Tonight’s Met Gala’s theme is truly #blessed. “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Image” is — according to Vogue — “designed to create a dialogue between fashion and the masterworks of religious art in museum’s holdings.” Which, as far as I’m concerned, will just give a bunch of celebrities a reason to dress up like the stars of DaVinci’s The Last Supper. And that is fine. Provided I, a Catholic school alum/survivor/escapee, will be granted a chance to see my own history come to life.
Here are the costumes I want to see as someone who’s been there. As someone whose dialogue between fashion and the masterworks of religious art were limited to being allowed only to wear tank tops with straps at least three fingers wide. Or dress shirts that had to be tucked into our kilts. Or nothing fun, even remotely.
These are the only costumes I think will matter. Let us pray.
1. Me, as a teen, rolling up her uniform shirt as a sad attempt to convince my high school teachers it was actually tucked in
This costume should also feature a kilt rolled so high that the wearer’s bicycle shorts are in full view. The shirt should look in no way tucked in, but folded in a way that viewers are supposed to believe that the waist of said kilt begins well below the hips. Knee socks should be pulled tight and paired with white Fila running shoes as well as a navy blue zip-up. This zip-up will quickly be outlawed for not being “uniform.” Bonus points for all cigarettes consumed in secret on the red carpet.
2. Me, as a bored preteen, slouching as an altar server on a Sunday in July
A robe, a cross, and visible jeans showing underneath the hem of the robe is vital. The wearer should look unamused, but not so much that anybody’s parents might be able to tell. At all moments she must assume her crush is somewhere, amongst the congregation, watching and falling in love with how well she can hold the Bible. (To make this an effective couples’ costume, the crush must not be present.)
3. Me, as a tween, being told to put on a sweater
Because spaghetti strap tank tops are not allowed and also sinful.
4. Me, as a teen, fighting with other Catholic school teens
For the #squad: two groups of young women, fighting during gym class over nothing in particular other than “I saw that look.” Participants are all to wear either their full Catholic school uniforms (grey pants and a white polo and/or kilt paired with a white polo) or late nineties/early 00s-era athletic wear. During the duration of the red carpet, all must hurl accusations of all sorts with absolutely no proof to back them up. At least one (me) must hang back and say loudly, “And the same goes for me!”
5. Me, as a child, asking if we can go for breakfast after church
Regulation church-wear (read: a dress from Sears + patent leather loafers) preferred. To execute, walk down the red carpet quietly and answer all questions with, “Can we go for breakfast buffet?” but in various ways, so no parent/anyone can claim they just answered you.
6. Me, as a child/tween/teen, getting in trouble for laughing during school mass
A couples’ costume: one, in daytime appropriate school clothes (bootcut jeans + large hoodie + running shoes); the other, in pleated teacher pants, sweater vest, and blouse. The walk down the red carpet should consist solely of one laughing while the other leans over and says, “That’s enough.” Bonus points if Ash Wednesday marks are visible.
7. Me, as a tween, on our eighth grade graduation/confirmation retreat
A bucket hat, a cotton tank top, and Adidas track pants. And Jesus wept.
8. Me, on confirmation day
A cardigan set, pleated skirt, and hair slicked back tightly into a bun I believed made me look like Rose from Titanic. For couples: my eighth grade crush, fresh out of his San Jose jersey and into Mom-approved slacks and dress shirt. Within 15 minutes, all involved must look terrible for no explicable reason outside of “you are 13 and look bad as a default setting.”
9. My fifth and seventh grade teacher
A cotton pantsuit with a sensible heel. Must have long nails used to tap against the chalkboard to remind us why we were all damned. Hair must be permed and well set. To execute accurately, change moods frequently. Hand out candy for a minute before parlaying into warning us that we would likely all die in a tornado that afternoon. Thrive on the paranoia of others, tapping into their deep-seated insecurities, which isn’t difficult because you are surrounded by pre-pubescent humans at all times. At some point, give a 45-minute lecture on why everyone’s parents were going to die from the flu. Tell me, specifically, that it isn’t funny to make jokes during sex ed.
10. Me, during sex ed
Wear casual wear. Laugh maniacally. Gasp when someone asks a question that is not a joke. Pray for their souls, for they are inappropriate.