My daughter and I were on our way to meet friends at Barnes & Noble. As always, I was running late.
The only time it would ever interest me to scrub out the tub is when the car is packed to go on vacation. Similarly, I might start a blog entry when I’m supposed to meet someone, like today, in an hour.
The end result: I never take the time to properly put myself together. I wear the same clothes I slept in more often than the average bear.
On this particular Saturday night, as Rachel and I flew down the road, I looked down at myself and discovered I was wearing (1) camo pants, (2) a scarf & (3) an old 4x sweatshirt of my brother’s emblazoned “Fat City Tavern.”
I said to her,
“Oh my God, what was I thinking when I got dressed?”
and laughed like a freaking loon.
She stifled a giggle and bit her tongue. I could see her do it. There was something she was about to say but she stopped herself.
“What were you going to say? TELL ME! TELL ME NOW!”
Quite hesitantly she said,
“Well, I think that every day when I look at you.”
This led into an uproarious conversation that made me laugh and scream in equal measure.
“What?! What do you mean?!”
“Well, like when we go to bowling I think everyone there wonders if you’re nuts and why is Daddy married to you?”
This was truly one of the funniest things anyone had ever said to me.
I mean, if my presentation IN A RUNDOWN BOWLING ALLEY is that noticeably bad then I must be even worse than I realized.
I’ve always known that I do not dress like a normal middle-aged woman, not in the least. But, I asked her,
“If it’s that bad every week, how could you not tell me this is what you’re thinking?!”
Her reply: “Well, I think it’s funny. And I don’t want you to get mad!”
I mean, yes, if she told me my ass looked like the cheesy side of Mars when I still had two games to go, 48 more times bending over at the foul line, it would have thrown me. There’s a timing issue involved.
But she’s been sitting back laughing at me, enjoying my fashion ineptitude, never saying much of anything! Meanwhile, she’s wearing one of my best sweaters and has the sweetest perfect face done up with expensive make-up from Sephora, looking like the princess of the lanes.
This was all quite thrilling, someone actually saying what they really think about me, a dream come true.
She went on to say that last year at Great Adventure I’d walked out to the car to get a forgotten item and upon my return she saw me walking toward her and literally cringed at my appearance, a sweatshirt in 90 degree weather. No doubt a stained sweatshirt.
I was mortified at the idea I had embarrassed her.
“Oh no, I wasn’t embarrassed! I looked just fine! It’s kind of entertaining.”
I began asking about other specific items I’ve worn and asking her opinion. Each and every item, some which I believed were better than others, left her hooting and hollering over their hideous factor.
“What about that sleeveless shirt with the ruffles? And the black pants. That looked good, right?”
“Oh, I HATE THAT SHIRT! It’s just HORRIBLE! The print looks like you’re covered in a mud puddle. And those pants you wear, oh my God! Really, you should just let me dress you.”
She also mentioned I should change my hair from blonde to brown and told me when it’s down I look like I have a mullet. Her father was completely disgusted I would listen to her, said she’s a negative teenager who should not be taken seriously.
I think she’s just the most honest person I know.
* * *
The following Thursday, bowling night, I did not forget.
I called her into my room and we went through my drawers in an attempt to find a single outfit that might make people think I was “normal” or “attractive.”
Specifically, there is one uptight fellow, Rich, who always comments on my long-sleeved t-shirt covered with a paint-splattered Jimi Hendrix. At least 12 times Rich has suggested I’m wearing an Obama tee, no matter how many times I tell him differently.
I wanted Rich to be surprised by my outfit. So I began trying on clothes.
What the f*ck! I must be brain damaged. Who bought all this sh*t?! Half of the items are hand me downs from my children, ripped jeans from my son and pink shirts with dancing monkeys and hoods from my daughter.
After emptying my entire closet and dresser drawers, Rachel had come to the conclusion that nothing could make me look better, as I appear to have “a burrito” around my waist.
Yes, that’s what she called it.
Exasperatedly she also said “You’re shaped like a man, with no curves!”
I looked in the mirror and agreed. “I look lumpy.” It’s not about the clothes, it’s me!
It was really a weird kind of relief, a confirmation that I’m not nuts or completely lacking in fashion sense. There are perfectly good reasons why I dress like I do.
I’d rather look like a wackjob than a frumpy housewife.
Truth in advertising.