A Major Dilemma

Next week I speak at the TEDWomen 2018 conference in Palm Springs, California.  My talk is done and memorized to the point of boredom.  Tickets have been purchased, rooms booked, and prayers requested.  Only one thing remains.  What to wear?

When I did my TEDxMileHigh talk last winter I wore a pair of Old Navy Jeans and a red sweater to one of the rehearsals.  The curator said, “Yes, that!”  I paired it with a scarf Jen Jepsen got for me at one of her favorite shops in Gunnison.  I added my red Tieks (okay, it is possible I am addicted to Tieks) and that was it.  Nice and simple, like a Colorado female.

This time I’m not speaking in Denver.  I’m speaking in California.  And this isn’t TEDx, wonderful as TEDxMileHigh is.  This is TED, the mother ship.

I gave StitchFix a chance to choose an outfit for me, but I think my first stylist was 16 or couldn’t read or something, because all five pieces were the exact opposite of what I requested.  So I wrote a little note to the folks at StitchFix telling them how they’d blown an opportunity to be prominent at TEDWomen, and they promptly sent another fix.  The stuff looked nice, but didn’t fit.

So I booked an hour with a personal shopper at Nordstrom.  She had watched my TEDx video, so she knew what I was looking for.  Unfortunately, nothing fit.  Which was probably a good thing, because everything cost at least a half million dollars.  (I used to buy stuff at Nordstrom, back when I made money.  I forgot how good their cashmere feels.)

This evening, Cathy has agreed to go shopping with me.  Since we split up, we have both agreed that if any kind of major problem occurs, we’ll be there for each other.  Finding an outfit for TED is a major problem, demanding that she drop all other responsibilities, like counseling people in crisis, to deal with my crisis.  I mean, finding an outfit for TEDWomen is pretty much an existential crisis.

I am speaking at TED with my son, Jonathan.  He already has his outfit, a blue shirt and dark blue jeans.  Today he called and said Jubi suggested that maybe he should wear a sport coat.  He said he thought he’d wear his black one.  I reminded him that the camera does not like black, or white, or tight patterns. He said, “Forget the jacket, then.”  Jonathan can say that, because no one cares what a man wears at TED.

Last winter I did a little experiment.  I had a friend look through YouTube comments of four speakers from past TEDxMileHigh events.  Two were men and two were women.  One of the men wore a light tan sport coat and an un-tucked light blue shirt.  The shirt was kinda wrinkled.  The other wore a blue shirt that was one or two (or five) sizes too large.  There was not a single comment about what either man looked like.  On the other hand, fifteen percent of the comments about the two women were about the way we looked.  I never did look at the comments.  I’m not stupid.

Which brings me back to next week.  I’m really tempted to go with an Old Navy sweater I bought on closeout at the end of last winter for $12.99.  (I could have bought 30 of those for the cost of one sweater I tried on at Nordstrom today. Did I mention their cashmere is really nice?)  I’ll pair it with some dark skinny jeans and a pair of my Tieks and call it a day.  Or not.  I mean, it is TED.

There are a few people out there who insist transgender people choose “this lifestyle.”  Yeah, well, if I chose “this lifestyle”, then Donald Trump is the smartest president our nation has ever known.

And so it goes.

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