Isn’t it funny how the tables can turn? Our regular readers will recall the scorn and ridicule heaped upon me by Gill with respect to my wardrobe. To refresh your memory, she berates me for ‘over dressing’, claiming I wear ball gowns for dinner at casual restaurants. I certainly DO make an effort to look good and am often, I admit, among the best dressed in the room. But you must remember, I live in a community of nerds. In that context, anything other than jeans, a t-shirt and (for the truly formal occasion), tweed jacket with suede elbow patches is overkill. I even admit to a few full length dresses still in my closet — although these days, I only dress for The Pig, raking the leaves, or scraping the bottom of birdcages. No gowns required. They are, however, lovely and I can’t bear to part with them.
Enter Gill. During our conversation yesterday, she regaled me with a list of her week’s ‘social engagements’. If you haven’t fallen down in shock yet, yes, she DOES actually have some. When she got to the part where she said (quickly so I wouldn’t catch it), “My boyfriend’s company is having a black tie event– the annual Christmas party”, I quivered with anticipation. My daughter, the one who wears Birks and old trousers everywhere except work, has the opportunity to dress up in fancy clothes and go to a nice event! And then I realized that she couldn’t possibly have suitable attire. My mood deflated as quickly as it had risen.
I had to tread lightly. “Oh, that’s wonder___”
But she beat me to it. “Ma, no it’s not wonderful. I’m not going. Wouldn’t be caught dead at that sort of posh thing.”
“But it’s such a fun opportunity,” I gushed.
“Ma, it is anything BUT an opportunity. It’s a chore. I’m not going. I’m planning on attending a philosophy lecture instead.”
“Of course you are. Let me get this straight. You’d rather go to a boring nerdy lecture by yourself than go to a fabulous party with your boyfriend? Who ARE you? Didn’t I raise you properly? Just because you have a PhD doesn’t mean you still have to enjoy all those nerdy things!”
“But Ma. I DO enjoy nerdy things. You live in a university environment too. I should think you’d be proud that I fit in…after almost flunking out of high school!”
“Oh, I am proud of you. Of course I am. But would it kill you to make an effort to dress up and make nice?”
“Ma, why are you huffing and puffing like that? Were you running? Perhaps racing to your closet to find a frock for me? ‘Fess up!”
“Now why ever would you think that? No, it just so happens that I did have to run upstairs to get something and, since I’m here, I wouldn’t mind having a look to see if there’s something in the way of a dress I could FedEx you…”
“Ma! Do you want to kill my boyfriend?”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“He’s never seen me ‘dressed up’. The shock might destroy him.”
“Well, it’s best to find out NOW if he’s a strong person or not. I’m finding a dress. Here, this one might work. It’s black, simple yet elegant…I’m sure it would fit.”
“Ma! Step away from the dress! I am not going.”
“Oh, come on. Throw your poor mother a bone. As for your boyfriend, he may as well get used to this family sooner rather than later. Oh, and FYI, if I hear you wore Doc Martens or a radish corsage to accessorize the dress like you did for your prom, I’ll disown you.”
It was only when I discovered how much the dress would cost to send that I backed off. “Okay,” I said, “You win…have a lovely time at the boring lecture.”