GC and I went to the World AIDS Day Gala the other night. We had to buy clothes and get haircuts and everything. I even wore makeup, which was professionally applied by a makeup artist since I don’t know how to do that yet.
I may not be good at dressing up, but I do have some pretty good resources at my disposal.
First thing I did was solicit GC’s help. His job was to accompany me on shopping trips, and tell me what looked good and what didn’t, and to be brutally honest about it.
I emailed my big sister, the one who knows how to dress up. On the whole, my family embraces comfort over style and we tend to like “the natural look” and “windswept hair.” In other words, we are a little unkempt. Except for my big sister, who likes to shop and wear nice things, and even knows how to accessorize. She says things like “Why not get a classic little black dress? You can dress it up or dress it down, depending on the occasion.” (But she doesn’t just say it…she actually knows how to do it.) Sometimes we laugh at her, like the time we went to Florida for a week and she packed nine pairs of shoes, but when there’s a gala on our calendar, she’s the one we call.
We live in different cities, so she had to dress me up from a distance. She talked me through the process and sent me to Bayshore. GC and I shopped, and he gave the first three dresses the brutally honest thumbs down. Then we got lucky and the next two were both good. We had a hard time deciding between them, so we let the salesperson decide. By the time we were done, we had a dress and three accessories.
I sent my sister a picture of the dress, and she said it was gorgeous.
“I wouldn’t wear black hose if I were you,” she wrote. “Get sheer instead.”
“What is hose and where does one buy it?” I wrote back.
“Pantyhose,” she said. “You can get it at the drug store. Be prepared, though – it’s $8 now.”
Ohhhh. Pantyhose. I thought everybody stopped wearing pantyhose in the 70s, but maybe that was just me. My sister says you can get away with bare legs in the summer, but pantyhose is mandatory at this time of year. (I don’t know if that’s an aesthetic thing, or a weather thing.)
I went to the drug store and found the pantyhose aisle. There were racks and racks of it. I figured out the sizing, and then I hunted until I found a sheer in my size. I gave them a twenty dollar bill and got a five and some change back.
On the day of the gala, I dressed in the hotel room. I took the pantyhose out of the package and looked at it. It was black. That’s when I noticed that the package said “Sheer Black.” It crossed my mind that maybe it turns sheer when you put it on, so I put it on. Unfortunately, as I was pulling them on, I touched them incorrectly and got a run from my ankle up my calf, so I had to throw them away. Just like that, poof! No more pantyhose! Bare legs.
I put on the shoes I got from Value Village a few months ago, the ones I wear for job interviews. They’re not very comfortable, but they’re better than most grown-up lady shoes. At least I can walk in them.
And off I went to the gala, where I drank fancy cocktails with star-shaped fruit in them, rubbed shoulders with influential people, and nibbled on gourmet chocolates. Nobody could tell I don’t know how to dress up, unless they happened to notice my bare legs.