that she'll be competing in agility in 8 days and neither dog has practiced in a month! She swooons.

The response trail looked more or less like this:

MB: Nice dramatic flair! [polite clapping] I can *almost* imagine you swooning.
TMH: On the divan, of course. In the parlour.
MB: I'll send for the smelling salts!
TMH: LOL! Perfect. I mean--fiddle-dee-dee!
MJ: So, with the whole parlour, smelling salts, etc, scene, I guess this means you'll be wearing a bare shoulder afternoon gown, in Spring shades, with long gloves, and a wide brim sun hat with matching ribbon tie. Oh, and being sensible, Doc Martins during competition. I'd *love* to see pics!
TMH: Sure, I'll send photos of such as soon as I have them.
MJ: Send whatever you end up with, I'll have to see what I can do. *digs through pile of old install disks* Where's that Photoshop?

So I had to dig through all my old agility photos to find one of me (lots with just the dogs, but "me" usually shows up as just a fat knee or blurred pointing finger) that I could post in response. Here's what I "found": "Dressed for swooning on the agility field. Prepare the smelling salts!"

And here's the brouhaha (emphasis on haha) it engendered:

KM: Where's the parasol to shade your delicate lap dogs from the sun?
MB: ROFL! How long did that take you to do?
GD: wow...in the agility competitions I have attended, the people are dressed like regular schlubs - polar fleece and/or shorts depending on the time of year...are there different types of competitions with different dress codes?
KM: Victorian agility is big in the Bay Area. If you think Ellen's costume looks good, you should see the dogs!
MB: Those hoop skirts are a b*&^ to run in tho!
AS: Beats wearing an Elizabethan Collar wouldn't you say?
TMH: Yep, we always dress in period costume, a different period for each season. I understand that this summer will be Mongol Horde. We'll have to bring yurts instead of our regular canopies.
TMH: P.S. This is for you, Mike!
TMH: P.P.S. Taken at SP's Workin' Paws!
CS: makes me think of Phil in his pirate costume...or as the Power Flaws girl (?) Kinda miss that guy
TMH: I was trying to find a photo of him to prove the theory that agility is done in costume. Thought I had some, but noooo--
TMH: P.P.P.S. OK, in the REAL reality, it took about 20 minutes in photoshop, I think, including finding a dress photo that's compatible with a photo of me with dog.
GD: Now I'm disappointed. It certainly would add a little flair to the whole thing...imagine some long ribbons in the doggies fur, flapping as they run the course!
SP: Why yes...it is a requirement to dress in period costume if you run a dog at Workin' Paws. Otherwise you can't attend. Thank you Ellen for giving me heads up on the Mongol Horde. I will get that ready!
LR: Love how the dress is the proper TMH colour.
MB: Garth, you have that confused with our rhythmic gymnastics courses, where the dogs and handlers must twirl a ribbon while running. Totally different from our period-costume-of-the-season courses....Now where did I store that yurt and fur g-string from last season's Mongol festivities?
MJ: Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You know, TMH, maybe we'd attend more events if they WERE costumed! (The audience could vote on best costume, keep themselves amused while judges were doing judgy things.)
TMH: How about if the *audience* comes in costume? Hmm. OK, free admission to all spectators who come in costume from now on!
SY: Yes, very nice dress. I hope you can run in that.
AS: Occasionally, agility people have been known to show up in hippie attire.... and then there was that guy who used to run in a kilt... What ever happened to him?
TMH: He moved back east.
AS: Like Eastern Scotland?
TMH: LOL. Not that far.
TC: And, that wasn't dress-up...it was everyday attire.
Remember the trial (WVDS) when Bill N. and Terry S. dressed in top hat and tails and ran their dog in pairs?
TMH: Wasn't there! Sounds lovely.
TMH: Yeah, EB has several kilts.
EC: So how are the photoshop lessons going?
TMH: [some noncommittal reply]
MJ: Several kilts make sense if:
(1) you've got a pile of money - they're $500+;
(2) you need the "dress" tartan for evening, in-town occasions;
(3) you need a "hunting" version for country, day wear, or a trip to the pub;
(4) you need your old one as a loaner for all your friends who don't have one and might, I repeat *might,* be persuaded to try ... Read Moreone, if it were free, arm twisting were employed by their significant whatevers, and everyone in earshot promised to surrender their cameras. (Pics will be taken, of course, and posted immediately!)
Dave: Woah...I have the exact same agility outfit. Good thing we didn't wear them at the same time...THAT would have been embarrassing.
TMH: Dave, The *first* thing that popped into my head when I saw that dress was, "Whoa, that is like so TOTALLY Dave's style!" but I just crossed my fingers and hoped that you hadn't already found it.
TMH: Mike, Of course we're talking modern-man kilts: all-black, all-tan, nice washable materials for mucking around with dogs or attending dinner parties. I know I have a photo around here somewhere...grumble grumble... OK, I'll look for it more some other time.

So that's how it stands as of 11:00 this morning. I am now desperately in search of:
* Photo of EB in his agility or evening kilt (I do have the latter--must be in my archives somewhere).
* Photo of Phil in any of his--uh--unusual agility outfits (I've seen photos but don't remember whether they're mine--more searching necessary).
* Photo of Bill N & Terry S in tops & tails doing agility.
* Like that.

Remember: Agility is all about the clothing. Really.


  1. I think a Wonder Woman outfit would be fabulous for agility. At the very least we should all be running in tiaras.

  2. Oh, man, I don't even OWN a tiara! I'll get right on it.