Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wherein the Wasp is explained

You may have heard of Wasps. I'm not talking about the insect kind. I'm talking about THE Wasp, as in Wasp waist and the like. Interestingly, one of the definitions wordnik uses for wasp is "Figuratively, a person characterized by ill nature, petulance, peevishness, irritability, or petty malignity." Look up waspish, and you'll find that it means "Like a wasp in any way. Having a very slender waist, like the petiole of a wasp's abdomen; wasp-waisted; tight-laced."

I shall explain the rules of the Wasp's summer home, as defined by John Fairchild, former editor of Women's Wear Daily, in his book "Chic Savages."

  • Wasps don't like to spend money. Their summer home is not restored to its former greatness, because that would cost money. It's more likely to look like it's going to blow over at the slightest breeze.
  • Wasp's houses are clapboard and cedar shingles, preferably with columns. Wasps love columns.
  • No big or shiny cars. And dirt roads, for authenticity.
  • Wasps love garage apartments but HATE picture windows. They "would rather go without a view and even without light than have a picture window." Why? I have no idea.
  • Wasps love weather vanes. They apparently add to the ambience of "this is a summer home." I wonder if the Kennedys have weather vanes?
  • Wasps are, of course, concerned with property lines, meaning that they won't let a tree branch extend over their property line. Wasps are, in general, very caught up in borders of all kinds, to the extent of not allowing someone to walk to the public beach if they have to infringe on their property to get there. Territorial? Yes!
  • They will, however, rent their summer home. For big bucks.
  • Wasps will picnic on the beach. They will not picnic in the yard.
  • At the beach, Wasps will sit and stare, for long periods. They do not walk. Long walks confuse them.
  • Wasps are not concerned with the sun. Sunburn gives them a fine, weathered look, probably not unlike their summer homes. The pain of a sunburn is cured by a cocktail. "Wasp women don't seem to age: they just weather from the sun, sea and drink."
  • The do not, however, wear bikinis, and the men do not, under any circumstances, wear a Speedo. Ever.
  • Hats are never worn for fashion at the summer home. They are worn to shield one's face from the sun only.
  • Wasps love anything English, and bicycles are no exception. They will leave said bicycle out in the rain, so it gets the proper weathered look like their house and their face. Do you see a trend here?
  • Wasps also think that their family has been in New England for generations. Even if they haven't.
  • Wasps love Ralph Lauren. It makes them feel as though they are at the English countryside.
Back in town, they will dine at Le Cirque or at the club, probably on chicken salad, with perfect posture, to keep that waspish waist intact.

Pattern, from the Vintage Fashion Library. Click the image to buy.

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