By Tricia Petrinovich
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so here goes: I have a problem.
I am obsessed.
It might not sound dangerous or even particularly problematic, but it can lead to sinister outcomes, I promise you. I can be across a crowded room when my bow-tennae start to tingle, the electro-bownetic pulse (EBP) amplifies and subsequently sets off my bow-nar. (Er, that might have come out wrong.)
The pull of the force is impossible to fight and I am drawn against my will to another woman’s headband, skirt or sassy pumps, implicitly aware that I am a pawn in the game the bows play at my expense. An unwilling role in their drama, where I am the stooge.
They mock me.
I try to harness some inner power – an antibowte – so I can avoid a social disaster. Like de-shoeing the woman and running for the door.
This is where I try to administer self-therapy and assess: What is the power of the bow? Or at least its power over me?
It really comes down to one thing: Adorability.
I don’t know if that was a word before I just typed it, but it is now.
A bow turns a plain headband into what? An adorable headband.
A bow turns a boring black purse into what? An adorable black purse.
I don’t even consider this subjective speculation. I am marking it down as scientific, objective fact. Water cooled to 32ºF freezes. Red blood cells carry oxygen through the body. Bows added to drab, commonplace red pumps makes them adorable.
My intention (if I were handier with needle and thread or even duct tape) would be to de-bowify my favorite adorable articles in order to provide before-and-after proof. Alas, I am even glue-gun challenged, which is like calling myself an idiot.
So I will leave the bows on my items intact, and just use words and pictures to try to convince you (which may not refute the idiot factor, but I do wield them as if I know what I am doing).
I am sure it goes without saying that over the years I have garnered quite the collection of bow-cessories, including items for the hair, body, feet and fingers. And quality doesn’t always matter. I have a $5 ring from Forever 21 and a much-more-than-$5 diamond necklace from Nordstrom fine jewelry. The call of the bow is no respecter of cost, or even worth. It just calls.
And because I love bows on anything and everything, I have long admitted to this secret shame: I would probably wear a wrestling unitard if you put a bow on it.
Believe it or not, even I (who, just like the bow itself, could be called a little bit loopy) know that wearing them all at once would be a fashion bow-no. So I work to limit the effect to two, no more than three, bows in a single wearing. (Non-visible bows, such as those on undergarments, do not count.)
That leads me to my top bow-two go-to’s that I like to pair:
A purse and a skirt. Really, this is as loud as you want to be in bow-dazzling yourself, because skirt and purse bows are quite large (as opposed to, say, rings or earrings). Plus, they are carried at about the same eye level assuming your skirt bow is at your waist and you carry your purse on your arm or shoulder (not sure there are any other options). So you are actually shouting your love of bows to the world, while not completely embarrassing yourself.
A jacket and shoes. Here, you are putting a bow near your left pocket, at your waist or on the back of your jacket, with the opposing bow on your foot. It is much more subtle than #1, meaning you are stating that you like bows with your “indoor voice” rather than screaming it at the top of your lungs.
Any two of the following: headband, hair clip, earrings, ring, necklace. This is the “I love bows” sore-throat whisper, although you could suck on a cough drop and add a purse or shoes. (No sense in being too understated.)
In the 1980’s, there was a beauty book by Joanne Wallace that swept through our female church population called Image of Loveliness. It addressed both inner and outer beauty, but one of the things that stuck with me was how you could be arrested for over-accessorizing (I might be fuzzy on some of the repercussions for such a misstep, but it seems to me it was pretty serious).
The point was to be done up without being overdone, because no one likes charred food, sunburns or women who are wearing too many pieces of jewelry. In the same way, while I could bow-dazzle you until you cried “Uncle!” I need to try to be bow proportional so that no one needs to put on aloe vera after seeing me.
I hope you have learned that you can shop your own closet for those feminine and, let’s face it, adorable accessories, and then try to use them sparingly. In the end, the goal is to be adorable yourself, without looking like a four-year old.
May the bow be with you.