how to break in a PVC dress

Last week, a package arrived for me from the UK, containing a shiny new, if somewhat wrinkled, PVC dress. I’d bought it off eBay (link goes to listing with pictures), hoping the size was accurate, because it was less than half the cost it would be in Los Angeles, even with shipping. When I tried it on later that same evening, I found out that the dress fits like it was made for me, with a tight bodice and loose, flowing skirt. The dress actually comes past my ankles, and the lace up back dips low enough to show the tattoo at the base of my spine, and the material itself is heavy PVC, not the light, cheap stuff that splits apart and stretches out.

I decided to break the dress in last night by taking it out to Bar Sinister. It needed to be worn for a while anyways, and aired out to get rid of the air-mattress smell that goes with new PVC (I feel like a piece of camping gear when I first put new items on). And it was crumpled from the folds of the envelope it had arrived in. So I put it on over fishnets and heels, and added velvet armlets (the kind that attach by a loop over my middle fingers, and go up over my elbows) and an onyx necklace. I straightened my hair and pulled it over one eye, and put on black nail polish. I paled down my face with yellow concealer, re-drew my cheekbones in with brown shadowing, applied black liquid eyeliner half an inch past my eyes, brushed on navy blue eyeshadow in wings along the line, darkened my eyebrows and, for a finishing touch, applied a double-coat of deep burgundy lipstick. And behold: the Vampire Jillian!

Of course, that was the outfit I was wearing for the entire evening, including when I went to a friend’s birthday party. At which a dozen-odd people were playing poker, or card games, most of them in jeans. Enter the vampire – and her roomate. Who, might I add, was also wearing eyeliner and black nail polish, which actually, some of the girls thought was pretty hot. Brief shock ensued, while I explained, five times, “it’s not leather, it’s PVC,” before I sat down to learn to play GOLF and plan the next camping trip. I like being the center of attention, don’t get me wrong – I just like being the center of attention for the witty anecdote I’m telling, not because I’m the only person in a Santa Monica poker party wearing a black vinyl princess dress.

But we left after a half hour to go to Bar Sinister. The midnight band was HTTH (or THHT, I forget which), who were, unfortunately, one of those growl-into-the-microphones, heavy metal influenced bands. Which I don’t get. However, they had a great DIY light show: they threw glowsticks and necklaces at the audience. Who threw them back. So there were arcs of light flying around, as a few dozen glowing objects careened off people’s heads. Definitely right up there with the time Babyland used road flares as s/fx on stage. And room freshener for smoke. The whole place smelled of apple cinnamon sulphur.

Over the evening, I’d also been exchanging eye contact with one of the only cute, single, straight guys in the club. Most of the better looking guys are there with their gorgeous goth girlfriends. And as much as I enjoy seeing aethetically pleasing people, it just reminds me that I do not have a dance partner, most of the time. So when the cute boy finally grinned at me, and came over to dance, I was placated. I was especially placated when, after a couple dances, he kissed me (which I’d seen coming because, with my heels, we were the exact same height, which made things way easier) and then we ended up making out for the next half hour, on and off the dancefloor. Since I haven’t so much as kissed anyone in over six weeks – almost since the last time I was at Bar Sinister – it was a much needed respite from my semi-self-imposed chastity.

He walked me to my car, and said, “So, are you going to call me?”

“It’d help if I had your number.”

He gave it to me – but it’s a 626. San Gabriel Valley. Not an undesirable area code, exactly – just lower on the list than the 310, 323 and 213 that are geographically and socially closest. Welcome to L.A., folks – where you are judged on your area code! (All my numbers are 310s, of course)

“This is where I should say something witty,” he added.

I grinned. “Next time,” I said, and got into Zippy.

And when I got out of the car to climb up the steps to the Surf Shaque, I noticed that all the wrinkles were out of my dress, and it didn’t smell like new vinyl anymore. Therefore, I recommend that, the next time anyone needs to break in a PVC dress, they keep my method in mind. Dance for two hours, and then make out with a cute boy on a Bar Sinister couch. It’s a little more elaborate than just hanging it up for a few days, but it’s far more fun.

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