Like William Shatner, Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton, I too live with a disorder. I know how it feels to struggle with reality.
Happily, while our disorder can create an incongruous circumstance on occasion, day-to-day it protects us from unpleasant truths.
Let’s call it reverse anorexia. With this condition, in spite of our mirror’s testimony, we persist in thinking we look good.
That’s what tripped me up for my Elvis party - I thought sure I would be the young, sexy Elvis. You know, the one in black leather. Or Jailhouse Rock Elvis in cuffed jeans and a striped T-shirt. Man!
That’s how I’d always pictured myself in spite of the obvious dissimilarities: His black hair, my blonde. His sneer, my lack of lip control. His maleness, my femaleness.
Does this sound weird?
But I thought, what’s the fun of being Priscilla? OK the big hair. That could be fun. So I bought a Snooky wig from the party store conceding Priscilla might be my fallback position.
Her Cleopatra eyeliner could be cool. But past that, what would I wear? Priscilla’s only known wardrobe is a wedding dress! I’d have to get a ‘new’ one at Goodwill because despite how my mirror assures me, my 1990 Battenberg lace is a little snug.
No! I wanted to be Elvis!
And why not?!! I know the lyrics to all his songs. I practiced his moves - the twitching shoulder, the single knee dip and the tippy-toe walk. I wind milled my arm all around the house in anticipation of this shindig. I deserved to be Elvis!
So you can imagine the disappointment, even disbelief. What a slap in the face when I first caught sight of myself in my size large gold lame` suit and jet black wig.
I never dreamed I’d look so pasty. Or boxy. Or genderless.
I so believed I’d look cool. Thank God I could hide behind those giant gold aviator sunglasses.
Why didn’t I try everything on together BEFORE the party?
Why? Reverse Anorexia! I was certain my imaginary self was my real self.
I love my fantasy self even though she’s a deceiver. Her clothes always fit and flatter. She doesn’t need make-up what with her natural beauty. Reverse anorexia may be the best defense mechanism ever clung to by a partygoer or party-thrower like me.
I guess I can take some solace in the fact that pretty much everyone at the party looked ridiculous. But they gave the impression it didn’t bother them. They rather expected it. Evidently, they’d been living in the real world from the start. So when they donned their blue suede shoes, it was all good.
Even my husband, normally reserved and circumspect, joined a cadre of Elvises in white jumpsuits with rhinestones strewn across their shoulders and down their chests - the chests exposed by the jumpsuits’ deep ‘v’ front. They tucked their thumbs into their be-jeweled WWE-style belts, twirled their red scarves while prancing about in white boots. Multiple pseudo-Elvises strode around our living room swinging their capes and saying, “Thankyaverimuch.”
But their wigs didn’t fit either! How were they OK with that?
I had searched the internet in vain for an Elvis impersonator within my price range. Then, when it seemed impossible, I got a referral!
I approached this professional entertainer shyly, saying I was embarrassed to be asking on such short notice. But he won me over with his willingness to appear for a pittance, and his response to my inquiry: “No need to be embarrassed, Miss CaroLynn,” he wrote, keeping in character start to finish, “there’ll be enough time for that during my performance.”
So I was a dubious, but he was amazing! His unabashed channeling of Mrs. Presley’s only son made our party a smash. He took the mic in breakaway costumes and layer after layer he went through a sort of backwards evolution - from a chunky hunka burnin’ love, all the way down to King Creole!
He might not actually be Elvis, but his imaginary self worked it. No apologies. No regrets.
Now that’s my new coping mechanism: How to deal with reverse anorexia and the clash between my mirror and my dreams? Shake it, baby! Shake it!