On Men and Muumuus
Yesterday It was 92° Upcountry. Get out! It’s never that hot Upcountry. (That means it had to be like 109 in Lahaina). In heat like that I don’t even want to get dressed. I prefer nudity, but it seems to be against the law. So I was in First Hawaiian Bank Upcountry and saw a lady about 75 years old who was wearing a muumuu and a big hat. Pretty typical of older ladies in Hawaii. I’ve thought about it, and I actually look forward to the time when I get to wear wear a muumuu. They cover the flabby arms, big belly and spider veins that everyone gets as they get older… But the best part is they’re cool and loose. I was looking at her muumuu with envy on this 92° in the shade day.
Fast-forward four hours. I have been to the pharmacy, the library, and two grocery stores. I am standing in Costco and I see a hat out of the corner of my eye and glance up from the rosemary bread. There’s the same lady in her hat and muumuu. When you live on Maui you constantly hear “it’s a small island,” and that means everywhere you go you run into the same people. Even four hours and four stops later. Sometimes they’re even on the same track as you, and you see them at all four stops. This always makes me laugh… It’s a small island, but it’s not like it’s a small town in the middle of nowhere. Or is it? I once heard that an Island resort is nothing more than a provincial small town with thousands of tourists thrown in. That makes sense.
It also means you see the same people week after week as you run your errands. When I went to the library yesterday I had 22 books on hold. Seriously. At the counter I said apologetically, “I’ve had a few books come in'” and the librarian, a big, jovial Chinese lady said, “A FEW?!” She is used to this now and gives me a hard time. I’m a writer, I do research. In fact, after about the third time this happened she said, “Let me guess, you’re a writer.” Guilty as charged. Though I did hit a new personal best this month: I found out that when you have 27 books on hold in the system they cut you off on the library website (www.librarieshawaii.org) I was crushed! Hauling a stack of books home from the library is like Christmas for me, especially since they closed our Borders store. When I saw my doctor recently, she asked, as usual, what I was reading, because I always have a book with me . She said, “I miss Borders! I miss being able to browse by actually opening a book and paging through it.” It’s just not the same thing on Amazon, so we commiserated together.
Anyway, as we ended our day yesterday, Mike and I were talking about the unusual heat and I mentioned having seen the lady in the muumuu twice. (We were eating Mexican food at our favorite place: Fernando’s in the Kau-Kau marketplace. He commented that he’d also seen the guy at the next table in Costco. See what I mean? It’s a small island). Mike then said, “So why don’t you just wear a muumuu?”
It was loud in there. I was sure I hadn’t heard him right. “Did you say wear a muumuu? At my age?” (I’m thinking, isn’t that only for ladies over the age of 75? Isn’t that something only the workers at the hotels wear?) He said “Sure. Why not?”( Let’s not forget, this guy grew up in Hawaii.) But my head is reeling… You mean I can stop trying to find pants that fit my nonexistent bum? I can stop thinking about fashion or having any kind of style at all and just drift off to muumuu land? Men probably don’t understand this, because they are ALWAYS comfortable, but a muumuu is like a get out of jail free card. And then Mike shrugged and said, “I don’t know why you haven’t done it sooner.”
The earth tilted further on its axis. The man will never cease to amaze me. Muumuus are like the fanny pack of fashion… They mean, “I give up, I’m gonna just let it all hang out.” Right? If you’ve ever watched the new version of Hawaii 5-0, moving to Hawaii and all the confusion it entails is embodied in almost everything Dano says. He’s always a half step behind. And here I am, after 13 years, finding out I could’ve been wearing a muumuu all this time.
That’s me, late to the party. At least they are legal, unlike nudity. Unless, of course, I get arrested by the Fashion Police.
So tell me honestly, if you’re a woman would you wear a muumuu in Hawaii on a regular basis? And if you’re a guy, what do you think about women under the age of 75 in muumuus?
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