So, Otto and I are going to a gala next week.
A GALA. I have never been to a gala. I’m pretty sure my hair isn’t shiny enough for such a thing, but now that I have this awesome haircut, we’re going to attempt it.
Actually, it’s a fundraiser. And while we, personally, are not obligated to raise any money (I mean, beyond the essential organs Otto had to sell to buy the tickets), Otto is sort of obligated to be there because of his job. I think. I don’t really know; he informed me that we’re going and I should wear something pretty.
Now, this may come as a COMPLETE SHOCK, but I don’t get out much. (You can take me anywhere twice—the second time to apologize.) And generally, that’s perfectly fine with me. But I was unexpectedly excited about the news we’d be getting dolled up for the evening.
A number of years ago, while shopping at what my friends and I used to refer to as “the rich Goodwill,” I bought a fancy Jones New York gown.
For $6. (SIX!!!! DOLLARS!)
Oddly enough, my everyday life as a freelancer working in my pajamas and/or a mother providing taxi service does not often call for a floor-length evening gown.
So Otto said “gala” and I thought “GOWN!” Finally I was going to have the chance to wear my beautiful gown! My fabulous bargain! WOOOOOO!
We arranged for a sitter and maybe talked about it once or twice, but for the most part it wasn’t on my mind. Until last week, when it occurred to me that maybe I should try that gown on, you know, just to see which shoes I should wear. (Translation: To see if I could justify buying a new pair of shoes.)
So I walked into my closet and found the gown and pulled it off the hanger and put it on.
And realized that when I bought it, there was a little bit less of me to love. Okay, fine; five to ten pounds less of me to love. I mean, I was able to put the dress on, but I was unwilling to leave the house in it.
“I need to buy a new dress,” I grumped to Otto. “Because I AM FAT.”
“You are NOT FAT,” he replied. And then he probably ran for cover, because he is smart and there is no reasoning with a woman who has just seen her beautiful evening gown strain across her hips.
So I went shopping. And then I went shopping again. And again. And my friends started offering to lend me clothes. And I started threatening to send Otto off to the gala stag, while I stayed home with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
I made a friend go shopping with me ONE LAST TIME, because I am running out of time before the gala, and also, LOSING THE WILL TO SHOP. We went to a few different stores before hitting Ann Taylor Loft, where I also did not find a dress.
But I found some pants! And I like pants. Not for a gala, you understand, but for other things. And by that time I was depressed about my failure to find a fancy dress, and the pants were on clearance, so I bought them.
HOWEVER, when the chirpy sales lady came to ask me how I was doing (while I was showing the pants to my friend, in the dressing room), I said, “Well, I think these fit. Though I do seem to be having an underwear malfunction.”
(See? The oversharing sometimes happens in real life, too.)
Any men reading this are probably confused, but any women understand completely: Different underwear goes with different pieces of clothing. I was wearing the right underwear for the pants I’d worn out for the day, but the wrong underwear for the new pants. No matter; I could battle the panty lines without much of a problem. In fact, I stopped at one more store and on a whim grabbed a, erm, shaping garment. I figured it’d be great to wear under the pants.
This evening my friend stopped by with a few dresses for me to try on, and amongst them was an adorable Little Black Dress with spaghetti straps. It fit! But I don’t own a strapless bra, because I’m a weirdo. And because I don’t own anything strapless. We discussed this and concluded that the odds of my finding a suitable bra before next week were still higher than the odds of me finding a damn dress, so I thanked her profusely for the loan and put her dress in my closet.
And then I decided to try on my new pants again, before putting them in the closet. And as long as I was trying them on, I figured I’d try them on with the new shaper I’d bought. So I did that, and greatly admired the effect—they really shouldn’t call it a shaper. They should call it a a sucker-in-er. Or maybe a DISAPPEARER. I mean, the pants fit totally differently, now.
All of which is to say, that was when the lightbulb went off over my head.
I took off the pants, but left the shaper on.
And then I put on my $6 Jones New York Evening gown.
And it fit just fine.
And I probably won’t even tell this story to anyone AT the actual gala!
(As long as I don’t have more than one glass of wine, anyway.)