plastic dresses

Carlo Bachi, Paolo Scheggi, Intercamera Plastica, 1967 | Model wearing a Germana Marucelli dress in Intercamera Plastica, an artwork by Italian visual artist Paolo Scheggi (1940 – 1971) | photo Carlo Bachi / Marucelli Archive

Undercover 6: The Dress

The dress was stunning.

It was made of ivory satin trimmed with intricate lace around the neckline and sleeves, which ended at the elbows with lace dripping down. Scully turned the dress over to see a line of buttons all the way down the back, and a cathedral length train. An old lace veil hung on the same hanger and appeared to be as long as the train.


She wished that the plastic that protected the dress – found in a box in the attic in the old Mulder family lake house – was not there. She wanted to feel the ancient fabric.  It was exquisite; whom had it belonged to?


After Mulder had nearly killed himself there, he’d decided that it was time to sell the place. He argued that it was sitting there doing nothing, and instead of letting it crumble, he might as well sell it and let someone else enjoy it.


Scully was spending her Sunday helping him box things up. Partly because she didn’t want him to be alone for this, and partly because she just wanted to be with him. Her headaches had become more frequent, and there would be times when she would lose vision for a few minutes. She wondered how much longer she’d be able to just be with him, and she wanted to take advantage of it while she could.

He didn’t know how bad it had gotten and she wanted to keep it that way.


“The delivery man has arrived!” Mulder said as he entered the attic carrying food from a deli in town.

She turned and smiled at him, holding out the dress. “Who wore this?”

Mulder stopped for a second. “It belonged to my grandmother on my mom’s side.”


“It’s beautiful.”

“It’s old. I can’t believe it’s still here, and in such good condition.”


Scully nodded, admiring it.

“You can take it out of the plastic if you want,” Mulder said as he set out the food on a box.


While she was taking out the dress Mulder fingered the ring that he had found in the attic earlier that had also belonged to his Safta.


His grandparents had been Polish immigrants who wanted to be referred to as Safta and Saba, the Hebrew words for Grandma and Grandpa. Safta had been a small, kind woman who dressed traditionally and went to temple at least twice a week; Saba was a hard man who said only what was necessary. Mulder remembered how there were times when his Saba seemed intimidating until his wife would bring a smile to his face. Even at a young age Mulder could tell they were still in love in their old age, and he wondered at the contrast to his parents, who clearly did not like each other.


Safta’s ring was a simple gold band with a .25-carat diamond in the center. Mulder had known that the ring was in the attic, and in truth, he had been thinking about it for weeks.


Ever since he and Scully had become involved he’d felt like the walls were closing in on him and all he wanted was to keep her near.


It began when he’d kissed her in the hallway in the hospital. The first kiss was soft and short and they didn’t kiss again until a week later – and that time, it was much more passionate and led to them sleeping together. Things had progressed quickly from there, and while they both knew that some of it was driven by fear, they also knew that their feelings were real.


The idea of proposing to Scully made sense to Mulder, and didn’t scare him. But he knew it might scare her, which made him anxious.


She held the dress out in front of her and ran her hand over the aged satin. Mulder just watched her and felt profound sadness. She looked so lovely and healthy – anyone watching would have no idea that she was dying.


Mulder went to stand behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. She smiled and leaned back into him. He kissed the top of her head and rocked back and forth.

One hand was over his fingers intertwined and the other still held the dress. She closed her eyes as he brought his lips near her ear and breathed in the scent of her hair.

“Marry me Scully,” he said gently, and she felt his breath tickle her ear and neck.

She gently laid the dress back into the box and turned to him, without a word. He watched her anxiously as one hand began to play with the ring in his pocket again. Scully put her hands on either side of his face. “Mulder, you’re scared. I am too, but that doesn’t mean we should just get married.”


He leaned his forehead against hers. “That’s not the only reason I’m proposing. I love you, and I want to be married to you. And yeah, part of why I’m saying it now comes from my fear – but I don’t have any doubts that you are the woman I want to be with.” His hands rested tenderly on her hips.


“Mulder…”

She looked away and her eyes filled with tears. He gave her a moment and she refused to meet his eyes when she began again, “Mulder, I’m dying. It’s getting worse, the headaches and loss of vision, and I think that it’s something you need to come to terms with. I think this is your way of avoiding the truth.”


Mulder cupped the back of her head, pulling her into his chest so that she wouldn’t see the fear in his eyes. “I’m not avoiding it, I just want to take advantage of this time. If you don’t want to marry me because you just don’t want to marry me I understand, but if it’s because you’re scared…”

He pulled away to look into her eyes and stroked her cheeks with his thumbs. “I think saying no just because you’re scared is not a valid reason.”

The tears began to fall. “So what, Mulder? Say we do get married. What does that change? I’m still dying.”


He flinched as if she had slapped him. “It doesn’t change the facts, no, but I just want to stand in public, in front of people we love, and say I want to be with you forever. Even if forever is shorter than I want it to be.”


Scully looked away again, not sure what to say. Mulder reached back into his pocket and pulled out the ring. She looked at it in silent surprise and then met his eyes, her own filled with questions.


“This isn’t spur of the moment, Scully. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. This ring belonged to my grandmother. My parents’ marriage sucked, but my grandparents were so in love. They were that couple that died within weeks of each other because they couldn’t bear to be apart. That is how I feel about you, Scully. I don’t do this lightly.”


She took the ring and looked at it for a moment before sliding it on her finger, admiring it in the dim evening light of the attic. It fit her perfectly, as if made for her, and looked so right on her hand.


She turned and glanced at the dress and then back at Mulder. “A priest will need to marry us in a church or it will break my mother’s heart.”


Mulder nodded, “Anything.”

“I don’t want it to be big, just a few people, family.”


Mulder nodded again.

She looked at the dress again, “Can I wear that dress?”


Mulder smiled, “Of course.”


She kissed him until they were nearly out of breath. Resting her forehead against his, she said softly, “Then it’s a yes.”

My favorite flowers

before you spread irises on the sheets
how soon I forgot the smell of madness
make love to me dressed in plastic neon
thorns gather in our bed enigmatic roses
impale the obscene taste of debauchery
in my heart squirm malevolent poppies
you remove the fishy smell of my orgasm
tongue in tongue sin into my mouth weeping

SAPPIEST STORY EVER

Gather around grandmamums and children, Cinna’s got a story. 

When I lived in Beijing, my parents sent me to an upscale private school. There, the girls were LEGITIMATELY MEAN. Like thing Regina George mean. They formed cliques and stuff and basically judged people on what they wore. If you wore something really pretty, they’d immediately talk to you. 

My parents worked as executives for a branch of IBM and I wore nice clothes. But “nice” in the eyes of tasteful/elegant adults did not equate to “nice” to the girls who liked plastic pink puffy princess dresses and satin bows. I was a loner with like ONE GOOD friend there. So one day, this new kid comes. I remember that his name was David (forgot his Chinese name). 

All the girls liked him. LIKE ALL OF THEM. Including the most popular, the meanest, and the girl who wore the PUFFIEST of dresses, Sarah (可心 was her Chinese name). They all fawned over him and whatnot. But he didn’t really show interest or a lack thereof. 

So this was during at time where playing “house” was really popular. You’d assemble your family with your classmates and pretend to be the mom or the daughter or the father etc. Naturally, finding a “husband” or a “wife” or basically someone you wanted to marry was the BIGGEST CONCERN for us elementary school kiddos. 

Naturally, Sarah wanted David as her pretend husband. She intimidated the other girls into choosing other people. I was a bit more educated (not to be narcissistic) because my parents had talked to me about marriage and that kind of stuff from a young age. I was more mature for my age in terms of knowledge. So I never really invested myself in playing house. If I did, I’d be the aunt or the tutor. Marriage was wayyy to weird. 

So one day, David finally tells Sarah there’s no way he’s going to be married to her. Sarah, out of a fit of annoyance for clamoring so long for him, asked him “FINE WHO DO YOU WANT TO MARRY”.

Low and behold, I was looking over my math flash cards when I heard my name.

“I wanna marry 恩恩 (my nickname)”

Quickly, followed by “But if she doesn’t want to, I’ll marry someone else.”

I was shocked and kinda freaked out by the attention directed to me all of a sudden and swiftly said, “NO WAY.”

David looked a bit dejected but I was still shocked. THIS KID LIKED ME.

Flash forward to a field trip.

We went to a national park and there were basically Chinese crabapples (海棠果) everywhere on the ground. Everyone wanted to find one that wasn’t rotten or too ugly. Sarah found a bunch (or stole from the other girls) and I found none. I wanted some though. So near the end of our trip, I feel a light tapping at my shoulder. David, who had received those apples from Sarah and other girls, gave me two of the prettiest. Of course, I was flattered but Sarah screamed at him telling David that those “were for him and not for HER”. He didn’t look like he cared so I kept the apples. 

Other times, he’d give me candy and things that he won as prizes. All of them. To me.

It made Sarah FLIP THE FUCK OUT but it was hilarious. I began to kinda like David. I had no reason not to. This kid was pree attractive. 

However, our school year ended. When we came back, he wasn’t there.

The last I heard of him, after that year, his family was going to Toronto. 

Guys, guess where I’m headed for university next year?

2

Dusted off a very old project of mine (a project around the time I made the ‘Mom’ dress)
But I realized too late I messed up the normals, that’s why it looks like a plastic dress. So unfortuntately  I have to completely start over. But so far I like the design

The more I think about Melanie Martinez, the more I dislike her. She’s pretty ableist in some of her songs (mad hatter cough cough) and some of her fans are pretty flippin obnoxious. She glorifies mental illness and acts like it’s fun, she sings about suicide and plastic surgery while dressed like a child, like wow, how edgy. I don’t think her songs are all that deep, it just has messages like “abusive households aren’t always obvious” “Plastic surgery is bad” “people can be suicidal and you might not even notice, also alcoholic beverages are still alcoholic beverages no matter what cup you drink it from” “being crazy is fun, normal people are boring and I would rather insult mentally ill people than face the fact that being normal is just fine and not boring at all” and “I talk too much, say stupid shit and wish I had never said it.” I mean people act like her songs are really deep and really touching, but I don’t feel that way, not anymore anyway. The messages are usually things people already knew to begin with.