It all started with another one of my bright ideas. A few years back, I decided that my friends and I would all dress up and hit the town for my birthday. Girls in dresses, guys in ties.
The night came, and while thunder and rain crashed down outside, I was throwing dresses out of my closet, putting them on, taking them off, generally in a huff that I, the birthday girl, couldn’t decide what to wear. All the while, I’m fielding calls from friends stuck in traffic due to power outages, adding three last minute people to our already seventeen person reservation, and ensuring my friend whose wiper blade flew off on her way to my house was able to find a place to stop and get it repaired.
But with the perfect storm of weather and last minute logistics, also eventually came the perfect dress. It had been my grandmother’s in the 50’s, and I was waiting for just the right occasion on which to wear it. The black, pencil style bottom gave off a sleek and sophisticated vibe, while the turquoise sequin top added some old Hollywood glamour, with a bow for an extra splash of femininity. It was perfect.
Just one problem. Unlike my grandmother, who was small, petite and probably had a thigh gap when she wore it, I was right in the middle of training for a marathon. And as many amateur runners do, I had taken to the false logic that if I burned enough calories, I could eat whatever I wanted. So between gaining a few pounds from the McDonalds McDoubles, and the muscle I had gained from the miles I was running, my once shapeless frame now had a few new curves. A few more curves than this dress was made for.
Not to worry. A good old heave-hoe and I was in. A little uncomfortable maybe, but I looked fantastic. Taking no more than two inch strides, and sitting without bending at the waist would be worth it. That, anyway, is what I told myself.
We arrived downtown, parked the car and headed toward the restaurant. My friend and I were walking arm in arm, sharing an umbrella, laughing and strolling along. Things were coming together swimmingly. I felt great, I looked great, and I was about to spend a great evening with all my friends. And then, there was a puddle.
My friend, not being confined in a fabric prison like I was, decided to take a little leap over it. And walking arm in arm meant that I took the little leap with her.
Suddenly, the dress felt so much more roomy and comfortable. My strides were longer, my breaths were deeper. Ah yes, that’s because the dress had ripped straight up the back.
I reached back to get a sense of the damage, and as I did, I realized that all of Baltimore had full view of my tushy. (Luckily, I’m confident most people have seen worse fashion atrocities on the streets of Baltimore).
Safety pins. Must find safety pins. Does anyone have safety pins? Of course not. So one of my friends headed across the street to the CVS to find anything to put my dress back together, while another headed to a clothing store to find something else for me to put on (like pants, another dress, or say, a bag to put over my head…).
Meanwhile, I attempted to wipe the tears that were forming in my eyes, slap a fake smile on my face and head into the restaurant. All my friends were there. “You look beautiful! I love your dress!” they said. And as I tugged on my coat to keep the whole world from seeing my backside, I fought the tears that were welling up again, sat down on my bare bum and told them what had happened.
Thankfully, my friends always know how to turn a bad situation into a good one and kept me distracted with food and drinks until my other friends arrived back. No alternative clothing options had been found, but they had safety pins and a sewing kit in hand. I knew one day that middle school Home-Ec class would come in handy.
So off to the bathroom we went to get me fixed up. Except that, no matter how much we all tugged and pulled, it was no use. The fabric would not go back together. Its really a mystery how I even squeezed myself into the dress to begin with. I would just have to accept that I would spend the rest of the evening rocking a new fashion trend: the “distressed”, bare-bottomed dress with a built in breeze.
Then, I remembered something. Because of the storm and increased traffic, one of my friends was still running late, and one of my roommates was still at home and could let him in. I called, and my friend was able to stop and pick up another dress and deliver it to me at the restaurant. And like the classy lady that I am, I got dressed in the restaurant bathroom and emerged a new woman; happy, comfortable and covered.
Today, my grandmother’s dress still hangs in my closet, with its seams ripped and its threads frayed, as a reminder that a bad situation can always be turned around when good friends are involved.
So no matter the type of moment, good, bad or embarrassing, remember to embrace it, for you never know what a good story or treasured memory it might turn out to be.
“Be Proud of Everything You Do” is a place for me to share some of my most embarrassing, irrational, and awkward moments with you. I hope we can all learn that its ok to laugh at ourselves, walk away with confidence, and like my dad says, be proud of everything you do.