Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ambitious Style

It was 1996, and I was an idiot.

When my motto was Why leave a good impression, when you can leave a trampy one?

I had been invited last minute to the wedding of a friend’s sister.  I lived out of town and would be traveling to attend the wedding.  According to the wedding etiquette of the day, out-of-town guests were typically invited to any parties supporting the wedding, including, but not limited to, the rehearsal dinner and post-wedding celebrations.

Which I attended because I was invited, but also because I had no other friends to visit and didn’t know better to decline invitations that were offered merely out of politeness.  I was not particularly close to the family and really had no reason to join in on the festivities other than I had nothing better to do.

It was also the year of Jerry Maguire, where legions of female fans across the globe reacquainted ourselves with Tom Cruise’s charms post-Top Gun Beach Volleyball Scene and pre-Creepy Cult Member Poor Katie Holmes Will She Ever Get Full Custody of Suri?

The movie was one of my favorites, and imagined myself in the Renee Zellweger role hundreds of times.  Ordinary girl and beautiful man come together to fulfill her wildest dreams - he realizes he loves her more than anything else in the world and that she, Mousy Mouserton, Completes Him.  Yes.  I said Hundreds of times.

I said I was an idiot. 

I coveted Renee’s look at the scene in the movie where she moves away and Tom Cruise decides that he can’t live without her.  Tan cropped shirt, black jeans, black sneakers.  The outfit was perfect for the casual post wedding family barbecue at the parents’ house the next day that I didn’t really belong at but was going anyway.  I had the jeans and the sneakers, but I needed the top.

I ran to the mall that morning, and found nothing that quite approximated the look I was going for.  With little time to spare before the party, I hurriedly snagged a top that just had to do.  This was the age of crop tops, and I was at an appropriate crop top age, so even though I would be showing a little skin, it wouldn’t be obscene.  I didn’t anticipate any raised eyebrows with the casual cool I was going to project.

I should have thought a little more about my purchase before I showed up at the party wearing it.

I was wearing a crop top, but it was cropped at the wrong place.  It was a half shirt, but instead of having a top half, it really only had the back half.  There was one button at the chest holding it together.

To make matters worse, it was windy, and the edges of my top flapped extravagantly in the breeze, exposing pretty much the whole front half of my torso all day, from collar bone to belly button.

I spent the whole day making conversation about the happy couple, eating picnic food, and avoiding disgusted looks from nearly all the women at the party and disgusting leers from all the men, all the while desperately holding my shirt together.  I asked for some safety pins, but what I needed was a WHOLE SHIRT.

As the party ended and guests were readying to leave, I sought out the bride and groom to wish them good luck in the future.  The groom thanked me for coming and remarked, “Boy, that is one ambitious little top you’ve got on.” I hung my head, mumbled my goodbyes and congratulations, covered the exposed frontal portion of my body as best I could, and slunk away to my car.

I never saw any of those people again.  My friend has since drifted away, and rightly so.

I kept the top, but wore it as a TOP LAYERING PIECE, which obviously was its intention.

What I learned from this incident is this:  If your top is more ambitious than you are intelligent, then for the love of all things holy and decent, change.


This post inspired by:

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop


  1. I am so glad I discovered your blog! Thank you for being willing to share such an embarrassing story (a perfect piece for Thoughts from Paris's theme today) and write it so well. You had me at, "What I needed was a WHOLE shirt"!

    1. Tammy! Thanks so much for visiting, and for your kind words. I may be the only person in the world who is inadvertently slutty.

      I hope to have many more embarrassing moments to share here on my blog.


  2. Do you still have the shirt? I'm sure you looked incredible. I would love to see :-)

  3. This was delightfully funny. So glad Mama Kat's led me here. Awkward clothes and awkward social situations - recipe for disastrously funny memories!

    1. Thanks so much!

      Awkward clothing seems to be a specialty of mine; rarely a day goes by without me being aware that some article of clothing is malfunctioning in some way.

      Why, just today I noticed that my underwear had creeped about two inches above the waist band of my jeans, when I stepped in front of someone to grab an item off a bottom shelf. Of course my shirt wasn't long enough to cover that unfortunate scenario.

      He probably had a camera phone - look for me on one of those "People of" websites.