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Saturday, September 27, 2014

What to Wear? What to Wear?

What is acceptable funeral wear? Not mourning colors (talked about here in Paint It Black, re: what to wear when my mother died) This was on my mind yesterday morning as I considered committing hygiene and, ya know, donning the outfit I’d be wearing to Dan’s memorial service.

Had I thought to do it, I could have googled the answer up. Turns out there's a For Dummies post; What to Do, Say, and Wear at Funerals, a wikiHow page and a column at Jezebel to help us etiquette challenged folk.

Looking through my closet and dresser, all my duds are either black or nearly fluorescent tie dye. Sure, I've some different colored T-shirts but I kinda thought it wouldn't be hip to wear my red T with the image of Shakespeare — legend underneath "this shit just writes itself" or my traffic cone orange Marley Davidson and this one, at left, was DEF out (sadly. Oni just got it for me and it even glows in the dark!)

Eventually, I found a compromise. A tasteful black and white tie dye tank, worn with a black sweater and, to mitigate all that darkness, I slipped on that colorful and stunning bracelet that Julie forced me to buy.

Hollywood and old etiquette tells us that black's the thing so, naturally, I want to go in the opposite direction. I'd TOTALLY wear my brightest, most blinding tie dye if I wasn't concerned about possibly, probably offending Dan's family and friends.

When I was in high school a girlfriend was struck by a car and killed. I wore a stunning all white '40s style suit to the funeral. To my adolescent, artsy, everything's-a-deep-deep-metaphor mind this was a beautiful statement about Terri, life and death.

Also too, the Chinese wear white to funerals, right? OK maybe just the sons-in-law.

I never took my coat off. I was the only one there wearing white and figured I'd stand out like a bacon cake at a kosher wedding. I lacked the courage of my convictions — that and I was afraid of becoming even more of a target for the whack job, vile, miscreant, bully boys and girls than I already was.

Offending the family? Eh, that didn't occur to 16 year old me. Doh!

heading home
It's a hard line to walk. I can fly my freak flag, wave the old alt mysticism, honor the dearly departed in the way I feel best illustrates who they were and the connection we shared or I can respect the sensibilities of the majority of other mourners.

Turns out, I needn’t have been concerned. The crowd at Dan’s do (and boyhowdy, the joint was jammed. It was seriously SRO) were more colorful and stylistically wide ranging than I’d expected. There were a number of folks in white. I saw a woman in a bright coral jacket, one in a dark purple tie dyed sheath, another in a bright kelly green patterned wrap around and more.


By the by, the musical selections were brill. There was a dude on guitar who sang Johnny Cash's Why Me Lord, Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah and Woody Guthrie's So Long It's Been Good to Know Yuh.

More awesomeness.