I recently made a last minute decision and attended a Tart Festival with a friend.
No, not that kind of tart, although based on some of my recent encounters, like the guy who called me at work and my cell number popularity, I can see why you might be raising your eyebrows. Then again, you also don’t know my friend!
This Tart Festival involved butter tarts. An entire outbuilding in the Fair Grounds lot lined with bakery kiosks displaying nothing but butter tarts. Each bakery had won trophies in their local Fairs, and they were duking it out for the title: Queen of Tarts.
Judges were blind tasting tarts from every bakery, looking for things like colour, thickness of pastry and ooziness.
There were some interesting flavours involving alcohol (Kahlua and Fire Whiskey), meat (bacon), and candy (marshmallow and skittles). But, like my Dad, I’m a traditionalist, so I brought home 6 butter tarts: plain, pecan, maple, maple walnut, raisin…and pecan again (because I like candied nuts)!
It only seemed appropriate (when you’re at a tart festival) to slink over to the Designer Shoe Sale next door. We weren’t willing to pay designer prices, even designer sale prices, but we had fun checking out the fashions. Rows and Rows of shoes.
Feathers and ruffles. Sunny golden suns and sweet tarts. Patent leather and satin. Chunky heels and super spikes. Buckles and straps. And things I couldn’t quite identify!
We also amused ourselves by checking out the heavily-laden baskets of some of the shoppers. “Lady Gaga” amused us the most. She was a tiny, heavy set middle aged lady with thin, greasy grey hair. But she was following my manifesto and who am I to judge?
Sweet tarts and sexy shoes… a perfect weekend tour for a couple of “tarts”, right?
If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. – Katherine Hepburn
As if facing the hated shopping trip for undergarments wasn’t enough to tax the stalwart, in less than a week, I also forged into bathing suit territory with iron determination to come out with my dignity intact.
You may be thinking…didn’t you just buy a bikini last year? Yes, I did! And it’s perfect for swimming in my Mom’s pool. My parents have said they’ll love me no matter what, and I have already scarred my kids for life. I mean, they were doomed from the moment they were conceived. But this year we’re going to a beach where I can only assume will be covered with half-starved babes with perfect hair in brightly coloured, postage stamp-sized lycra. And where there are beach babes, there will be men of all ages lusting after them. Hopefully not also wearing brightly coloured, postage stamp-sized lycra. [shudder]
“I feel attractive in a bathing suit”, thought no woman ever. “Let’s go bathing suit shopping” said no woman ever. Not unless she is suffering the serious side effects of starvation. [If this happens, feed her immediately!] No woman enjoys the experience of stripping nearly naked in a tiny cubicle with unkind lighting and multiple mirrors. Something happens once we cross the dressing room threshold and close the door. Our femininity transform into something troll-like and our confidence puddles around our ankles. A dainty gazelle becomes a floundering hippo. No amount of chocolate can truly soothe the bruising our self-esteem takes when the (unrealistic) image we have in our mind of how this beautiful item will look on us, is crushed like a spider with a shoe. It’s a swift slap that stuns and stings. Long after we’ve left the dressing room.
Monday morning, I ventured into the store minutes after it opened. Fewer witnesses to see me sweating through my dress. The 12 year old, size 0 store clerk was cheerful and not pushy, which I appreciated. I browsed…and left the store. Baby steps.
Bathing suit stores are Little Shops of Horrors.
An hour later.
After some deep breathing exercises, I returned to the store, much to the surprise of the store clerk, and bravely explained my concerns. I need support! Moral and for the girls! Since it’s the beginning of July, most of their stock is gone [winter stock is on its way], but the store clerk earned her pay pulling a few suits that were close to my size, and whisked me to the back. They were all black [except one that made me look like an obese worm]. I guess black is slimming?
I tried her first pick, a tiny black number that required 3 tiny hangars. My inner babe had high hopes. This suit was cut as an “X” and looked amazing. On the hangar. Instead, it was amazingly difficult to figure out. Once the hangars were removed, I was confused. How am I supposed to wear on a slingshot? Which strap went where, and why isn’t that covering there. Suddenly an albino hippo was oozing out around the waist. Other things were oozing out too. It got so ridiculous, I actually laughed out loud. I think I scared the little clerk hovering beyond the blue curtain. I know I scared my sexy inner babe! She may never be seen again!
There was also this:
After nearly half an hour of sweating, grunting, moaning and elastic snapping, I did find a simple black suit that will do. That was the good news.
The bad news? I cheated with Henry again. And I enjoyed it.
Avoiding humiliation is the core of tragedy and comedy. John Guare
There’s no way around it! Shopping for undergarments is always a humiliating experience. From trying to judge the correct size inconspicuously on the sales floor, to stripping down in those tiny cubicles, to trying to squeeze into said item…and sometimes getting stuck. There’s nothing inspiring about your reflection under the harsh lighting. You look more like a ripe Anju pear with one arm, squatting awkwardly with one the arm flailing aimlessly over your head, your body trapped in a mini dress with a size tag double what you tried on the last time!
So whatever possessed me to try on a “slimming garment”? Was it the sleek lines it promised? The price on the tag? Or the brand name? I think it was mostly the brand name: Marilyn Monroe. And it whispered to me. Marilyn was sexy with real lady curves, and men still have dreams about bringing her home to meet Mom. I instantly flashforwarded to a slimmer, trimmer me in a little black dress, batting my lashes over a cocktail, with a row of men adoring drooling on my feet.
Which is weird.
When and where would I ever have the occasion to wear a little black dress, much less drink a cocktail!?! As for men, I have one, and quite honestly, one is enough!
But…I do have a little black dress, and should I ever have the occasion to wear it, like a high school reunion (that I wouldn’t attend anyway), I should be prepared.
I carefully read the label. Twice. I didn’t want to humiliate myself after all!
According to the label, based on my bust size and hip size, I should be a size small. Hmmm….Though my rib cage is only 30”, not 36” as listed, I knew I’d take it up…elsewhere! Right? Typically bras under 32” only come in A cups and I’m way, way past the beginning of the alphabet. As for waist size, it was a few inches over where I am so I surmised this was a reasonable estimate. Can you see where this is going?
I handed the garment over to the perky 12 year old at the change room counter and blushing, followed her to the back. The curtain scraped, “sheesh”, as I closed it. Even the walls were skeptical, and don’t get me started on the lighting. I stripped down…winter coat, winter boots, sweater, pants. And I paused, staring at my reflection, with an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. There seemed to be more of me staring back than this morning. I’m certain of it.
Bracing myself, I inhaled the aromas from Cinnabon (conveniently located right outside the store), mixed with stale sweat from past patrons’ efforts to release their overheating bodies from designer brand names (that made unbelievable promises). And I took the plunge.
I slipped my feet into the head hole and slid that black stretchy hot number all the way up…to my knees, where is clung to me like a snotty 2 year old! I pulled, I wiggled, I heaved. I pleaded silently. I started sweating profusely and turning red in splotches. But it held on like a vise. It took several efforts to peel it off and I stood there, holding it up in front of me, and I thought:
“I would like to see the girl who thinks she needs this, who can actually wear it…and I need to feed her”!
Of course this isn’t me! There’s a reason this post is called “humiliation”! 🙂
‘Struggle’ is just another word for growth. – Elle Sommer
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a confession. They can be embarrassing…but then, let’s be honest, embarrassing myself is a daily activity and sharing that embarrassment a regular thing in my blogs. This time it doesn’t involve chocolate, or driving or even Halo Night! It involves something else…
Kid 1: What’s under there?
Kid 2: Under where?
Kid 1: Ha! Ha! I made you say underwear!
I like doing laundry – sorting, washing, folding, putting away. It’s an organizing activity that’s in my wheel-house. I fold everything standing up, and by everything I mean:
Hubby’s Socks – 1 fold (I roll the tops of mine)
Shirts – 5 folds
Pants – 3 folds
Wash/dish cloths – 2 folds
Pillowcases – 4 folds
Sheets – 4 folds
That’s not the confession. This is the confession…
I also fold underwear.
When I fold other people’s laundry, I fold their underwear too. It’s less a “want” and more of a “need” to do it.
It started as part of my education in lingerie! Our store had a round table for bras (try keeping those cups stacked) and a round table for panties, which ladies loved to rifle through! From lacy thongs to Winnie-the-Pooh bikini briefs! I don’t know if it was a fascination with what they didn’t have in their own drawers and we’re too afraid to purchase, but all that rifling didn’t result in many sales. But I digress…
Here’s a step-by-step demonstration (thanks to Pinterest) for how to fold your underwear on a flat surface. Doing it standing up may be too advanced for the uninitiated…
Now you may be thinking, after spending so much time pawing panties, what’s in my drawers? You’d be disappointed. After being exposed to so many varieties, some of which I have scarred me for life, I have a very mundane collection of bloomers.
First, there’s no satin or lace in sight.
Second, there’s nothing with strings or “floss” to be seen.
And finally, there are no giant, scary, stomach-holding-in knickers!
You can tell a lot about a person from his underwear. – Rachel Bilson
Kourtney Kardashian said “Mom always told us to wear pretty, matching underwear”. I wear plain old cotton bikini briefs that match nothing. What does that say about me? I’d say I’m practical because really, who is going to see it? Besides you in the next 10 seconds… I want comfort, not a perpetual wedgie. And I’m not willing to pay $20 for something I can wear only 3 times because it gets shredded in the washer!
My great-grandmother always said not to leave the house in dirty underwear (ew!) and when she called an ambulance for my great-grandfather years ago, she made sure he had – clean underwear! So if I’m ever in an accident, I’m prepared!
And that my friends, is my confession for the day, and the answer to your question: What’s under there?
Boring, folded underwear!
This morning when I put on my underwear I could hear the fruit-of-the-loom guys laughing at me.- Rodney Dangerfield
Toilet paper always comes to the rescue…even in a fashion emergency.
Today, I had my annual appointment with the eye doctor. He has curly blonde hair and stunning blue eyes, and looks like he’s 12. Naturally, I want to make an effort to NOT look like I just rolled out of bed on my day off, so I took some time to look my best. I took time to wash the crust from my eyelashes and to brush my teeth. I touched up the curls leftover from yesterday braided updo and slathered on a liberal amount of antiperspirant. Finally, I carefully chose nice but modest clothing that flattered my figure: black pants, brown boots, red knit top. I’m not a creep…I just want to look better than this!
I arrived early for my appointment, slipped off my coat and sat down. As I sat down, I folded my coat in front of me and glanced down at my lap. And froze. I was staring at my own belly button.
You see, my top…my beautiful red knit top, has a band of battenburg lace running in a 2″ vertical stripe down the front…and I had forgotten to put on a camisole. My eyes swept upwards from my stark, lily white stomach to my flesh-coloured bra with…gasp…my ample bosom spilling out the top toward a perfect “y” – my cleavage. I clutched my coat to my chest, feeling a warmth spreading up my neck and engulfing my cheeks in flames.
I started to panic. I didn’t have a scarf. Could I borrow one from the receptionist? No, she wasn’t wearing one either. Wear my coat the whole time? No, I was already melting into my plastic seat. Then the assistant called my name and my heart leaped into my chest.
Problems are like toilet paper. You pull on one and ten more come. – Woody Allen
“Maybe”, I reasoned, “maybe it’s not as obvious as I think it is”. So I followed the assistant into the other room for the initial tests. Once seated and facing a mirror, I realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought. It was worse. Much worse! All I wanted to do was look nice for my appointment with the nice young doctor, not pimp myself out like a cougar!
I fled from the little room to the bathroom, so I could hyperventilate in private. Since I was already there, I decided I might as well use the facilities before I confessed my fashion faux pas and clutched my Harry Potter book to my chest for the next hour.
And then I looked up…Toilet paper! If I could stretch one strip of toilet paper across my cleavage, secured by my bra cups…and if I could then stretch a long strip down the vertical stripe, and secure it between my bra and my pants, would it provide sufficient coverage to reinstate my dignity?
Yes! Yes it can! And that my friends, is how I roll!
Make your life be like toilet paper. Long and useful.
– Wolfgang Riebe, 100 Quotes to Make You Think
I object! In fact, I strongly object!
I have not struggled all these years with Booty Blues, trying to find the perfect pair of jeans (I’m still looking, by the way), only to be told that I have less than a decade to find them!
Even the director of the surveying company was shocked by the results! Yes, jean shopping is stressful. We’ve all been there. One in ten consumers will try on up to 6 pairs at a time (which is smart because no 2 pairs of jeans are alike), while 6% of consumers will end their shopping trip in tears (I only cry when I shop for bathing suits and bras).
It gets worse!
Another British survey early in the year concluded that 47 was the actual age to stop wearing jeans and shears long locks! In fact, the earlier study concluded that women over 38 shouldn’t get tattoos (oops – I was 40!), women over 34 should stop taking selfies (oops – did that last week), women over 44 should’t go clubbing or attend music festivals. Finally, women over 40 should stop trying to learn how to use new technology! Twitter shouldn’t be used over the age of 47 and Facebook accounts should be deleted by age 49 (did you know in 2014, 56 percent of online adults over 65 had Facebook accounts?).
Which begs the question – who are these people? Because I want to ask them these questions again when they turn 40!
“You can be the chicest thing world in a t-shirt and jeans – it’s up to you!”
– Karl Lagerfeld
“You’re really not a winter person, are you?” Hubby quipped.
I was dressed in a thick, cushy sweater, huddled over the open oven door, hands outstretched, warming them. The oven was turned off; I was simply taking advantage of the waning warmth.
Winter appeared suddenly this week. With only one prior snowfall that didn’t amount to anything and temperatures soaring close to 20C as the weekend approached, I wasn’t completely prepared for the bone-chilling drop in temperature or the lasting appearance of wicked white stuff. So when we reluctantly donned our winter wear Monday morning, I was surprised to find out Little Guy had no winter hat. I am certain I stocked up last Fall! Hubby couldn’t find his gloves on Saturday, so put the snow tires on his car Saturday afternoon wearing an old, ratty pair of fingerless motorcycle gloves!
Time to be a Proverbs 31 woman…
“When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.” (v.21)
…after I went to the mechanic to have my snow tires installed. Don’t judge me – it’s cold and wet out there!
* * *
Maybe it’s because I went to Walmart (hello People of WalMart), but I went a little crazy and I bought gloves, hats, socks, boots and long underwear for my men. And worst of all, in my smug merriment, I bought a hat for me too. Even though I know I look stupid in hats!
That evening, I proudly showed it to Hubby:
Me: See, I listened to you and I bought myself a sensible winter hat!
Hubby (exasperated): OK, but I’ve been chasing you to wear sensible winter wear for the last 20 years!!
Me: Yeah, and…I listened…
Shortly after this enlightened conversation, Hubby called his mom (I’m pretty sure our recent conversation was unrelated) but he did tell her I bought a sensible winter hat. My darling mother-in-law quipped, “Oh, she must be getting old”! 🙂
“I have a soft spot for MOMS. My other soft spots are from eating too much.” – John Wagner, Maxine cartoonist
But she wisely speaks Truth. I am getting old… and apparently forgetful! And also a little blind, because this hat just doesn’t seem sensible any more.
“Next week I shall begin my operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend.” – Jane Austen
Yesterday started as just another ordinary , rainy day and then Murphy’s Law kicked in…
I was clicking away on my keyboard, tucked neatly in my cubicle of purgatory at work, when one of our seniors ushered in a middle-aged woman in tight leather pants and “vamp red” lipstick, smiling broadly.
She looked fantastic!
Spend hours selecting wardrobe, fixing hair and applying make-up.
Meet No one.
Agonize briefly over wardrobe, skip hair and make-up.
Meet the Queen.
When I got dressed after dragging myself from my safe haven (like Flossy), I had fully expected to be ignored at work. I was dressed “appropriately” for work in basic, matronly clothes: grey slacks, a grey & purple print top, and a black cardigan. I knew the building would be full of seniors for their monthly potluck gathering, and I didn’t want to offend them with my sassy green boots or a filmy shirt that might show my tattoo. But mostly, I was tired and I fully expected to meet no one whose opinion might make me question my life choices. Yet, here we were! A sexy vamp and…me! In that moment, I was thankful that I had at least taken time to swap my orange sneakers for black heels, and while I hadn’t brushed my hair yet, it was neatly pinned up. The barn door, however, desperately needing painting – I wasn’t even wearing Chapstick!
She shook my hand firmly as she introduced herself, and passed me a business card. She was a location scout for an upcoming movie starring Robert De Niro. They needed a location to shoot a high school cafeteria scene on short notice since the place they booked had fallen through. Could she look around?
While we were looking around, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window overlooking the gymnasium. It was worse than I thought. I looked, well…
She happily chatted away as we toured the building, explaining in detail what they were looking for and why. Filming would be right before Christmas. She even said I would get to meet Mr. De Niro, if they chose our location.
They didn’t. I won’t.
I tried harder this morning. I took
some more time to select my clothes: grey dress pants, white & yellow striped sweater. I accessorized with a yellow scarf and a silver watch. I brushed my hair. I even thought about putting on make-up, but decided I shouldn’t go crazy first thing in the morning. I might put an eye out!
I spent the day in the office…alone.
Still, it’s the weekend so…
I’d like to add something to the end of the expression “Pride goeth before a fall”…I’d like to add “or public humiliation”. (I’m an expert on public humiliation!)
I started noticing about a year ago that I needed to discreetly peer over the top of my glasses to read the really small print, like the instructions on a pill bottle. No big deal!
By this Spring, I found myself taking off my glasses at bedtime, to do my Italian lessons on my iPad. Again, no big deal!
Three weeks ago, I was leading the “kids’ time” during church. I was trying to share a story while also balancing a flashlight and my Bible (while one exceptionally precocious child was misbehaving)…and then I had to precariously balance my glasses in my already full hands, just to read to 2 verses of scripture (while keeping one eye on one misbehaving child). Did I mention that this was in front of the congregation…and a guest speaker?
Pride didn’t want to admit it was time to get bi-focals! Pride didn’t want to wear what I was envisioning – the oversized 1980’s lenses with the tell-tale magnified half-moons gracing the bottom of the lense, screaming “OLD”.
I saw my 12 year old optometrist the next day, and he assured me that a lot has changed in lense “technology” since the 1980’s. It was no big deal!
This morning, I picked up my specs and I wish I had done this sooner. I’m ashamed to admit I let pride (or pr-eyed) get in the way! My new “transitions” lenses are no big deal!
Speaking of public humiliation, the Moms held a “Dance Off” after Bible study last night! Little Guy is still young enough that he wasn’t embarrassed to see his Mom bustin’ some moves. I can’t say the same for some of the older kids. Give him a few years. Oh, by then, I’ll still be bustin’ some moves (or an ankle…or hip….) and I won’t have any pride left. It’ll be no big deal!
* * *
This was the second (of what I hope to be many) 10 Minute Monday posts – write for 10 minutes on whatever, no editing (ok, maybe just a little…)!