Saturday, June 19, 2010

When Outfits Attack

Life after 40 is not for the easily embarrassed. I am in a process of reflection to decide whether I can live with that truism or if I need to seek other options. As the other options are looking bleak, I'm temporarily embracing the ludicrous in my life and sharing in the hopes that the cosmic joke is meant to be laughed at.

I have had so many humiliating moments lately that I decided for the sake of sanity and brevity to share only one category today. And the winner is: sartorial humiliation.

(Warning: this post is not a great one for men, my mother, the easily embarrassed, or anyone with a shred of personal dignity. If you have given birth, breast fed in public, been employed as a health care worker, or would rather laugh at me than realize you've been wasting your life on sudoku and bad television then this is the post for you.)

First Episode: Clothing Confusion

I arrived at work two weeks ago feeling well-rested and enthusiastic. As my boss is also my husband I figured he'd be doubly pleased to be in my ebullient presence. I practiced being a happy morning person on the children and the other parents delivering their kids to school. I assumed that the surprised smiles on the parents were affirmations that people love cheerful and energetic. What a stupid ninny I am.

At work I bounded up the stairs, merrily opened the door to the office, and called out in my best Debbie Reynolds impression, "Good Mornin'!" The boss was out. Our best friend, co-worker, and chief heckler was in. "What happened to you?" he muttered. Not the reaction I was hoping for.

"Good night's sleep I guess," and in an attempt to remain positive I launched into some of the many hopes I had for the day ahead that I had been considering on the way to work. I was coming to the end of my list and wrapping up with an expansive arm gesture when I felt a breeze that no woman ever wants to feel suddenly at work.

For want of a better term, I'll call it a nippular breeze.

With my arms still spread wide I looked down to blessedly NOT see my own nipple. What I did see was both explanatory and briefly more perplexing.

The source of the nippular breeze was a strange gap in my dress at the cleavage. The gap was caused by a stiff piece of fabric known in some circles as a tag. This fabric looked suspiciously like the tag in the back of the dress but I wondered, who puts a tag in the... front of... oh NO! With a trail of decidedly un-cheerful expletives behind me, I dashed into the bathroom, took off my dress, and turned it right way round with the last of my energy for the day.

Upon returning red-faced and discouraged to the office lobby the heckler said, "Don't worry. You didn't flash me. It was just hanging in a way that made your butt look huge." How very comforting.

I eventually confessed to this morning horror on Facebook hoping for some, "I do that all the time" comments. Instead many friends ruptured appendixes and gallbladders as well as spitting perfectly good coffee out their sinuses guffawing at my expense. Oddly, I still felt better.

Oh, if only that were my sole tale of clothing woe...

My lifelong friend turned 40 last week and was planning a great big night of: nothing. I kidnapped her for a full schedule of fine dining and crazy karaoke wearing her favorite color in a pair of pants that I made at least 6 years ago. I have only worn these pants a few times because they are quite dramatic. They are essentially wrap-around pants and a stiff breeze can show an acre of thigh. I was well prepared for this and wore a blouse that was rather long for some coverage, while being attentive when I sat down to keep the side vents closed.

If only I had been more attentive to the ties.

Anyone who has ever worn anything wrap-around knows that the ties are crucial. In these pants the front tie is particularly important. Why anyone would put a crucial tie in the front where it can be sneakily undone by a seat belt on the twenty minute ride to the birthday girl's house so that when a person gets out of the car the entire back of the pants falls to the ground leaving a person standing with a two yard long apron in the front and causing a shocking breeze that for want of a better term can only be described as an assular breeze in the back... is beyond me.

When that cool assular breeze blew past my behind I screamed like I had been shot. I sat down very fast but I couldn't stop laughing and tears were running down my face, so my daughter and friend panicked thinking I was having some sort of a fit.

As I tried in vain to communicate my predicament, all I could think of was that I was wearing a pair of back-of-the-drawer underwear. They reside there because the pattern on them is so loud they can be heard even under denim. They are the vuvuzela of panties and here I had just flashed half her apartment complex with them.

My friend swears no one saw, but I think my daughter had temporary partial blindness and I know that the security cameras, some satellites, and the man on the other moon caught it.

Final Episode: Making One's Own Mayhem

For our final vignette of the day I will share with you some sartorial humiliation in the making.

Because I am demented (it really is the only possible explanation) I have decided to make my own underwear. This idea came to me at an outdoor concert where my store bought undergarments were not cooperating with the rest of my outfit. Enough said on that. Use your imagination. (Oh, now she gets discreet.)

At that uncomfortable concert I thought, "Pants, blouses, jackets and shoes don't fit me... why should I expect underwear to fit me? I make some of my own clothes. I should make my own undies."

Thinking just like this is how the world ended up with toxic waste, nasty fast-food, and bad TV.

If only I hadn't gone through with it, but after much consternation, very little research, and some pre-sewing bragging... I made me some underwear this afternoon.

I am wearing this article of clothing... RIGHT NOW and I am about to get in the car for a 90 minute drive. Say what you will, but I question if anyone at Exxon, BP or Three Mile Island could possibly be as stupid as I am. This is a disaster in the making.

Did I mention that I did not use a pattern? I just took another pair of underwear from the drawer (front of the drawer this time) and cut fabric around it.

Did I mention that I did not use elastic? Elastic seems to be the source of my woes in other undergarments so I decided to skip it. I wonder why they even put elastic in panties? I bet I'll know the answer to that question by the end of the day.

Did I mention that I don't own a serger? All the sewers reading this just passed out on the floor. For those of you still conscious, making women's undies without elastic or a serger is like building a house without anything sharp and nothing to pound stuff with. A person might could still get away with it if a person had a pattern… oops.

Did I mention that I got front and back, inside and outside all confused? With the right combination of those mistakes everything could work out. You already know that I did not get the right combination, don’t you?

Did I mention that I tried to take a picture with my phone of the article in question on the behind in question and that was almost more humiliating than every other story I have told today? My thinking on this was that with a picture I could see what they looked like, because having not gotten into a car yet, they feel just fine. The good news – the photos were all blurry and are all deleted. The bad news – turns out that patterns are very, very important and that every warning you have ever heard about stripes is true.

In case you have not formed a full visual yet, there I am in the middle of the afternoon standing in my kitchen squinting at a blurry picture of my fanny crookedly clad in a pair of undies that may be on backwards and are definitely inside out when I hear the voice of Stevie Nicks singing "Landslide" in my head. I start humming along as I scroll then delete. Scroll, squint, gasp in shock, delete.

"If you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills, the landslide will bring it down..."

Lovely tune. That's when it hits me: these panties make my behind look like a landslide took out my right cheek. No amount of hitching seems to put that snow covered hill back together again. Oh heavens. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

For those of you looking for the big spiritual meaning in all of this, I'm with you. At the most obvious, I need a tailor. More subtle are the lessons I have yet to learn. Perhaps today, particularly in the next 90 minutes, I am going to learn essential life and sewing lessons, all of which should decrease future embarrassments of aging. Maybe by sharing these humiliations I am becoming a wiser person.

One thing I know for sure, should I end up in an ER today, somebody is in for quite a surprise.

"Doctor, we don't know what happened to her but some sort of disaster has befallen her britches."

No dignity. No dignity at all.


Death Becomes Her said...

Sorry about the formatting. My computer was trying to intervene via complicated html to keep me from sharing this madness. Nice try.

Incognito said...

So glad I was not drinking and reading, as my computer keyboard and screen would have been irrepairably damaged from my spewing with laughter; you made my day once again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful bit of much needed humor. I was laughing out loud - not so much at your predicament but more at the fantastic way in which you captured it. As someone who routinely looks in the mirror at the end of the day and realizes that a mix of bad lighting and a lack of AM caffeine resulted in an egads! outfit that I have flitted about in all day, I'm in total sympathy with you!

Death Becomes Her said...

This has been the most comment provoking post ever. I have received over 30 Facebook comments, emails, and blog comments this week. Accidentally showing one's ass seems to be a universal human truth. I knew there was a spiritual message in here somewhere.

Christine said...

Of course -- everyone gets dressed in the dark now and then and ends up with mismatched shoes or something on backwards. But it's the bit with the panties that really got me. The visual of you in the kitchen singing about the "snow covered hills"... My face hurts from laughing.

ms. kitty said...

I am rolling on the floor laughing. Has it occurred to you to make a stab at taking over for Kathy Griffith?