I got one of the best emails ever yesterday from a reader who basically said, "Hi. I like your writing. Do you want to go see Madonna with me and my friends? I have three extra tickets, and they're yours if you want them."
Um, YES please. Also? I LOVE YOU.
I'm a huge Madonna fan. My last story I wrote for The Post was actually about Madonna, and I did what I sometimes like to do: go on a total journalism research bender, renting every movie she'd ever been in, watching the "Truth or Dare" documentary, reaching out to her brother on Facebook, and basically trying to soak up every last kernel of Madonna truth there might be to see if the answer to everything was actually not "42" but rather "I made it through the wilderness."
Madonna is a genius. A provocateur genius. And what gift of fashion did I decide to give her as a patron going to see her tonight, as someone who has loved her since I was a little girl and used to sing "Like a Virgin" with all my friends and wore jelly bracelets up and down my arms as fiercely as any other poseur 13 year old in the 1980s?
I dressed like garbage.
Today is my second day working with Emily in the office. This wasn't supposed to be the case. One of the days I was supposed to be here was my welcome lunch, but I kind of overslept that, which is now ranked in my Top 5 Most Mortifying Job Moments of My Life, so I wasn't there with Emily and Jane while the boss was double-fisting beverages. I moved here from San Diego in a rush, and as a consequence don't really have clothes here (or alarm clocks) or too many possessions (except for my newly acquired big honking Jesus picture which just somehow felt right), so this morning I looked at my wardrobe and my decision-making process went something like this: "What doesn't smell? What will not give me a yeast infection? What can I put on to communicate that I actually so don't care about fashion that I am now somehow able to transcend fashion and thereby be the most knowledgeable person about fashion ever?" And this is what I settled on.
Knee-length jeans. A blue v-neck shirt. Flats. And a brown hoodie. WITH FLEECE ON THE INSIDE. (Because it's 2 degrees inside these offices.)
"Look at you," Emily said to me this morning, dressed like she was straight out of a reality show about beautiful punk rock princesses and an ad campaign for perfectly coiffed and colored hair and transgressive make-up and third-wave-feminist awesomeness. "What are you even wearing?"
Then I told her that I had not yet sent in my benefits paperwork (because that I thought really summed up my fashion statement, too), and she said how unfortunate that would be if I got my throat slit right as I was about to hit the "send" button on my fax to send in my health insurance.
Then I told her a sex story and then another sex story and then another sex story and then Emily said, "I bet we would have had some really fun threesomes together back when we were both active. We would have like double-teamed a dude for coke." Then I tweeted that. Then she added, "Although we never would have had a threeway if you were wearing that garbage outfit." Pause. "Yes, we would have." Then she decided that I should do a post about being dressed like garbage.
And that's where we are right now.
"You're wearing a garbage outfit, Mandy," she said. (We both have what I like to call "read-the-room-dar," so she knows I can take it. There is little if anything that offends us -- unless you say we are ugly or something. Oh speaking of that, I still haven't seen the last two episodes of "Breaking Bad," and I said yesterday that I was afraid it was going to be really hard to watch, and that everyone would get killed and murdered and then be eaten cannibalistically and then the world would end and then someone would get on the screen and say, "You're not pretty, Mandy." The finale no one expected!)
So I told Emily I thought this sounded like a great story for me to do, and then I grabbed a trash can and said with ferocious too-eager-to-please-my-new-office-mates-ness, "OH AND I CAN SIT IN THE TRASH CAN FOR THE PICTURE!"
"Uh, ok," they said. "Yeah, sure. Whatever." (I almost tweeted last night, "Over/under on me having a nervous breakdown?" But then I got too tired, and I fell asleep.) "Sure, yeah you can do that."
And so I did that. And that's how art is born. That's how garbage art about garbage fashion is born, which like math -- like a negative number multiplied by another negative number -- then somehow becomes incredibly high art, and this photograph -- taken by Olivia, who is going to Madonna with me tonight -- was born.
This photo will be worth a million dollars someday.
I need to buy a new outfit. I answered my own headline, OK. Olivia, too, actually. Because as she said, "I like to spend money." So where should we go to buy non-garbage outfits in Midtown or Empire State ville or whatever this neighborhood is called? Fashion District, that's it. I like H&M for quickie dresses, but I feel like their stuff hasn't been as great as it used to be. GAP? Banana? Ricky's? Please for the love of "Lucky Star," help a sister out.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.