No dress to wear to the ball

Where’s my dress?

As I think about how my high school reunion weekend ended, terrifying memories of dress panic flash before me.  It feels like the trailer for a B rated movie.

We return from Croton Dam and from our walk along the Hudson,  It is time to get ready for dinner.  We are sitting with my prom date and a table full of old high school friends.  When you only see people once every 5, 10, 20, or many more years, you want to make a good impression. 

While I rarely stress over what to wear at home, where I actually see people who are a part of my every day life, here I am in a hotel room in New York freaking out over my clothes.  “What do you mean it’s not in the garment bag with your suit?” I am at wits end when I discover that we left my dress for the dinner dance home.

All of a sudden I am not a composed balanced woman of a certain age.  No, I am a trepid sixteen year old girl, weighing how I will be judged for not coming to the dance in a stylish dress.  They will laugh at me.  I will look terrible.  Everyone  else will be dressed to the nines, looking fabulous and I will walk in like this….”  I stand there in a pair of jeans.  My clean shirt is the one I bought at the football game the night before  with a big O in the middle and Ossining down the sleeve.  It is hot pink with maroon and white lettering

“I can’t go to the dinner dance looking like this, I will just stay in my room”  Scott starts to take off his suit not wanting to be more dressed than his ridiculous, immature and insecure wife.  “No, it’s okay you can keep the suit on.”  “I was never stylish anyway.  Nobody would expect me to be “   I say this with an “I guess I’ll just go home and eat worms attitude”    

Then comes the moment of clarity where I begin to laugh at myself and I realize that I am a grown woman.  I am not 16, I am not going to a high school dance  It just doesn’t matter. I am my grown up self again.   I put on my sporty hot pink shirt and have a blast at the dinner.  Thankful for a husband who didn’t make me feel ridiculous even when I was.    I was caught in a time warp, and my only embarrassment was that I cared in the first place.  How could this have ever mattered? 

13 thoughts on “No dress to wear to the ball

  1. As I read this, I was reminded of Sandra Cisneros’ story – Eleven. We really are all ages. And in tht moment, you describe your 16 year old self so well. I felt your embarassment and was sure you wou’ldn’t go until you became your older self and went and had a blast!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The fun part for me was that once again writing this, I slipped back into the 16 year old self feeling that the whole reunion conjured up and relived it again briefly while writing. Then I got to experience the relief of remembering all over again that wait… none of that really mattered anyway, and I’m all grown up now!
      I also love the story Eleven and had not made the connection.


  2. Oh boy, I can relate to this. I love your description of your melt down. A few years ago we went to my 50th college reunion, and I also forgot to bring my dinner garb. I was going to eat worms too, but my husband just smiled and told me I’d look good in anything. Aren’t we lucky we chose our spouses?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fabulous angst in this story -! Love these lines: ” It feels like the trailer for a B rated movie” and “When you only see people once every 5, 10, 20, or many more years, you want to make a good impression.” The humor so offsets the very real anxiety – a delight to read, and so relatable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love how this post reminds us of our younger selves and insecurities. Your slice sparked a long lost memory of crying at my Chinese reception when I realized we left the qipao in the hotel three hours away! So much fun to read how a bright pink top and your renewed perspective saved the day.

    Liked by 1 person

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