Monday, August 20, 2012

Step 1a: Admitted I Was a Fat Slouch

Tonight I went to Nordstrom’s as my Facebook friend Jack suggested. Jack is a friend I met online thirty-five years after we attended the same high school. Back in the day, I thought he was a renegade; now I think he’s a cultured dude with great taste in furniture and food.

He suggested I go to Nordstrom’s because of this post on my Facebook page: I want to learn to mill about, look cute, and make delightful social chat. Who’s game to teach me?

Jack said to ask the clerk for help picking something out to wear out for social events, so today I geared up by getting out of my slouchy Forks hooded sweatshirt and too-small jeans, and into a pair of white capris and a white hoody.

I didn’t want to ask the store clerk for help, but she approached me. When she asked if I needed help, I said no. That’s because the big-butt department is small and I knew it would only take a few minutes for me to peruse every rack, especially because some things don’t even make it to the Consider pile in my mind.

Who designs all the wild, big pattern prints that makes big women look enormous? I didn’t try on any of that. I picked two lightweight jackets that would work for casual wear and a black Courtenay-would-be-proud skirt for sassy evening wear.

The purple jacket was nice but it was $148 and I wasn’t ready to commit to purple for that price. Besides, I was worried purple made me look like an eggplant. (I don’t wear bright red or orange for similar fruit-related reasons.)

The light gray jacket, made of silky cotton, felt like a lightweight hoody without a zipper or hood. It was on sale for under $50 and it looked alright, so I kept that. The Courtenay-hoo-haw skirt fit great, and it had an exciting flounce when I walked—but I couldn’t figure out what kind of top I'd wear with it. I decided I looked like a fat frump trying to look good, which made me feel bad, so I skipped the skirt.

The gray jacket seemed a little drab, but the clerk recommended a tank top in bright purplish red. I told her it was brighter than I usually wear and she said, “Bright colors pop out against dark ones. That’s what you want.” When I got home I looked it up on the color spectrum chart. It's really close to color number c71585 ~ I hope it’s not too crazy bright. (Can I still wear one of my favorite pair of thrashed Birkenstocks or do I need to actually coordinate footwear like a fashion commando? I should ask Jack.)

Earlier today, I had coffee with my friend Maria, a new social work graduate, who is sexy and funny and cute and sociable in all the ways I’m not, and I told her about my Facebook post. (It’s not bad enough my friends endure reading them; later, I talk about them.)

I was explaining (as if she didn’t already know) how awkward I am at social chitchat and how I don’t take turns; once I start talking I just blather on and on and onandonandon until people hold their breath and pass out so they don’t have to listen any more. Worse yet are the drives home by myself in which I rehash every social blunder and faux pas that occurred until I wish I had never gone.

Maria smiled at me—she has an amazing smile—and said, “It’s true you like to talk…but you're also curious. So when you're with people in a social situation, try to be present with your curiosity.”

I’m not sure that’s exactly what she said even though I put quotation marks. When I learn to listen more intently without my brain racing forward and sideways at the same time, I will actually be able to quote people.

Tomorrow, I have a dinner date with two friends I don’t often see. I'm going to wear my new c71585 shirt and gray jacket. I might be totally mismatched on the bottom with skanky old jeans and Birkenstocks, but that will be under the table, so if I get there early to be seated before they arrive, they won’t know. Decorating the top half might not be enough, but I have to start somewhere.

I'm going to try to ignore that c71585 is too bright. I'm going to order something that doesn't contribute to my eggplant, tomato, pumpkin worries. And I am going to be present with my curiosity to see if my internal critic has less to say on the way home.

1 comment:

  1. In an ideal world, a hoody and flip flops (or birkenstocks)would always be appropriate attire. Your personality sounds exactly like my mother's (one of my favorite people). I wouldn't worry too much about trying to change it.



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