October 28 , 2006
Today Whitney and I were innocently walking through the YPU bookstore when a group of women randomly accosted us and, much to our surprise and considerable confusion, started dressing us in kimonos. There was no explanation given for this behavior, just amused glances at me and Whitney as we giggled nervously and tried to figure out what was going on and, more importantly, if we had to pay for it.
About ten minutes and several layers of fabric later Whitney and I were decked out from head to toe (well, mid-calf) in pink and purple kimonos, respectively, and still had no idea why. The women made an appreciative audience, standing around scrutinizing their handiwork and making adjustments, and grinning widely at the ten inches of blue jeans that stuck out beneath the hem and incongruously bright shirt sleeves peaking out from folds that should have covered our hands.
A heavy apron-like garment covered up the jeans in the front, although the explanation that it was used for martial arts did very little to clarify why we were suddenly wearing it.
The next thing I knew I was being told to stand up against a wall and spread my arms for a photo. These were very persistent women, and it seemed best just to do what I was told. I had the odd sensation of being someone’s personal mannequin as one of the women arranged my arms to the
right angles and brushed away stray wrinkles in the heavy fabric. As soon as she was satisfied there was a click and a flash, and I was led away to be disrobed while Whitney was posed for her mug shot. Within minutes the kimonos were back on the racks, and Whitney and I were left shuffling around awkwardly, fumbling with purses and trying to figure out how this encounter was going to end. As it turns out, it involved a lot of bowing and “thank yous” (although, for what, we still weren’t sure), and we soon found ourselves standing outside clutching Polaroids and wondering what had just happened.