Friday, March 5, 2010

Cleavagey

Let me just say that it is my intention to cite The New Yorker but once or twice over the course of this year, because moderation is appealing.

So, from Patricia Marx's jaunty piece about shopping in Brooklyn (yes, I realize I am hopelessly unchic; what can I say? J. Mendel, Morgane le Fay, Marni, various Japanese designers, and Makola still hold some allure--though should somebody should tell Carolina Herrera that the dress currently in her window should be exchanged for another? Because window shopping for clothes--as readers of The Hundred Dresses know--should be even more satisfying than actual shopping, since actual shopping for clothes must be highly tedious, unless one is on--in?--Roman holiday, in which case, it's probably fun and involves a motobike. Shopping for food, is, of course, highly satisfying.), in the March 8, 2010, issue of The New Yorker:

A wedding gown concocted of bridal veils from the forties can be worn with the high neck in the front for the ceremony and then reversed for a more cleavagey look for the debauched party that follows [Ed.: store citation deleted]

Cleavagey is just a brilliant written word, bringing to mind cold weather, cleavers, savagery, wrought-iron, cages, vagary, and grass hacked with hand-forged scythes (not exactly Capability Brown). If one appends a y to, oh, roughage or bandage, the effect isn't nearly as nice. (Admittedly, roughagy is not bad.) The thing is, cleavagey throws off the light of a masculine ending and shines all the more because it makes such overt reference to the feminine. Phonologically speaking, it's so-so, but visually it's downright gorgeous.

(By the way, for several years now, I've been trying to recall the title of a novel whose main character is named Henry (?) "Gorgeous," except Gorgeous is spelled with a and i, and I can't remember anything more. I attended the reading, which was outré, and perhaps a vestige of a city that is dissolving. See: the recent New Yorker cartoon with the dial telephone and the phone gadget; also Ballade des dames du temps jadis.)

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