Like millions of other smitten Americans, I was pretty much tethered to the TV on Inauguration Day. The day was magical, almost as surreal to this sexagenarian dreamer as the first swearing in of Barack H. Obama as President of the United States had been four years ago.
The President’s speech was everything I had hoped for and much more. His delivery was ministerial at times, soaring with cadence and historical imagery. He looked fit and rested and happy as he opened each new topic with a measured and dramatic “We…the people.” It sounded so inclusive and I felt so included.
When it became obvious that he was making a sharp left turn in his political message, mentioning so many issues that matter so much to me, the grin on my face widened and stuck there. Gay marriage rights. Immigration. The environment. Women’s rights to equal treatment. Gun control. Booyah, Mr. President!
The singers sang their hearts out, the prayers prayed their eloquent prayers and the poet spoke his free verse about the oneness of our existence. One teeny, tiny flub in the oath-taking; this time it was POTUS who stumbled. No matter. He’s so human. He’s so real. He is so one of us.
As down to earth as the Obamas are, it is easy for my attention to shift from all the pomp and circumstance, all the historical meaning of the moment to their personhood. It wasn’t long before I started to be concerned for them.
What happens when they need a pit stop? What if one of them is battling the same stomach bug that knocked me on my ass two weeks ago? Their smiles both seem so geniuine – I wonder if their cheeks are starting to twitch.
Mrs. Obama looks so elegant and fit, so comfortable in her role. If I were she, I’d be worrying about the humidity in the air, if any, because my new hairdo might start “swelling.” Look at those boots! She’s walking on concrete for blocks in those stilleto boots. Ouch. My bunions throb in sympathy.
Every station has some talking head commenting – not on the content of the speech or the profound symbolism of this day which coincided serendipitously with the national holiday commemorating the life and contributions of Martin Luther King – but on Michelle’s bangs. Her J. Crew accessories on her sleek and elegant Thom Brown design.
Poor Michelle. It’s not enough she must often hide her own light under a bushel of First Ladylike causes and activities. Now she must spend inordinate amounts of time and thought on the one thing I doubt she cared all that much about before taking up residence in a fish bowl. Our admiration of her has transformed her from a woman of substance with beaucoup brains to a vacuous fashion icon.
If I were in that position that would annoy me no end. I’m already obsessive about making a good impression, always minding my Ps and Qs. I can just imagine waking up on the morning of Inauguration Day knowing I wouldn’t have a minute to myself outside of a restroom stall for the next 18 hours. My first instinct would be to crawl back into bed.
Schedules. Hairdresser. Makeup artist. False eyelashes. Is it windy? Am I bloated? Will I freeze in that thin coat? Will I shiver in front of the world? Please don’t let me stumble on those capitol stairs, ‘cuz I have to be cool and not grab his hand. Will the kids be okay? I hope they don’t get too silly; there will be cameras up their nostrils all day.
When the time came for FLOTUS to make her appearance at the ball, the TV personalities had whipped the viewers into a frenzy, speculating on which new American little-known designer would have her magic wand waved above his or her head.
BREAKING NEWS! Michelle Shocks the fashion world by choosing a stunning gown by the same designer she anointed four years ago. Jason Wu, again?!?
Oh, no. This will cause a flap. She should have given somebody else a chance. Jason Wu is already filthy rich just because she wore his white gown in 2009.
Now she’s dancing. Who’s that guy… Oh, yeah, The President of the United States is also on the stage. Can’t see her shoes, but reports are they were made by Jimmy Choo and they are ivory silk. And she’s wearing a diamond ring designed especially for the occasion by some other woman I’ve never heard of. Bangles! She’s wearing bangles.
She was stunning. The President was so handsome, doing his hipster dipster slow dance with a military officer. The officer who cut in on the President was talking up a storm to Michelle, proud as he could be.
By this time I was exhausted. I was tired of looking at her. I was tired of hearing about everything but her underwear. I was blown away by her choice of gown, as usual, but…
Gotta go. I have to call my beauty salon to schedule my new haircut!