How can I dress up as Italy?
The question, clearly, is not how can you dress up as Italy; but rather how can you not!?
But, before I enter into these obvious bulletisms, I sought to inquire as to the proper context in which I might place this question. And so upon Saturday last—the ultimate day of October—I engaged the inter-office communicating speaker system and I made a general call.
"STAFF, FRIENDS, ASSISTANTS, PRISONERS, INTELLECTUALLY ELEVATED SIMIANS, ELDRITCH BEINGS, ROB," this opening has become such the standard, by the ways, that I have it now prerecorded for ease of introduction, "A COMMUNIQUE ELECTRONIQUE PRESENTED ITSELF INQUIRING UPON ISSUES OF COSTUMERY AND UNIFORMING. WHAT, IF ANY, CALENDRICAL DETAILS MUST I USE TO CONTEXTUALIZE THIS QUERY WITHIN THE CONFINES OF LOCAL CULTURAL EXPECTATIONS AND MORES?"
After asking this question thrice, and turning about contrapuntal, I concluded that the laboratory was fresh and truly empty, for reasons I cannot even now fully fathom.
And so I turn now to you, my dear friend. It would seem, upon reviewing my many charts and notes upon the subject that you are likely to wish to celebrate one of three holidays in conjunction with this costumery:
It was said at the time, "That cow may have kicked over the lamp, but Sir Christopher Wren pushed her (with assistance coming from the papal states, the High and Sacred Order of the Garter, and Christian Rozenkreutz). All of this was presided over by a six winged eagle from whose mouth flew a curling banner upon which was inscribed these words, 'If you seek a pleasant social commentary in cartoon form, please look about you.' And then God's own lithe and dainty tentacle reached up and with a slender pen, formed of sunbeams and unicorn tibiae, the sea was etched into the grottos beneath the gardens."
This was, of course, less of a saying and more a steel-plate engraving that belonged to me many years ago, and was impressed upon fine vellum for me by a young man from Genoa who knew Christofer Columbus's Jewish uncle (no relation to Cristofel) and who printed for the same uncle several esoteric charts and maps whose origins are lost to time, as well as signage for a "Two-for-One" sale and two, less successful, "One-for-Two" sales.
For these and many other reasons, it is just . . . nay, it is necessary, that you avail yourself of Italianate Costuming in this, her Season.
This, of course, reminds me (how can it not!) of my dear friend Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, (not be confused with the owner of the Ypsilanti, Michigan pizzeria of the same name) who owned a delightful pizzeria of the same name in the city-state of Ypsilanti (in Florence, by way of Milan).
He said, in his Oration on the Dignity of Small Homes, that to truly represent Italy would be to honestly represent memory. Memory is itself a model of Italy, though very very small, carved out of grains of rice brought back from China by Marco Polo and assembled in delicate glass spheres as small as tear drops arranged inside of the buckles and a series of shoes never worn by men.
This leads me, irrevocably, to the answer to your question:
How can you dress up as Italy?
Italy is memory, and memory is the art, as Pico had it, de combinatoria, which is the art of assembling images.
For me, Italy is the water, and it is a thousand small city states, and it is a perspective on the world where all shall look out, and none shall look in, and it is the throne of St. Peter (no relation)—all of which makes for a very terrible costume, unless you so happen to be blind, blue-skinned, be-pocked with many city-statuesque carbuncles, and poses an appropriate throne for your St. Peter.
To remember all of aspects of Italy, I simply create a mnemonic combinatoria where I wander the interior of a very small house with ten thousand rooms, and each room is a sentence in the speech I am to give, which will describe the costume I should have worn to the party, but have forgotten because of the details of the speech I am giving.
In the first room there is a naked female human with both breasts weeping blood. (All combinatorias start off this way, actually. It is rather a boiler plate.) In the next room is a very small toilet, because ten thousand rooms will make for a long journey, and I am lead to believe that humans desire to release their bowels before such a journey, while I believe it is better to relieve one's bowels at the most politically opportune moment. This is a feeling I share with Arch President, Richard Cheney (no relation).
In the third room there are many boots, because Italy is like a boot—Why not thence dress up like a boot, or wear a costume with many boots stitched on it, or solely consisting of a pair of very high boots, or very low sandles of a bootish mien?
In the fourth room—the fourth room is quite crowded with many pooch-lippéd, long-darkhaired ladies—many near to naked, others less so—all crowded about two stone-locked besmooching skeletons clutching between them a hidden, swiftly melting Neapolitan crucifix, the Jesus of which is cast from solid dark chocolate stolen from the Pope's wife's lover's father's neighbor's first-floor green grocer (this, incidentally, would also make a decent costume, provided the cooperation of the long-darkhaired ladies managers and parliamentarians could be secured at reasonable remuneration).
The fifth room, you say?
Ah, yes, I had forgotten.
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