Not gonna write up Saturday or Sunday tonight; suffice it to say that I've mostly had a good time this weekend. Made some new friends, reconnected with some old friends, attended various thought-provoking and/or entertaining panels and readings, had some good food.
But for now, just a side note about a particular aspect of tonight.
When I was packing for WisCon, I considered packing my black suit (to wear to the fancy-dress portion of Sunday evening), but then I thought:
- Carrying the suit (in my garment bag) is a pain, and adds another bag to check, and so on.
- I've been wearing this suit to pretty much every dress-up event for the past, what, eight years or so? Something like that. And I still like it, and I still rarely get a chance to wear it, and I still get compliments whenever I wear it (esp. with the blue tie and nice shirt and cufflinks) but I think I'm not gonna bring it this time.
So I decided not to dress up on Sunday. But then I thought: hey, Mary Anne gave me a sarong a couple years ago that I've never actually worn, and I could wear a silk shirt in hopes of getting petted, and that would be reasonably fancy. But I don't want to take my dress shoes, so I'll just wear my normal black-and-white Converse sneakers, and it'll be less fancy but kind of fun. And if I decide not to dress up at all, it's not like the silk shirt and sarong take up much space in my luggage.
So that's what I did. And this evening I ironed the sarong, and looked up how to wear one online, and wore the sarong and the silk shirt to the evening's festivities. (Though I may well have gotten the length wrong; I couldn't quite tell how long it was supposed to be, but there was a horizontal seam about halfway up so I decided that was probably the waist.)
I enjoyed the cognitive dissonance: on the one hand, I'm wearing a skirt, so that's kind of a genderfuck thing, which most people at WisCon seem to appreciate, and which I'm a little uncomfortable with doing myself (though I appreciate it in others) but is kind of neat to try every once in a while. But on the other hand, a sarong is actually gender-appropriate clothing--it's just gender-appropriate clothing from another culture, like a kilt only less well-known in the US. So to some people it looked like I was cross-gender-dressing, while to others it looked like I was engaging in cultural appropriation.
Some people said, "Nice skirt!", and I thanked them but smugly (tongue-in-cheek) corrected them, explaining that it was a sarong, and thus manly and not at all girly. And some people said "Nice sarong!" and I thanked them. And one person called out, "Hey, Jed! Nice sarong!" and when I turned to thank her, added, "But you've gotta lose the socks!" I thought about going barefoot, but wasn't thrilled with that idea, and it hadn't occurred to me to bring flats to wear with the outfit, so I just stuck with the cheerfully mixed message of the sarong plus the sneakers and black socks. (And a couple of other people said the shoes really made the outfit, so there you go.)
I did have a moment or two of mental gender weirdness, especially when I was getting dressed and realized I would have no pockets, and I told Karen I might wear my usual waistpack, and she said don't, so I thought about finding a man with pockets to carry my stuff for the evening. :) (The waistpack is an ongoing point of minor contention between me and various others; I find it incredibly useful and exactly what I need in many contexts, but, as I think someone (perhaps Nick M?) pointed out long ago, even a black waistpack is just not as cool as the people who wear them may think. At any rate, it's certainly not dressy; I don't wear it with my suit, for example.) In the end, I just carried my camera and cell phone in my hands all evening, and kept my room key in my shirt pocket.
But for much of the evening, I felt reasonably comfortable in the sarong. It was kind of interesting to realize I couldn't really sit down on the floor in it, but that didn't really get in the way; I just sat in a chair. And the sarong was slightly constricting of motion, but not all that much. And it never started to come undone. But mostly, the part of my brain that's concerned about gender-appropriateness seems to have been convinced that I was wearing male clothing. I found it much less self-consciousness-inducing than the sari a few years back.
I seem to recall that one of the things I found disconcerting about the sari was that my back was exposed, which pretty much never happens in public normally, and made me feel kind of vulnerable. So the fact that I was wearing one of my usual silk shirts with the sarong may've helped me feel more comfortable with it.
Sadly, the silk shirt did not increase petting. (What do you have to do to increase petting around here? In the old days, at parties at home I could wear a silk shirt and everyone would pet me. These days, not so much.) But I did get a nice back rub from Dan. (Which I think I failed to thank you for. Thank you, Dan!)
Various people took photos, I think, so I imagine they'll pop up online sooner or later. If all else fails, I took a self-photo after I got back to my room, so I'll eventually post that.
Anyway. It's nearly 3 a.m., and unlike the past couple nights, I'm wide awake. But I think I'd better go try to get some sleep.
But I wanted to note in passing, entirely unrelated to any of the above, that I saw at least 41 SH fiction authors here this weekend, at least 5 of whom I hadn't met before. We've bought stories from just over 200 authors, so just about exactly 20% of our fiction authors were here. I am pleased.
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