When I learned I would be stuck in a dirty urban desert for a year, restricted to wearing nothing but Army issue garb 24/7, the haute couture junkie in me groaned in despair. How would I be able to keep up with the latest Ann Taylor wraps, model the chicest of Jimmy Choo kitten heels about town, or feel the flow of Roberto Cavalli washed silk over my legs when I was limited to tan, tan, or tan. The choicest accessory allowed here is a leather shoulder holster, sold for exorbitant prices by LNs at the camp junk store. I have been fortunate to get a bit of my monthly fashion fix when my mother forwards the bible of all Fifth Avenue Bergdorf Blondes, Vogue Magazine. I devour the hundred or so pages of photos, gossip and ads, and drink in the color which my life so desperately lacks here in sandy country.
(Vogue was the cause of a hilarious verbal gaff last year which I have yet to live down. My legal team was armed, packed up, geared up and mounted up in our humvees ready to convoy out to a 14 day field exercise when my paralegal/driver mentioned that he had forgotten to bring magazines. Being a bit new to the whole going to the field thing, I reassured him that I have got Vogue and would (jokingly) be happy to share it with him. He looked at me like I had just sprouted aliens from my nose and said politely, Maam, I meant ammunition magazines for the M9 pistols. Well, needless to say, the legal office slogan for the rest of the field exercise was I have Vogue! which the team also felt obligated to inscribe on the JAG announcement board in our corner of the field office.)
Part of my job as a lawyer in the sandy place takes me to the different company offices around our encampment. Each company office, or orderly room has a different atmosphere, depending on the temperament of the company commander and the mission of the company. Some bustle with constant activity, some are a bit quieter with the TV being the main source of stimulation.
It was one of these orderly rooms that gave me the laugh of the week. The company (or battery as they are sometimes called) was one of my all male, testosterone filled artillery units. The slogan for certain of these units is Big Guns Go Deep so you can imagine how my interactions usually go, generally filled with lots of grunting and gems of questions such as what do you mean we can not flog the soldier naked in front of his entire team for being late to PT?
As I entered into the office, I noticed all the soldiers working in the office were seated at their desks, quiet as mice, eyes glued to the television. Broadcasting is perfect color and cable clarity was none other than the Orbit Fashion Channel. A European-accented, most definitely effeminate male voice was extolling the latest delightful creations strolling down the runway during Paris Haute Couture Week. Phrases I have never heard anywhere close to an Army office such as Delicious Lavin hammer sequins, Bold and fresh Zac Posen tribal prints and Daring Michael Kors ruffled sea chiffon skirt rolled off the silky tongue of the announcer and fell upon my amusedly shocked ears. Forgetting whatever legal action I had come to consult the commander about, I plopped myself down in the nearest chair and installed myself in the office for the next half hour while models flounced their way down the runway, air kissed designers and squealed with delight at the latest Chanel beaded metallic strappy heeled sandals. I sighed with contentment at the sight of gorgeous wispy Prada tops and patterned Marc by Marc Jacobs skirts.
After the segment on the Paris Fashion Week, I came to understand exactly why the Fashion Channel was playing in this all male dominion of big guns. Now flashing across the screen in all of its 32 inches of color and vive was the Victorias Secret Tour Across America Show. Models in Vickys finest bounced through public appearances, hugging, giggling and bursting forth with such pearls of wisdom as I am studying to be a veterinarian because I just LOVE children! I learned that the favorite fashion segments involved Brazilian clothes, not because of the plucky cleverness of bias cut satin, but because when the models present the latest in wide-legged military style button trousers, frequently, all they wear is, well, trousers.
Honestly, I could care less about motive. I was just delighted to learn about a refuge from tan, tan, tan. The commander offered me my own desk in the orderly room, so in exchange for my personal attention to all battery legal actions, I get to watch the fashion channel to my hearts content. Even my husband will not let me have such a generous offer; at home he keeps hiding the remote whenever the TV finds its way to the Style Channel.