When I was staying with Red-haired Niece in Big City Like No Other, we had a couple of quiet evenings on the couch with our laptops — and a television set. Since I don’t normally have access to cable television, I told Red-haired Niece I wanted to see a reality television show that my friends keep telling me about. It’s called, “Clothes You Shouldn’t Wear” or “That Looks Awful on You” or “What not to Buy” or something like that. I can never remember the exact title.
Red-haired Niece obligingly taped a couple episodes of the show. I told her that my friends kept threatening to send my name into the show, and she warned me, “Um, that’s not a compliment.”
Here’s how the show goes: two fashion know-it-alls descend upon an unsuspecting person. They announce to her that they’ve been secretly taking all kinds of unflattering photos of her, which they intend to show on national television. Furthermore, her friends are all in on the secret.
What happens next is truly bizarre. Does Unsuspecting Woman Who Wears Unflattering Clothes get angry at her friends? Does she demand that close-ups of her butt in pink flowered hotpants be deleted forever? Does she throw a temper tantrum and threaten to kill the next photographer who comes near her? No. She acts like she’s happy to see the Fashion Police and would just love to be mocked on a television show. Yes, that’s right. Perfectly normal reaction.
The Fashion Duo ask her to choose her favorite outfits, so that they can make her stand in front of a mirror and mock her. Then they throw most of her clothes away. I think I’d like that part of the deal. I’d have a whole lot more closet space when those two got through with my wardrobe, let me tell you. Then they give Poorly Dressed Woman enough money to feed a whole village of starving people and tell to go buy some new clothes with the money.
Next, Badly Dressed Woman wanders helplessly through stores in Big City Like No Other, knowing she’s not supposed to buy the unfashionable crap she’s been wearing, but acting pretty clueless about what she should buy. She mutters things like, “God, I hate buying clothes.” (This is what makes my friends think I’d be perfect for the part.) The Fashion Duo watch her on a small screen and make snarky comments, sometimes screaming things like, “Oh, no! Why would you even try that on?”
The horrible part is that they make her go shopping ALONE. I mean, really. Who goes shopping all by themselves? Where are her girlfriends? Her sisters? Her mother? No wonder the poor woman can’t remember the rules and is trying on those narrow walking shorts that make her thighs look weird. Come on. Even I know enough not to go into a dressing room alone. It’s like entering a dark alley in the city or swimming in the ocean. It’s dangerous without a friend.
Of course, in the end, Snarky Fashion Duo come to her rescue. Mostly, they offer wide-legged pants to “create a flattering silhouette” for all those times she’s going to be posing on a pier in front of sunset. Then they always add a jacket. These two really like jackets. And they make stupid comments like, “And here are some fun shoes.” Fun shoes? How are shoes supposed to be fun? I mean, unless they're tap shoes or roller skates, it's hard to see what could be fun about footwear.
I almost forgot the best part. She goes off into another room and this guy does stuff to her hair. He doesn’t let her look at what he’s doing, just swirls her away from the mirror and starts cutting away like crazy. Since I hate making decisions about my hair, I think I'd like that part. Except for one thing: he always wants to dye the hair. That means in just a few weeks, the poor woman is going to have roots. Then her friends will send her name into the show “What Not to do to Your Hair.”