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Gill has always criticized my wardrobe for containing too many fancy items of clothing –specifically, dresses that she considers ‘ball gowns’. You must understand that her sense of fashion is born of a different era. I believe her favorite ‘period’ was the Grunge age. So it stands to reason that someone with this background could not possibly make an accurate assessment of a grown woman’s wardrobe. Take anything she says with a large grain of salt. That said, I know she considers me to be from the age of the dinosaurs when it comes to proper attire — or at least the very proper era of Jackie O. And she’s correct. I recall wearing high heels and dresses to university lectures and hats and gloves to church. How the mighty have fallen. I no longer sport trendy hats or prim gloves and I certainly haven’t darkened a church door in eons.

It came to light recently that, in advance of the much-touted U.S. state dinner being given for the Trudeaus (our new leader and his wife) by President Obama, the Liberal party has devised a clever fund-raising scheme. They are offering a trip to Washington for the winner of this lottery. Rent-a-Date contestants are ‘encouraged’ to donate to the Liberal party but, for those with magnifying vision, the small print at the bottom of the notice adds the disclaimer that you don’t HAVE to make a donation to enter.

The sneaky thing is that, while you might think you’d be basically going on a date with the P.M. and his wife to the state dinner, the reality is just ever so slightly different. You’d be going to other events in lesser venues at which he will be speaking. You might meet the P.M. but equally, you might not. You certainly won’t become besties or share a cab.

I am, of course, tempted to enter — not because I like the Liberals but because it sounds like a fun trip. But I wouldn’t want to seem to be encouraging such blatant efforts to enlarge their membership or coffers. But it made me think. What would I wear? This is the age-old question for women, no matter how liberated or forward in our feminist thinking we are. We still want to look good while we’re protesting society’s ills and injustices. Apparently many men take us seriously only if we look attractive, are wearing good clothes and have make-up on.

I have a few nice ‘dinner’ outfits, but nothing suitable for a lavish black tie affair. My supply of fancy dresses or ‘ball gowns’ is sadly depleted since these, the Golden Years, happened upon me. My fancy outfits no longer fit (even a tiny figure changes over the years…and not in a good way) so the local charities have quite a stock of fabulous clothes. Worst case scenario, somebody just acquired some marvelous Hallowe’en costumes.

I recently attended a dinner for International Women’s Day and agonized over what to wear. Office attire was suggested. Office attire? Do you know how long it’s been since I saw the inside of an office? So I cobbled together a look that would work, but I regret that it wouldn’t do if I were to win the Trudeau dinner prize. Just as well…my recent lottery wins have included an electric tea kettle, some crappy jewelry, a piece of heart healthy equipment that I couldn’t figure out, and a small electric mixer (identical to the one I got when I got married). There was a time when I won actual cash and took the kids to Florida, but I fear I’m on a downward slide as far as winnings go.

So, Sorry Justin. You and Sophie will have to forego the pleasure of my company in Washington. Say hi to Barack and Michelle for me.