So says my mother.
Mom has a ratty black cardigan sweater that I have been wanting to replace the last few months. It is her “wubbie” of sorts, a cover-up when the A/C is too cold or the heat is not warm enough. It is also in a condition that Goodwill would consider ripe for the “no” bin. This black sweater is full of pills and pulls, linty pieces of Idontknowwhat and a hole big enough for a child’s hand to investigate. Yet, she seems attached to it.
The last few weeks, I have been searching online and in the stores for a replacement cardigan sweater. It hasn’t been easy because 1) the stores are packed with spring and summer merchandise, 2) manufacturers don’t seem to understand the concept of a simple, button-front cardigan sweater, and 3) the manufacturers that do understand the concept want to charge high prices for their understanding. In going through the web pages of what is considered passable for a cardigan sweater, I found 1) items that would look good on a slim 20-year-old, 2) sweaters that wouldn’t look good on anyone, and 3) cardigans that are so flimsy they would not keep a hot-flashing, 50-year-old woman warm.
On Saturday, though, I got lucky. I found a black, spring cardigan sweater hanging in a far corner of the ladies’ department at Kohl’s. They also had one in a pretty “opal blue.” The price was right. I grabbed both of them in what I hoped would be the appropriate size and felt a sense of accomplishment.
On Sunday afternoon, I went to see mom and to present her with the two sweaters and a spring shirt that I had also purchased at a different store. I was excited to see if everything fit and met with a certain someone’s approval. I pulled out the black sweater first.
“What color is THAT?” were the first words across mom’s lips.
“Black,” was my reply.
“Black? I HATE black. Black is for dead people.”
“Ummm…mom…I wear black and I’m not dead.”
“You wear black?”
“Yes, mom, lots of black.”
She had a look of disbelief and disdain.
“Black doesn’t look good next to my face.”
I looked at mom, with the black sweater wrapped around her shoulders and buttoned at the top, and didn’t come to the same conclusion. I tried to tell her she looked fine, but mom would have none of it.
“Take it back. I don’t want a black sweater.”
“Ummm…mom…you are wearing a black sweater.”
“I only use it to cover up. I don’t go out in it.”
Yes, she does. Go out in it.
This go-around with a black sweater reminded me of a time, long ago, when mom and I were out shopping together. I selected a black dress off a rack at an unremembered store in the mall. Mom immediately frowned and asked me why I wanted a black dress.
“You need color next to your face!”
“But mom, black is sexy.”
“Mom, black is sexy. I love black.”
She laughed again.
I was not amused by her non-support, although she failed to mention anything about dead people at that time. For that, I was thankful. I also spent many years after that rebelling against mom’s disgust of black next to her face or mine. I still love black, I wear it often. I have black coats, black pants, black tops, black dresses, black sweaters, black shoes, and black socks. I was at my prime during the Biker Chick years when black was the expected color of fashion. I have to admit, though, that I often mix the black with bright colors because I have this dang voice in my head.
“You need color next to your face!”
Anyhow, getting back to the two sweaters and shirt I bought for mom. Both sweaters have to be returned because she needs one size bigger (mom liked the opal blue, so I’ll be reordering online with my 30% off coupon), but the shirt fit.
Mom asked the size of the shirt and I told her.
“What? So big?”
“Mom, that’s the size of your other shirts.”
“Really? You better check.”
Yes, it’s the correct size.
Mom had another look of disdain and it didn’t have anything to do with the color black.
I fully expect mom to shove her Starlight mints back at me this coming Saturday and declare that she needs to lose weight. This will be after we go out for her brandy manhattan and a lunch plate full of food.
Rest assured, mom will not be wearing black.
She hates black.
Black is for dead people, after all.