It started out like any other Tuesday: I was wandering through my neighborhood Kohls, running my hands across soft cargo pants as I skipped down the aisle. Armed with a “50% off” coupon and a can-do attitude, I was ready to revamp my style. That’s when I saw it, or rather, her: a white dress with a ruffled collar, floral detailing on the shoulders, and two blue tassels hanging down as if they had nary a care in the world. The low-cut neckline screamed “flirtatious,” while the below-the-knee length screamed “socially and fiscally conservative.”

I’d like to preface that at no point did I want to become deep in the throes of a Pagan cult, but when I slipped that floral dress over my head in the dressing room, before I knew it, I was hand in hand with my fellow cult members, encircling a burning effigy of Baldur, God of Lights, and singing a Nordic hymn. I was completely taken aback, as I discovered that the dress had pockets.

Sure, I was surprised that everyone inexplicably knew my name and expected me to procreate with Ägir such that our child could serve as an offering to Freyja, Goddess of Abundance and Fertility, but what was I supposed to do? Take the dress off? And risk being transported back to the bland world of constricted legs and sleeves? You first, buddy.

Ägir and I actually started to hit it off. He assured me that he loved the dress, even when I periodically asked, “Really? It’s not, like, too much for my frame? Is it okay with my skin tone? Cause sometimes white can really wash me out, you know?” Our relationship was mutually beneficial: I gave him a son—Yngvar—and he told me my dress wasn’t “too Coachella.” Sure, watching those elders jump off the ättestupa was a little freaky, but I would have done the same thing if I hadn’t managed to find the perfect getup for the sommar and foll.

Everything was going well until one day, as we were weaving flower crowns, this girl Madison appeared beside me out of thin air. She had on a floral dress, too, and was really pulling it off. “Um, where am I?” she asked me, “Do you work here? At the Kohls?” The audacity of this woman! Would an employee of the Kohl’s be draped in such festive yet formal attire? Would an employee of the Kohl’s be able to nail this carefree, sun-kissed look as well as I was? As they say in Swedish, “rüde.”

I ran off in a huff and pulled Ägir into our cow hide tent. “Does she wear it better?” I asked him, barely holding back tears. “The dress. Does Madison wear it better?” He was silent. “Tell me, you coward,” I screamed, falling to the ground. “TELL ME!”

“Yes,” he whispered, unable to meet my eyes, “Madison’s sundress is super cute. Effortless yet eye-catching, classic yet contemporary.”

I was crushed. There was nothing to do but wordlessly slip my floral dress over my head, and when I opened my eyes, I found myself back in that same dressing room as if no time had passed. I considered buying the outfit as a reminder of my journey and the humility that Madison taught me, but I decided not to. If I’m being honest, it actually was a bit too Coachella.

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