“Okay…pull it up…I’m sucking it all in. I’m sucking it all in. Pull it up!” I instructed to Tom.
“I…I can’t. It’s not moving,” Tom said polietly. Polietly, because he didn’t want to make me cry. It terrifies him when women cry. For those who have read my book The Swimmer's Assistant, remember the scene when Jane wants to throw a box of tissues at Vanessa’s head and run? That’s Tom.
“I’m sucking it all in!” I repeated as though that proclaimation was supposed to make a difference. Newsflash self: it wasn’t.
I was trying to squeeze into the dress I ordered online. I got it in a size 5 because I wear size 5 pants. Wasn’t that how dresses worked too?
No, that’s NOT how dresses work. Because mine wasn’t zipping up no matter what I did.
“Look, I’ll lie down on my stomach. You just zip it up,” I said. The zipper went up—until it went to the middle of my back—then it refused.
“Amber..I’m worried I’ll break it. It’s not going up. Maybe…maybe try…” Tom’s voice trickled away. He didn’t know what else to suggest. He knew he couldn’t say, “It’s not going to go up. You have too much back fat.”
“What’s going on?” Natalie asked, coming into the room. She stared at us in confusion. I suppose it was odd seeing me sprawled out on the floor with Tom over me trying to conquer the zipper.
“Daddy is trying to fix my dress,” I explained. I motioned for Tom to try again and he sighed.
“It’s not going,” Tom explained gently. The same way he spoke to me after my favorite series Lost ended because he could see how shaky and sad I was. (“There will be other shows,” he had said gently. “But none with JACK! And Hurley!” I had cried.)
“Now what?” I moaned into the carpet. I shouldn’t have bought a dress online. It’s just, I wanted to avoid going to the stores. But going to the stores is exactly what I had to do. I decided to go to JC Penney because it was close and because I had a $10 gift card.
There are scary looking dresses at JC Penney. And there were some that I thought, well, maybe that would look okay. But then they didn’t. Some looked like I was wearing a colored paper sack. Others left little to the imagination. I did not want to be THAT wife at my husband’s Christmas party. You know, the one who thinks she’s sexy but in real life looks like a cheap you-know-what?
I tried on over 10 dresses and towards the end I was beginning to HATE dresses. At one point I almost got stuck in a dress. I picked a size that was too small (you’d think I’d learn the first time, but no..) and when I went to take it off because it made me look like a sequined sausage, I found I couldn’t.
“Uh,” I said, tugging. What would happen if I couldn’t get it off? Open the changing room door and be like, “You! Man sitting on the chair waiting for his wife. Can you help?”
I managed to wiggle out of it. I had to remind myself that I was NOT the same size that I was in high school and to quit picking out small dresses.
In the end, I found a black dress but was worried that it might be too revealing. Again, I don’t want to be one of those wives. I’m not at all. I don’t think I’m sexy. I’m awkward in social situations and I don’t know how to walk in heels properly. I don’t want to be the center of attention. At all.
Anyway, here is the dress:
(I won’t wear the sunglasses. I wasn’t trying to be Audrey Hepburn, it’s just my eyes looked scary. I wasn’t drinking of anything.)
I’m wearing it with nylons, which apparently several people told me were out. What does that mean, out? As in, am I forbidden to wear them? If I do, is Joan Rivers going to pop out and slap my hand?
I’m wearing the nylons. With opened toed shoes, which is apparently also a no-no. Again, I don’t care. I don’t have the patience for fashion crap.
The heels are the same ones I wore for my vow renewal. They aren’t very comfortable but then again, I’m told most heels aren’t. I hate heels. I just hope I don’t lose my balance and go spinning into Tom’s commander. That would be awkward.
I also have to make sure I eat the meal that is served there delicately. I tend to eat like a man and shovel it all in.
I also have to get some dress tape to ensure that little dipping part in my dress doesn’t go too far down when I sit. Otherwise some poor guy is going to see my (faded) strapless bra.
Dress shopping sucks.
There better be some awesome cake at this party.