A long, long time ago, when my husband was just my boyfriend, he was a bouncer in a bar.  (It worked out pretty well; I liked to drink, and I always had a ride home.) 


We’d been dating just over a year, when he invited me to the bar’s staff Christmas party.  I knew some of the other bouncers, and a waitress or two, so I was even looking forward to it.  Weeks ahead of time, I made Owen ask what the dress code was.  “Whatever.  Just don’t wear your bouncer shirt,”  was the response he got from a co-worker.


We get to the restaurant. 


And I realize Owen asked the wrong person about the dress code.


I’m wearing jeans and a button down shirt. 


The other girls?  Long, formal dresses.




I was beyond mortified. 


I tried to make the best of it, tried to pretend it didn’t matter. 


I was lined up at the bar, getting drinks.  In front of me, a girl in a black velvet, floor length gown.


“I mean, can you believe that?  God, how cheesy.  At least my people dressed up!”


One of her friends gave her the “look over your shoulder, idiot” eyes.


She turned around, stopped smiling.  Put the smile back on.  Silently dared me to say something.


I looked at the ground.  I didn’t want her to feel bad.



It’s funny how time, distance, maturity make these things fade, become less important.



And sometimes, they don’t.



Man, I hope that bitch got syphilis.

15 responses to “Underdressed

  1. That’s when you say, “God, isn’t it nice to have people be themselves and spend their money on better things than formal clothes. I mean how selfish.”

  2. My people? What does that even mean? Hollywood is way worse than cheesy.

  3. You are so charitable! Syphilis is so easy to cure these days. I’d have gone with one of the STD’s that keep on giving.

  4. Me-ow, bitches. Any REAL woman knows that in this case, it’s clear the woman was the victim of poor information. I love it how we get blamed for everything.

    Plus most of the ladies I know like getting dressed up once in awhile so if we are awares, chances are we’ll have our pretty on.

  5. I’d throw in a chancre or two as well….. 🙂

  6. faemom: Why don’t those witty retorts ever come at the time? Nope, always 15 years later… 🙂

    Meagan: I know, like she needed an entourage to come to a staff Christmas party. WTF?

    derfina: What can I say? I’ve mellowed.

    mongo: I like to think you would have had my back in that situation.

    formerlyfun: EXACTLY. I didn’t even HAVE any formal wear at that point (I was 18 and in college and poor), so if I’d known it was formal, I just wouldn’t have gone. I wanted to make Owen wear a sign: “My girlfriend looks like that because I fucked up.” But he wouldn’t.

    nursemyra: In hindsight, I’m pretty sure she already had them. She was that kind of girl, and it was that kind of bar.

  7. I had something similar happen to me once. I won a free trip to England with this group of Realtors. There was one event where we were to go meet a Lord or Earl or something in this big castle.
    I’d forgotten about that thing and went walk the streets of York all day. When I got back to the hotel, in the lobby was my group. Decked out in sparkling evening gowns. They had been waiting on me.
    The look of horror on their faces as they stared me up and down (with my cargo pants on), I can’t ever really describe.
    “You’re going like that?!! They screeched.
    I ran up to my room and put a skirt on, I don’t travel with ball gowns, ever, and I thought they were all overdressed.
    Not until we got there and saw the Lord casually dressed that they were all overdressed. Except for me.
    What a night.

    Congrats again, Ginny, another post in “Best of Holidailies.” Yay!

  8. Kitty, something tells me that even if it HAD been a formal event, and the Lord had been dressed up, you still would have been a charming hit in cargo pants.

    (and I’m STILL not convinced you’re not on the Reader’s Panel that makes the picks. But thanks.)

  9. The first time I went to this big fancy Christmas party that one of my husband’s big stodgy clients throws was the year we got engaged. Everyone at the client’s office knows Todd, and it was my first of the stand-by-my-man events at which I show up looking just-so and don’t even dream of having more than one drink so I don’t end up being the “inappropriate wife” at the big fancy party.

    I scoured the stores for the perfect dress. This was in 2000, and everything that year was either “Here’s Todd’s fiance, who apparently has the night off from the convent” or “Here comes Todd’s slutty fiance, and look I can see her navel.”

    So I found a festive looking skirt and top, after giving up on dresses. I show up and all the women there were in pants. *sigh*

    Every year since then I agonize over what to wear. You know, b/c I don’t want to wear the same thing twice and make him look unsuccessful. Yet he’s worn the same damn suit, sans tie, every year.

  10. LOL. I swear, I’m not on the panel and I don’t know who is.
    They’re good pickers, though.

  11. Beej: I remember the fashion time period, exactly as you’ve described it. And yes, men are lucky that way. Unmemorable, but lucky.

  12. Overdressing can be just as bad, I’ve done that on a number of occasions. I would have muttered something about not realizing it was a tarts n’ vicars party or something, but yeah, I would totally still be wishing syphillis on the bitch years later. I’m vindictive like that.

  13. that reminds me of this woman that came to my wedding. She was obviously poorly informed by her husband that it was formal and I could just feel how awkward she felt. Her husband was on my email list when I emailed all the Americans coming over that Spanish people really do it up for weddings here and if they want to fit in, they will dress formal, but they were free to wear whatever they were comfortable wearing. It was rather odd choice of an outfit anyway, birkenstocks, jean skirt and tank top, seeing as though it was FREEZING outside. That poor woman must have gotten a lot of those looks from some of the Spanish women present.

  14. Em: You play a very defensive game. I like that.

    bluestreak: Oy. She probably had this vision of Spanish people being all laid back and casual. Whoops.

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