I wrote this, because what I do is write lightweight stories for several newspapers that hopefully distract people for a few minutes from the stresses and horrors of the world around us and balance the sad news. The royal wedding was a fun diversion, and I found Oprah’s fashion decision to be interesting – so I wrote about it.
After this story was posted on AL.com’s online site, the anonymous readers there took to punching me for being a terrible writer because I praised Oprah, and called Oprah every horrible name on the earth.
I don’t agree with everything Oprah says or does, but in this situation, I thought she made a classy decision, and I loved it.
However, fat shaming in the meanest of ways began, and I was stunned at the venom by the anonymous commenters. I finally made the point to them that somehow, people think Beyonce and the Kardashians are marvelous for squeezing their ample bodies into tight clothing because that somehow means they are proud of themselves and love their bodies, yet when a woman like Oprah, who is over 50 years old wears similar clothing, she’s “disgusting.” Shame on anonymous commenters for not understanding there is something seriously wrong with them for being so hateful. Shame on them for not being able to lighten up for a few moments of the day and enjoy something fun. Shame on them for not being able to find the main idea of a story (and probably failing to achieve a decent score on the reading comprehension section of the ACT). This story wasn’t about a woman’s weight. The public just loves to bash women, and the sad thing is, I’m guessing most of the commenters were women themselves. And, I seriously doubt any of them have perfect bodies.
But something hit a positive chord with someone, because the story has been shared over 1,600 times so far . . . so there.
The talk at Bee Bee’s Beauty Barn is that our powerhouse Southern Belle, Oprah Winfrey, represented us well at the wedding of Prince Harry to American Meghan Markle. According to her best friend Gayle King, Oprah ordered a tan dress to wear to the royal wedding, but when it arrived, the Mississippi native determined the shade was too light and could possibly be misinterpreted as white. Being from the South, Oprah was raised to know the only one who should wear white to a wedding, is the one carrying the largest bouquet and receiving a kiss and a ring at the altar.
By contrast, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, sparked controversy by showing up for the nuptials in what appeared to be a white dress. Officially, Kate’s outfit was reportedly a pale yellow, but it was an edgy risk Southerners would have known to avoid for fear of being discussed, as well as being whopped with their mama’s scorn.
Scrambling for a new outfit at the last minute, Oprah ended up looking radiant and appropriate in a new pink tiered skirted dress with matching hat. Although I am a firm fan of Duchess Kate, I have to admit, she blew it when it came to her dress’ color choice. If only she had been raised on grits and fried catfish like Oprah, she would have understood the importance our fashion details play in ceremonies.
We don’t show up for weddings in white. Nor do we attend funerals in loud brightly colored prints — even if the deceased has previously instructed us to “celebrate,” which is very confusing for those who still need a proper grief session. Cry? Laugh? Collapse? Dance? It’s all a bit much, and as we were taught in Sunday School, “For everything there is a season. A time for seersucker and a time for wool. A time for white shoes and a time for leather boots, and never a time for flip flops unless salt or chlorine water is near.”
If we receive a grad-made-good award from our alma mater for inventing a new way to cultivate okra, then we know to show up wearing the school colors, but in a subtle way, so as not to scream, “touchdown!” If we attend a veteran’s event, the men will sport a red white and blue tie or at least wear stars and stripes on their socks.
We like to coordinate our fashion choices to the event because it reflects our upbringings where we were surrounded by the beauty of azaleas, magnolias and gardenias in addition to beauty queens and handsome gentlemen. Our mothers set exquisite tables for Sunday dinner, so we continue to expect a level of loveliness and order in all we do.
My aunt Tootles teased her hair in a cloud of Aqua Net then said, “Here honey, do me up.” I zipped up her dark green dress and watched as she prepared to leave for her friend’s funeral. She was sad, but not too sad, according to the color of her dress. Dark green was somber, yet not nearly as sad as black. Tootles loved her dearly departed friend but had never completely forgiven her for stealing her prom date in 1968, who went on to become one of the only non-convicted state senators from their county. Therefore, she went with the green.
These days, it’s difficult to know what to expect at funerals. I like to go with all black if the body is present, but if it’s only a giant photograph of the departed, I feel navy blue or brown is acceptable. But then there’s the problem of trying to figure out ahead of time what the plan is. You can’t call the grieving family and ask, “Is your Paw Paw going to be at his funeral or is he skipping it?” It’s a risk you have to take. Of course, pearls are always appropriate because they represent the bright perfect hope of dancing through the pearly gates.
And one final observation on the royal wedding; the guests managed to sing and respond accordingly without the aid of a glaring overhead screen. God save the Queen indeed — who looked splendid in green.