By Adeline Chandler

CN: Eating disorders; body image; body dysmorphia


You do not understand, I want a dress, a dress, a dress.

I can imagine it so exactly that my words will hand it to you on a hanger. It is glorious, it is unstinting, it is black. It has a high neckline and box sleeves. It is entirely impermeable, with a beauty that one cannot slip from. It is unassuming, it is self-denying, and it will never know how gorgeous it is. But I shall know it before I buy it, and that is the most important thing.

I would like it to wear at night.

When we came in from the movies I made toast, and watched him eat it in the kitchen. He breathed into my ear and undressed me – seven hooks. How do I play this how do I play this how do I play this.

Are you OK?


Chuckle chuckle. Cute and also sinister. Slight stubble, dimple wrong-foots me. I am at a total loss to explain the dress.

It will be the new boundary. I quite love him, and it will not do for him, this caged cornfed body. I need something, something with the rustle of feathers to throw around it, and say, here is an exhibit, and it must not be unwrapped, it must not be taken out of its case. Do not imagine how it would look without the earrings. The champagne and the canapés, they are only props for the photograph. Soon I will move with a rustle, I will be as shallow as the front page of Vogue.

He is more than I have deserved but how to tell him there is one thing and one thing only I have always wanted – the dress.

So I say I’m sorry I’m sorry I have a stomach ache can we do this later. He nods grudgingly.

I am ungenerous and I am so so sorry. You see I am saving all my money.

What for?

For a final investment, a depreciating gem –

Where are you going?

Nowhere. I stay for the rub of linen on linen.

A few weeks and a few texts and nothing more. I bitch loudly in cafés. I feed off streams of photos of a sweet blonde girl in a foreign country. I have become addicted to online shopping.

I would like a black dress to cover me. I am the heavyweight, the indissoluble, trembling Midas of rust.


Adeline Chandler is a pseudonym


Image by Rebecca Aslett


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