February 25th, 2010


Red Carpet

When I left junior high--I graduated high school at age 15, so junior high was pretty much my high school--my guidance counselor signed my yearbook, because I was just the kind of dork who made friends with all the teachers and wanted them to sign her yearbook. I still remember what she wrote:

My hope for you is that you wear something interesting to the Oscars

You must understand, I was a painfully awkward kid who exhibited a lot of enthusiasm but not a lot of volume control or grace or adeptness with pretty much anything except writing, for 15 year old values of  adept-at-writingness. The idea that a grown-up not only thought that I would somehow, someday, end up at the Oscars, literally her only concern for my future self was that I wear something interesting. To you that might sound odd, but to me that meant: she knows I'm gonna turn out ok. She's so sure of it that her only worry is that I might wear something too conservative when I inevitably go to the biggest event ever. It filled me with confidence and pride, which were in short supply for teenage Cat, I assure you.

Now, as a grown-up girl, I know that it is highly unlikely--though never say never--that I will ever go to the Oscars. I mean, sure, Gaiman gets to go, but he's a superstar and that's what superstars do. And even if I did go someday, the bar for interesting is set so high these days I can't touch it on my tiptoes.

But I've been nominated for a fair number of awards. And they're pretty much all like the Oscars to me. They're not televised, they don't have a red carpet, but they're pretty fabulous all the same.

This fallen world gives us so few opportunities to wear ballgowns and jewels in one's hair, I jump whenever I get the chance. Frankly, I think we should all up the fashion factor at SFF awards--is this the future or isn't it? Glam, baby. Go glam or go home. I loved the mini-red carpet at the Hugos, it was completely awesome. (It actually occured to me this morning that I have this giant "We're really sorry" Expedia credit and could actually go to Australia for Worldcon this year.  Except I promised myself last year that I wouldn't go to any more Worldcons unless I was nominated for the Hugo, as the price is equivalent to about 3-5 local cons and I just can't justify it--and I don't think I've a snowball's chance at the Hugo this year. But it's nice to think I really could go.)

It doesn't have to be space-glam or elf-glam. But I would love to see awards costumes get seriously spangled. When I was little I thought being grown-up was a never-ending parade of glittery dresses and champagne, and part of me still thinks that should be so. I don't think there's very much chance at all that I'll actually win the Norton, but goddamned if I'm not going to be there in my orange brocade dress (oh yeah--thanks to jaborwhalky  for hooking me up) grinning from ear to ear. Clothes matter. They make us feel different, make us enter another space where we can be anything. We tell the world how we want to be seen by the clothes we wear. It's a beautiful and complex system of codes, fashion, and men do it, too, don't you think they don't. The next time a guy says he doesn't care about clothes, offer him a pink shirt and see how fast he starts caring about black. (And yes, I know the anxieties pink signifies--but that only proves my point, that clothes are the letters we write to the world, and they all speak. Loudly.)

So I won't be at the Oscars. But I'll be at the Nebulas, and I'll think about Mrs. Weetman, like I always do. I wore a sparkly dark blue torch singer dress to my first loss at the World Fantasy Awards, a tiered burgundy Victorian thing to the Tiptree ceremony--and I'm gonna be a cleavagey spangled pumpkin-girl at the Nebulas. Hell, I might wear this thing on the beach for the shuttle launch. I hope it counts as interesting. I hope I've done Mrs. Weetman proud.
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