A couple of times a year, my husband and I have the opportunity to attend a few fancy, fundraiser dinners for some of his clients. Being that we are part of ‘the help,’ it’s fun to get all prettied up and rub elbows with the movers and the shakers of our city, dreaming of one day maybe being on that side of the tracks.
One such night was on Saturday.
Since sparkly dresses and high heels are not part of my social worker attire, it was a perfect opportunity to get out and get my shop on. I ventured into a couple of different stores, trying on dress after dress, finding nothing that would work. Maybe it was because I’m 37 and they only make dresses for either teenagers or old ladies. Maybe it was because it was January and the flourescent lighting against my pale winter skin made me look sickly in everything. Maybe it was because I was wearing these,
and all dressed looked ridiculous paired with them.
After trying and having no luck at other stores, I finally went back to my tried and true dress shop, the one that, despite its poorly named brand, has never failed me when I was in a dress crisis…. Dress Barn. If you’ve never been to a Dress Barn, you should really give it a try. I always avoided entering the store myself. I saw the name on the marquee and assumed that it held racks of country, square-dancing style frocks that I would not like.
Luckily I was proved wrong.
I had a true dress emergency one fine summer day. My son was two. We were sitting in the third row at my cousin’s wedding when I heard the beginning sounds of a projectile vomit beginning to emit from his body. With my cat-like reflexes, I was able to cover the first come-up-ence with his blanket. Then I did what any good mother would do, I spun him around into my chest and took the full brunt of the second round into my chest and all over my dress. As discretely as possible, I walked out of the ceremony. When my husband caught up with me, I passed off the messy boy, grabbed the car keys and took off to find something new to wear before the reception. This was the day I discovered that Dress Barn not only sold nice dresses I liked, but also pants, tops, jeans, and accessories, all at reasonable prices. I’ve been back for all my dress needs ever since.
I walked in, looked right, and immediately found my dress for the evening. Since I didn’t want the gas to the store to go to waste, I decided to look around and found this cute outfit to add to my closet….both the top and the jeans were on clearance. SCORE!
The night of the event, as I was getting myself shoved into my pantyhose and then wedged into my full body shaper, my daughter walked into our room. “Is that your dress?”, she asked.
“No. It’s my shaper.”
“Why do you need that?”
“Because I’m 37 and things aren’t always where I want them to be, or not be. Being a woman is fun.”
I think I may have scarred her.
All sucked in and pushed up, off to the event we were! It was a great event. Beautiful venue, wonderful food, stealing a night out without the kids, surrounded by people with money and dreaming of actually being able to afford all the arts, trips, and bobbles that were up for grabs at the auction.
A diamond encrusted, heart-shaped ring. Slightly more than the usually Valentine’s Day chocolates. A trip to LA to attend a red carpet movie premiere, complete with a custom gown. The kids would love to be left home alone, but then, they would be more mad I had to sell them to buy it. A personal chef comes to your house to cater and evening for you and 12 friends, then you are wisked off to the opera. I would need to skip the mortgage payment to make the bid, so where would I host my soiree? A original Jeff Hanson piece of artwork that went for $11,000. Darn, if only I hadn’t already bought groceries this week, I might have been able to nab that one….
As I took a quick look around the room, I noticed something I hadn’t expected. A majority of the people in the room did not look happy. Sure some were, but many were not, some unhappy, some bored, some looking obligated, others annoyed. Somewhere inside of me, even though we all know that “Money doesn’t buy happiness“, I still believe that if I had more money, I would be incredible happy. Being able to buy anything I needed, would take all the unnecessary stress out of my life and I would just leak with joy. It’s a fancy night out, drinks, food, dancing, sparkles all around, but people didn’t look happy. People at a mid-July outdoor concert, knee-deep in mud; they look happy. People at a Renaissance Faire, dressed in their garb and reenacting scenes; they look happy. These party goers, with money burning a hole in their pockets, they just didn’t look happy.
Dinner had, speeches given, and desserts consumed, there was nothing left to do, but top the night off with some coffee.
Where’s the #&*%in’ coffee???? You would think if they went through the trouble of putting coffee cups, sugar, and creamer on the table, that they would come around to offer a lady coffee!?!? Oh well….
We got home, peeled off the fancys and layers of compression, jumped into our sweats, turned on the Keurig, and kicked back on our couch. As I looked around our house, I smiled. I may not have the most expensive, largest, or most lavish house, but I am truly happy with the life Peter and I have made for ourselves. We met when we were 18 and 20. We had nothing, literally. We’ve worked hard for what we have and have earned every bit of it. We are truly blessed to have a house filled with family and love. Money couldn’t buy this if it tried.