Sometimes I do try to be ladylike, but I have to admit, it does not come naturally to me.
As a kid I cycled between extreme girlyness and I-can-beat-you-up tomboyism, and my adult self tends more naturally toward the latter, although I do enjoy dolling up from time to time. I like to think that I can, under pressure, clean up well. But sometimes the forces of nature conspire against me.
Yesterday I had two classy events to attend–The Trust for Public Land’s Earth Day Gala that my roommate helped to organize, and my friend Alanna’s going-away party. I decided to combine nostalgia and prettiness, and wore a lovely polyester 70s-style dress that Alanna gave to me a few months ago. I even wore tights. That’s dedication right there.
After work, I walked to the Kimpton Hotel where the TPL event would be held. Once I found the hotel, and noticing how nice everyone around me looked, I straightened my spine, put on my highest society look, and sashayed into the building. I was doing pretty well. No one sounded any alarms. No one knew off the bat that I lacked the pedigree to be there.
By the time I made it to the Grand Ballroom, I was feeling pretty good. Home free. I had successfully camouflaged myself. Maybe I didn’t look like I had as much money as the next person there, but I didn’t look like a homeless person either. I strutted into the main ballroom, handed my roommate my bag for safekeeping, and removed my coat.
Funny thing, polyester. In true Biblical fashion, like cleaves to like. (That’s a Bible quote, right? I bet you don’t know either.) Turns out the inner lining of my H&M coat is polyester, too. And during my entire 30-minute walk, my coat lining and my dress had been cozying up to each other. Sparks had been flying, literally. They decided to get closer. And closer. And closer.
So when I removed my coat, in the middle of the ballroom full of sustainable gourmet food and people who make more in a month than I do in a year, it took me a couple of seconds to realize that my skirt was not in the correct position.
Was it twisted? It was twisted. Was it higher than usual? It was higher than usual. How much higher? Well…you know the part of the lower back where the affectionately-termed “tramp stamp” resides on a certain class of woman? It was about there.
Maybe no one noticed, I thought as I quickly-but-smoothly pulled my skirt down to knee level. Conversations are still happening, no one has shrieked, and I don’t hear any laughter. I pulled my head up as high as possible, put on my haughty look, and did the sane thing–pretended that nothing had happened.
I risked a look to the left, then to the right. No one winked or smiled knowingly. No one was stifling laughter. I’d gotten away with something more mortifying than toilet paper stuck to the shoe. I felt good. I felt like a heady combination of invisible and invincible. I was invisi-vincible!
I walked over to my roommate to start schmoozing, shook the hand of one of her coworkers, made a bit of small talk. Then my friend Chris, the other of our friends at the event, sidled up to me.
“Chris! I didn’t know you’d be here. You look sharp,” I said, admiring his suit jacket and tie.
“You too,” he said. “Although I must admit, I’m a little disappointed.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, when you took off your coat, I was hoping that you’d leave things the way they were. Everybody likes a bold fashion choice.”
It may or may not have happened again at party number two.
Next time I’m leaving it.