I have done LOST MY MIND.
My adorable niece got engaged last Christmas. She and her brother are two of my favorite people on the planet. They’re my husband’s redneck brother’s kids. His ex got us in the divorce, and we couldn’t be happier. I could write an entire book about him and his second wife, but I won’t for fear of him one day being able to afford a computer and her learning how to read.
Suffice it to say that he wore a tangerine Hawaiian shirt with cut-off sleeves and khakis to his son’s wedding (it was not a barbeque wedding; it was an elegant affair in Duke University’s beautiful chapel), and she once shaved her head because she lost a bet. She also showed up at my mother-in-law’s funeral with red, white and blue hair. Very patriotic.
Because I love my niece so very much, I was honored when she asked us to attend a swanky engagement party her college roommate’s parents are throwing for her in DC in a couple of weeks.
Did you ever get really excited about being invited to something then end up in a full blown panic ten days before the event because you have NOTHING TO WEAR??
Side Note: Kudos to my husband for chewing his tongue out of his mouth instead of pointing out the fact that I have slowly assumed four of the seven available closets in our home (including the entire walk-in closet in the master bedroom) with clothes for every conceivable event. It takes years of marital conditioning to achieve the self-control necessary to swallow those words. YEARS.
Wellll, it rained today. So, like any self-respecting woman on a rainy vacation day would do, I pulled my greasy hair into a ponytail, grabbed my wallet and headed out the door to partake in some retail humiliation.
After stopping into a few of the boutiques on Rehoboth Avenue and finding nothing that would cover both my chubby knees and my flabby upper arms, I headed over to the White House/Black Market. They have such a lovely selection. You know, if you’re 5’10” and built like a 12-year old Cambodian boy.
As soon as I walked into the store, a black and white horizontal striped tank dress caught my eye.
You know what I like about horizontal stripes? Nothing. They’re awful. Criminal, really. Their only purpose is to give everyone the impression that the person wearing them is nothing more than a reflection in a circus mirror.
And yet, the design seemed so flattering with its slight (slimming) ruching, its small cut-out in the upper back and that adorable little black patent leather belt designed to sit at the bottom of the rib cage. Did I mention that the fabric had a lot of give? OMG, it was so soft and stretchy! And you know we chubby girls love us some stretch!
Pfft. No way.
And then came Megan. Fresh-faced, happy, wrinkle-free, pert-titted Megan. I hated her the moment I laid eyes on her. I knew she was up to no good, but, before I knew it, she had me under her spell.
Megan: Did you want to try that on? Isn’t it gorgeous??? Did you notice the cute little cut-out in the back? OMG, it’s so flattering! You should totally try it on!
Me (rubbing the supple fabric as if it were George Clooney himself): Oh. I don’t know. I’m just kind of looking around.
Megan: C’mon back, let’s see how it looks on you! I think it’s going to look great on your curves!!
Me: I think you underestimate the enormity of my curves.
And yet I followed her back to the fitting room.
Megan: I love your capris! We have some just like them! You would LOVE them! You should totally try on a pair!!
My capris. My Kohl’s Levis stretch denim capris with the high waistline. My mom capris. The ones that I had paired with my lime-green Old Navy ‘Sprite…It’s Clearly The Best’ throwback t-shirt.
I was the picture of frumpiness and she wanted to duplicate it with a $78 pair of White House/Black Market capris.
Naturally, I ignored that suggestion.
She scurried me into the fitting room with nothing but a curtain.
I don’t know about you, ladies, but I like me a fitting room with a real door. And a lock. Never more than today.
Megan: I’m going to go get you a pair of black heels to try on with the dress!! What size shoe do you wear?
Me: Size 8.
Megan: Great! I’ll grab a pair of those capris, too, while I’m out there!
Me: I won’t fit into your capris, Megan. I wear a 14.
Megan: No worries! I’ll be right back!!
She returned in about seven seconds with the cutest pair of black patent leather wedge sandals I’ve ever seen.
Wicked animal. I wasn’t even in the market for shoes today!
I put the dress on and it fit like a glove. A surgical glove. It clung to every curve and felt so nice on. And, you know what? A tummy tuck comes in pretty handy with a form-fitting horizontal-striped dress. I mean, my huge thighs bulged out a bit and my ass was practically screaming to get out, but it kind of worked! And the sandals? OMG, they were perfect. I looked great! You know, except for my head. And my enormous arms.
Just as I was thinking about whether I could bear to have my arms displayed in a roomful of beautiful people, Megan reappeared.
Me: I don’t know. What do you think?
Megan: We have the perfect little black shrug in case you get cold!
‘In case you get cold’ is retail speak for ‘Yikes! Cover that shit up, STAT!’
Megan: I’m wearing one right now! Do you know how long I’ve had it? I’ve had it four years! I wash it all the time! It’s the greatest little shrug ever!
Me: OK. Sure. I guess so.
She was back six seconds later with the shrug and a pair of denim capris. How did she do that??
Megan: Here! I found the capris! Try them on!
Me: Oh. I don’t know…I –
Megan: OMG! I have the prettiest top to go with them! I’ll be right back! You’re going to look so cute!!!
She returned with two dressy tank tops: a black one with a white design on the tank straps and neckline, and a silky royal blue one with ruffles.
Ruffles are the natural enemy of 46-year old curvy women. They make us look like fat toddlers.
Megan: OMG! That shrug would look so great with the blue one! Try them on!
As soon as she left, I started to squeeze myself into the capris. I was twisting and turning and pulling and wiggling and grunting as I crammed the last of my ass into them, when I turned around and there she was. Standing with the curtain pulled to the side. No knock or anything. Like we were besties or something.
Megan: Look! I found you these earrings!! They’re black studs! They’ll look so cute with the dress! And they’ll even work with the tanks! Day or night! (stopping to slowly look down at my lower half) OMG! You know what? Our capris are always a little tight! They have a lot of give, though! You just have to stretch them out! How did you like the tanks?
I stood there staring at her, unable to bend my knees or move anything but my upper body because the capris were stuck on me like scuba pants.
Me: I think I’m going to pass on the capris and the tanks. I’ll meet you at the register.
One dress, a pair of sandals, a shrug, a pair of black stud earrings and a car payment later, I left the store.
If this retail thing doesn’t work out, Megan could have a very illustrious career selling crack.