Every woman who leads a social life needs and usually owns a “little black dress”. These days that need probably surfaces at about the age of ten. A ridiculous turn of affairs in my opinion, but hardly relevant to my tale of woe. I last owned “the dress” in the late sixties. It was quite svelte; the fabric was clingy crepe. I last wore it in San Francisco during a dinner date with the intended of a disliked and previous roommate. In my earlier years I possessed few scruples when it came to attractive men and, with no conscious urging on my part, he was the one who proposed the rendevous. I should mention now that I was a heavy cigarette smoker. That night when I returned home I discovered, to my horror, that I had burned a huge, revealing hole in the side of my beautiful dress. What could Ernie, or any other observer, have possibly thought?
Unfortunately, this was not my only attempt at self-immolation. Some weeks later I made a disgusting display of myself at work. In that case the fabric of my outfit was dacron. It mattered little that, during either event, I felt nothing as my clothes cremated themselves. I did learn one lesson. I stopped resting a cigarette holding hand anywhere near my waist and probably should have stopped smoking long before I actually did so.