Velvet Aversion

It was the prettiest dress I’d ever seen. It was dark green with a little bow between the lacy collar. It had short puffy sleeves and gathered in pleats at the waist. I wanted more than anything to be able to wear it, but I just couldn’t do it without crying.

I cringed at the thought of it sliding against my hair and over  the skin of my naked shoulders.

“Stop being a baby and let me put it on you.”

“No, it hurts me!”

“How can something so soft hurt you? Feel how smooth it is.”

Sure, it looked smooth. They just didn’t understand how it made me feel all over when I simply brushed my fingers across the fabric. A shiver of cold would shoot through my entire body at the slightest touch. I would literally shake.

They put tights on me so the velvet wouldn’t touch my legs and a sweater over the bodice so my hands would touch the sweater and not the dress. This was much worse. Hearing the yarn of the sweater crush against the velvet was sheer torture. The sound of my tights scraping against the dress sent me into hysterics. And when the dress folded between my legs where velvet rubbed against velvet was unbearable, much akin to the way hearing chalk scrape on a chalk board grates on the nerves.

More than anything, I wanted to be the pretty little girl in the beautiful green velvet dress. In secret, I practiced. I’d quickly touch the dress, shake, and do it again. Then I’d make myself hold the dress in my hands. My body would turn cold from the inside out, and I’d toss it to the floor. I never made it a full minute. The dress disappeared. Maybe Mama thought even the sight of the dress was too much for me to endure.

Then Santa Claus came to our house. I knew he was not really Santa. First of all, we didn’t believe in Santa at our house. Secondly, I would have recognized this pretend Santa’s voice anywhere. And Mama had already told me to pretend like I believed in Santa. She also told me not to let him know I knew who he really was because it would hurt his feelings.

Mama and Daddy coaxed me to sit on his lap after my immediate refusal. I would have happily sat on his lap if he hadn’t been wearing that costume. I scrunched my arms together so I did not touch his sleeves. He wanted to know what I wanted for Christmas. I wouldn’t answer. After much prodding, I told him I wanted white go-go boots like the dancers on the Ed Sullivan (or was it Red Skelton?) show.

I got down, and the grown ups kept talking. They laughed and couldn’t figure out why I was so afraid of him. I was not afraid of Daddy’s friend. I just didn’t want to touch his velvet suit.

Thank you, Mama and Daddy, for the white go-go boots.

Thank you, Mama, for accepting what none of us understood and never making me wear that beautiful dress again. And double thanks for not ever buying me another one.

Thank you, God, for bringing crushed velvet and velour into my life. Now, I can enjoy the beauty of velvet without the pain.

I’ve never been able to explain how the feel of velvet pushed my little soul out of the solar system. Touching cotton balls did the same thing to me. The strange thing is I can touch them both now…without shudders, shivers, or shakes.

49 thoughts on “Velvet Aversion

  1. Suzi, I LOVE this post!

    Both charming and VERY humorous!

    ” After much prodding, I told him I wanted white go-go boots like the dancers on the Ed Sullivan (or was it Red Skelton?) show.”

    HAHAHAHAHHAAHA! OMG…how funny!!!!

    I can so understand your previous aversion to velvet because I feel the same way about silk. I know silk is soft and smooth, but the feel of it on my skin makes me cringe. To me, wearing a silk shirt feels as though I’m wearing a scuba diving rubber suit. Also, even though silk is a light-weight material, it’s very hot. And you know me, I can’t stand being hot 😦

    Have a FAB day, my friend!


  2. Isn’t it funny how we develop these aversions to certain things early in life, then (maybe or maybe not) growing up from them? I’m that way about clowns. And monkeys. And birds in the house. Oh, and Santa. Definitely Santa. No way was I gonna sit on that guy’s lap!

  3. This was really well-written. Even though I don’t share your aversion to velvet, your descriptions made my skin crawl, too. All these years later, even. Now I am thinking about Joey Heatherton wearing white go-go boots on the Dean Martin show. See what you’ve done? Kudos. EFH

  4. I love this imaginative post with the intriguing details! I always loved velvet, but got so in touch with your reaction that it stuck with me too, at least for a bit. Now that’s effective writing! I can’t stand to rub my hand over cotton fabric. It seems to suck every hint of moisture from my skin or something. I shudder even writing about it. Wearing cotton is okay. I can touch it. Just not caress it.

  5. I agree with you about velvet – it’s lovely to look at, horrid to touch. Satin is lovely to look at and to touch, but horrid to sleep on (unless you like sliding out of bed).

  6. I feel that way about man-made materials like polyester. Oddly, with me though, it’s the smell of plastic that hits me when I get near polyester. I think it’s an allergy. But then I have allergies to anything lower than 14 carat gold. I also have allergies to domestic cars. I cannot drink champagne from anywhere but France. Yeah, I’m high maintenance. (But I do like velvet.)

  7. An adversion to velvet… SuziCate, you are unique! But I am glad you out grew it.

    I don’t think I’ve ever worn a velvet dress. Hmm… I’ll have to ask my mother. but wool on the other hand, makes me itch just thinking about it!

  8. I agree with the cotton ball thing. I can’t for the life of me remember anyone ever coming to our house dressed as Santa. Maybe I was so traumatized by it that I blocked it from memory!

    • It was Peg Clark! We were sitting in the room off th piano room, the one with the protuding bay windows. I only remeber Santa, Mama, and Daddy. I only remember because I was traumatized!

  9. Velvet never bothered me, but I adored the sound of silk and the feel as two pieces were rubbed together.

    I can’t wear angora! I love it, but I break out in big itchy welts.

    I had a pair of those white go-go boots! I remember the dress I had on the first time I wore them…a white sailor-girl’s mini dress. I felt so hot! 😀

  10. I had a similar thing with velvet (still do) – it’s fine if I brush it the smooth direction, but if I touch it against the grain it sends a shiver down my spine. Odd…

    As a child, I also had an aversion to ruffled ankle socks and patent leather shoes. (Alright, I just didn’t like them.)

    • Ewe, just the thought of rubbing it in the wrong direction made me scrunch my shoulders and cringe!
      I hated those ruffle socks, too…However, I loved the patent leather shoes…only because I was forced to wear some gross leather orthos for two years…yeah, there will be a post coming up soon about this!

  11. How strange. What you describe (so vividly, I might add) is not a simple aversion or allergy. It is out and out panic. If you believe in reincarnation, it might be a previous experience…like being dressed in velvet for a marriage you despised, or to be taken to your own beheading (ewww, that one makes me shudder).

    I have many stories I could tell about how I always hated traveling east but felt successful traveling west or why I could never let anyone touch my throat, and other tales, until I understood why. Then the fear/panic/aversion went away. Ah, well, all for another day. Glad you overcame it, suzi.

  12. Wow. Sounds like you could have been on that show “Obsessed”. Glad to hear you grew out of it and you can now enjoy the softness of velvet.

    I cringe when I think about those wooden “spoons” that used to come with cups of ice cream at school when I was a child. The thought of that spoon on my tongue …….. ewwww. But a “real” wooden spoon, not a problem.

  13. I know this is an old post, but I’m commenting anyways. I can’t stand velvet. I can hear it. My sister touches it in a store and I get chills down my spine, even if I don’t see it, I just know. Same for peaches.

    • I totally get it. For the most part my aversion dissipated, but occasionally I can touch it or a cotton ball and I get chill bumps all down my arms and back. Weird, huh?

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