Operation Subdued Sexy (aka Operation Hot and Holy) is underway and in effect. The search to find a dress to wear to this year’s Emmy awards on September 18 that satisfies the standards of tznius (modesty) is in theory going fine. In practical application, it’s not going so fine. Here’s why.
These are the things that occurred when I met the stylist last week.
1) She was indeed very nice, organized, on time, efficient and not too “Hollywood.”
2) She brought with her some dresses from London (and some from here as well) for me to try on.
3) We found one dress that we think looks dy-no-mite. It’s edgy, unusual, funky, very flattering, and really makes me look pretty darn Hot and Holy, if I do say so myself.
These are the things I did not know which I found out when I met the stylist last week.
1) Some very famous actresses (those who are much more famous than me) can put a kind of gag order on what other actresses wear. They sort of “claim” a designer early on and that makes it a wee bit of a more narrow pool of dresses for the rest of us to choose from.
2) When stylists bring you dresses, they only bring one size of each dress, and you are not allowed to tailor or alter any of these dresses. So you are effectively looking for the absolute perfect dress as it is, no changes allowed. And at this stage of the game, what she brought is sort of what we’ve got to choose from. Are you reaching for the Xanax yet?
3) The dress that looks dy-no-mite is Operation Subdued Sexy compliant…except for the left arm which is completely exposed in a very sexy and not at all subdued kind of way. So my left arm is completely and hopelessly ervah (indecently exposed), as it were. Yes, I am being slightly dramatic about my left arm; just for effect.
Some other things I have come to realize after ruminating over this all weekend.
1) I am not skinny teeny tiny like most Hollywood women and I don’t want to be. But I need to realize that not being skinny teeny tiny but rather a small-ish curvy and – by the tape measure – disproportionately busty-for-my small-ish frame woman who has birthed children and nursed them for the better part of the last 6 years makes me somewhat of an oddity when stylists try to dress me.
2) Add to my freakishly huge breasts (okay, that’s going a bit too far; again, I am being melodramatic for effect) my tznius restrictions, the more famous celebrities taking some of the major designers off the racks, and the fact that I am not in the position to hire someone to custom make me a dress to fit my figure and restrictions, this is not easy. It’s not impossible, but it’s not easy.
3) My initial desire was to cover all the way to the elbow, which is a general tznius standard. I may be able to cover my shoulder of the left arm but not all the way to the elbow. This is a compromise that I have made for events in the past and will possibly be making again. I will try not to be grumpy about it, and I will make sure that I stuff all of my sexiness under the fabric we use to cover my left shoulder so that what is revealed of my left arm is very boring, very bland, and not seductive at all.
4) In the scope of the universe, this is all going to be okay. I am still beyond out of my mind amazed and grateful that my life has led me to star in not one but two television shows on prime time television when I come from a family that doesn’t even trace our family tree back more than three generations in Eastern Europe because of the series of events that dumped my grandparents on the shores of Manhattan to build a life for themselves. I am going to the Emmys and it is amazing.
If I can’t cover all the way to the elbow this year, God help me I will do it next year. And while we’re on the topic of God, I don’t think God will strike me down for not covering my left arm up. My dedication to a life of tznius gives me structure, makes me feel protected in a world that often violates, and allows me to have control over who sees what part of me, when, and how. And I am grateful to the God of my understanding for allowing me to grow slowly, gently, and gracefully.
And this year, it may look like my growth reached all the way from my ankles, up my thighs, over my tush, up to my clavicle, and all the way over my right arm clear to the wrist. However, that growth may stop at my left upper arm when you see me walking the carpet on Sunday. But God help me to keep growing so that next year, Kol kveudah bat melech p’nimah (“All of the glory of the king’s daughter is within”), that growth covers my left arm like the robes of a princess.