Late this summer my lovely husband MDH, who aside from leaving the occasional empty beer can seemingly to mock me unrinsed, reeking and sitting on the kitchen counter directly beside the recycle bin, normally shows the utmost respect and concern for my feelings and best interests, signed us up for a commitment to attend a corporate event.
Without. Asking. Me.
And not just any corporate event but a swanky, black tie optional charity event that took place in Detroit this past Saturday.
At the time that he informed me of the event and his deciding all on his own without asking me first if I (even fucking) wanted to attend it already seemed like a giant pain in the ass but since he never subjects me to such affairs and it was one of the few events in which spouses are invited I agreed to go without (much) fussing.
The event was months away but I began the process of finding the right dress and seeing to various other details such as reassessing my Spanx situation (had to go another size up), and finding the right shoes and jewelry. Once the dress was purchased and altered and undergarment machinery in order I put them all away in the closet and proceeded to forget all about it until the reality of the event seemed to spring up from out of nowhere and smack me in the face last week.
In my normal every day life I have a wardrobe comfort zone like everyone else. I have a standard uniform in which I feel fairly confident about my looks. For public viewing I always (always) fix my hair and wear make up along with supportive, figure flattering bras. I am conscienious of VPL and hyper aware of camel-toe and make sure to avoid them at all costs. I get quite a lot of my clothes tailored to ensure a good fit. Even jeans. I do all of these things just with my every day stuff and I feel pretty good most of the time, but put me in a fancy dress at a formal event and all that confidence goes directly down the shitter.
I hate being dressed up for formal events with the white fiery passion of a million suns. It makes me feel like I'm in drag. Something is always off, like either my hair is frizzy or my mascara smudged. Most likely it's some kind of stain or mark on my outfit, but I guarantee whatever it is, I won't notice it until after I have already arrived at the event and it's too late to do anything about it. The best example: On my wedding day I shut my dress in the door of my dad's truck and proceeded to drive for twenty minutes with the bottom part of my dress blowing all around on the freeway, arriving for the ceremony with a big rip and nasty grey highway dirt all over my gown.
These kinds of moments are survivable, of course. Certainly there are greater concerns in the world than whether or not I have too much upper arm flap, sat on a cream cheese and salmon crudite or the top of panty hose has started rolling down toward my crotch. But still, in the throes of those moments I want to run crying back to my sweat pants with a pan of brownies and the promise of never being seen in public again.
I'm sure you can imagine that after a few depressing , unemployment collecting, sweatpant-sy, barely combing my hair months had gone by the degree to which I sure as shit would have preferred to have MDH drive over both of my legs in the street out in front of our house and leave me there to rot, rather than attend this stupid fucking semi-formal white man's overbite dancing, rubber chicken dinner event had escalated to blubbering hysteric hyperventilating and juvenile crying jag proportions.
Suffice it to say - I did not want to go.
I pulled the already altered, too late to return dress out of the closet and shrieked, Sleeveless!!! What the hell was I thinking??! I then proceeded to mentally tear it all apart: too short, too bright, too low cut, too fat, too much gray, too pale, too wrinkly... you name it, I found cause to fly into a hissy fit over it. We're talking epic freak out.
Shockingly the calming moment I longed for came not when I glared witheringly at MDH while standing directly in front of the TV, modeling my completed outfit and he, having been forced to look away from football for split second, grunted that everything looked "fine".
The calming moments came a few days later when he informed me of the proportion of the event, well over 700 people in attendance and I realized that in a crowd that size there were bound to be several women more hideous than me and when he showed me photos online from the previous year's event I began to feel downright sexy. Looking at the crowd of old drunken fools I knew it was all going to be OK.
By the time Saturday night rolled around and MDH and I strolled arm in arm out the door of our hotel room, heading to the ball room downstairs I actually did feel sexy. Hot rollered, face impeccable (not a blemish in sight), lipstick exactly the right color, jewelry in perfect proportion to neckline. Everything fell magically into place and MDH who for the past few months has been the poor soul mainly subjected to my dreary existence of sweatpants depression and withering glares lit up like a horny Christmas tree when I emerged from the bathroom, purring and aglow, all dolled up. He made all the proper advances.
We registered and had just lined up at the bar for the VIP cocktail hour moments after having our photo taken with a local celebrity (a baseball player?) when I noticed the hole about the size of a baby grand piano and subsequent runner in my stocking. When the fuck did that happen?
Free martinis went far to help me pretend like the hole and runner didn't exist until eventually I made my way to the ladies room where I ripped the stockings from my body and stuffed them into my tiny clutch purse (rather than throw them into the trash like any reasonably intelligent person would do - all the better I suppose to have yet another embarassing moment later in the evening in which I open my elegant clutch at the table to get a mint and the wadded up stockings burst out and onto the floor).
The free martinis didn't hurt either with helping me to mingle, socialize with total strangers and dance in the presence of a video camera. Yes, I said dance and video camera in the same sentence. People, I was drunkity drunk drunk.
Being the giver that I am, I can't but think of the forlorn, bedraggled woman whose husband signs her up for this crappy event (although the drinks were good and free) next year against her will (I guarantee you it fucking won't be me) and feels a surge of confidence when she sees my picture on the charity website - look at that drunken old fool.
As always, I'm here to help.