Before I met The Great Love Of My Life I dated a psychotherapist named Dr. Joan who had a lucrative practice on Philadelphia's Main Line. Every time I showed up at her house for a date, she appeared in perfect fall elegance. Fuzzy wools in earth tones. Dark tweeds and cashmeres. Long alpaca and mohair scarves, loosely knotted just so. Gold earrings, bracelets, rings. Her preferred designers were Valentino, Fendi, Dior, Marc Jacob, Prada, Gucci. Early on she vowed that common cotton or synthetic fabric underwear would never cover her skin, only the most well-made and expensive black silk would do. What's more, she would discard these undies at the slightest sign of wear. They had to be, and remain, pristine.
I thought Dr. Joan's clothing obsession was very nearly pathological, perhaps a reflection of her relationship with her stern, grim, unsmiling, never-to-be-satisfied father. Why should costumes play such an important role in her life? It was obviously all about poor self-esteem. An incomplete self-acceptance.
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