The last time I was behind the wheel of a car for more than the four minutes and ten seconds it takes me to make the three right turns from my parents house to the gym was sometime back in the mid '90s.
In fact, if you were to add up all the mileage I've amassed from the time I was 16 until the present, I'd wager it would fall just short of some of my colleagues' 90 minute one-way work commutes.
To be clear, my refusal to drive is not borne out of some sort of bourgeoisie idea that I need or deserve to be driven but rather the very real fear I have of making stupid snap decisions with two tons of potentially repercussive steel, glass and other such automobile-ish bits ready to punish whomever happened to be on the road with me that day.
But just because I don't drive doesn't mean I can't appreciate cars in the aesthetic sense or that I can't use them metaphorically to drive home the more ASJiNE-related point at which I will now finally arrive.
Until last week when I had a life-changing epiphany courtesy of 'Jeopardy!', I had always considered there to be two primary camps when it came to women and style:
the Volvo group
In short, there are overt demonstrators of opulence and then there are those who choose a more understated approach.
"Lamborghini women" tote multiple pieces of Louis Vuitton emblazoned luggage and as many other conspicuously expensive items they can fit into a single outfit. These are the woman whose desired "look" is so loudly designer-driven that even if you tried to ignore their clothing and accessories' logos and distinctly-tied-to-a-brand decorative detailings (if you or someone you know owns a Coach bag and consciously decides not to remove the function-less "dogtags," you know what I'm talking about), you'd still walk away thinking, "Wow, she's got money":
And then there are the other kind - my kind - to whom I like to refer as, "Volvo women." Members of this group carry themselves with a quieter luxe that may very well include Gucci separates and Louboutin heels, but unless you're of the fashion-obsessed ilk that spends the better part of the day memorizing the subtle differences between the wares of brands X and Y, most would never know a simple black ensemble like this one below cost somewhere in the ballpark of $4,800:
Now back to my epiphany.
As I often do after returning from Monte's first walk of the evening, one day last week I immediately shed my fitted black work uniform and snuggled into a pair of light blue wide-leg sweatpants and an old friend's oversized t-shirt, clicked from the news on E! to 'Jeopardy!' on ABC and began to write up the next day's piece.
Though I keep the volume relatively low so as not to aggravate my sweetbun's eardrums (for serious, everything on that one is "sensitive," my vet claims), I could still hear the contestants' voices as they, one by one, offered Alex some banal two sentence introduction and gave a shout-out to their "wonderful" families. As the third and final "Hello, my name is _____, and I'm from _____," filled the room, I looked up to confirm what I thought I'd just heard -- all three contestants were women.
It was in that moment, out of a rare burst of feminist pride, I decided to set aside my laptop and give the show - more specifically, these three fabulously accomplished women - my full attention.
Maybe it's because I write a blog dedicated to upgrading professional women's appearances, maybe it's because I always have been and most likely always will be someone who can't help but assume the storyline is only as good/bad as the cover, but for whatever reason, at the conclusion of the first round, I had learned nothing aside from the fact that behind the podiums were three ruddy, concealer-free faces, a painfully tight denim blazer atop a burgundy fleece zip-up, two one-size-fits-all ribbed, faded scoopneck sweater tops - one of which was cut low enough to reveal more than a peek of sun-damaged pancake cleavage - and three dingy, unkempt bobs that at the very least could've used a pre-show comb-through.
Hold on, it get's worse.
At the end of the final round, after the third contestant overtook the reigning champion in a sweet bit of clever wagering, my final nightmare was realized when not one, not two but all three women stepped down to the main floor in the same universally-unflattering tapered, pleated, bone-colored, balloon-seat chinos.
It was bad. I mean, even Monte looked up from his Sudoku to let out an "oy vei."
And so, from a gameshow, I came to realize there aren't just two groups of women but in fact three, the last of which I'll call:
I'd include a photo of one such woman, but my fatha' the lawya' says to do so would potentially open me up to a world of problems, so instead, just sneak a peek at most of the women around you as walk home this evening. Just like men who don't seem to get the point that "how r u?" and "c u later" text messages are about as endearing as track-stained underwear, these ladies are *everywhere* in DC. Seek and ye shall find.
As appalled as I was that these women would come dressed more for Fall softball league than an extended national television appearance, the truth is, 'Jeopardy!' is that ideal place where success is exclusively dependent on one's ability to perform. Whether you have a cute face, a fabulous sense of style or a winsome personality is completely irrelevant.
"Saturn women" with serious jobs, take note: 'Jeopardy!' isn't the real world.