A couple of years ago I needed a formal for awards night at the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference. I had plenty of time to search for a dress, but life happened, delaying my search. Panic set in when I realized it was my last weekend to shop before departing for the big event.
To add to my dilemma, my husband and I had already made plans to visit friends in Kentucky for the weekend, which meant I had to opt for power shopping.
Let me explain what I mean by power shopping.
Power Shopping (Oxford’s online Dictionary): Shopping in a determined, extravagant, or aggressive manner . . .
Ideally, only my friend and I would have gone on the shopping binge. However, for some unknown reason, both our husbands decided to tag along.
Between the guys’ huffs and puffs, crossed-armed stares, and jokes about dresses, I grew stressed and pressed to hurry and make the purchase.
You know, like the way most men do when they need a shirt. They walk into the store, grab the color that catches their eyes, and march to the checkout with no thought of what size they’ve scooped up. (I’ve witnessed this on numerous occasions.)
After searching at a couple of stores, we ended up at a bridal shop. They had gorgeous dresses and an excellent selection. I found a beautiful long, black formal, searched for my size, and excitedly pranced to the dressing room.
Thus, the beginning of my humiliation and most embarrassing moment.
As I pulled and tugged at the fabric, decorated with lace and sequins, the realization hit me that this size was not going to work. My friend ran to get me the next size up.
My heart sank. This size wouldn’t work either. Ouch!
The dilemma continued until I tried on a size double of what I usually wore. It’s bad enough shopping alone and making this discovery, but when your husband and his friend are sitting outside the dressing room, watching the constant shuffling of dresses, and waiting for you to model the dress, the embarrassment quadruples. I finally made my purchase but couldn’t get out of there fast enough, and I didn’t want to talk about the dress.
Humiliation wrapped around me like a vice. Don’t cry. I understood sizes vary depending on the store. Either I was not that big, or I was in denial. I vowed at that moment never to eat again. Of course, I have, but you get the picture.
I attended the conference and wore the dress, but I could hardly wait to change clothes and shove it into my suitcase, out of sight. Just looking at it sent my emotions spiraling. I hated it.
After returning home, I stepped on my scales. No change. I went to the department store by myself because I had to know for sure if my size had taken a drastic turn. My arms filled with dresses of different sizes, I apprehensively stepped into the dressing room for the moment of truth.
As I stood before the mirror, a smile emerged. I slumped onto the bench and buried my face as relief washed over me. My original size stood true, but the internal damage remained.
The double sizing at the bridal shop destroyed my self-esteem during the conference and humiliated me in front of my Kentucky friends. The joy of dressing up like a princess was emotionally disastrous.
I hid behind a smiling face while an endless trail of self-judgment attacked me. The label sewn into the back of that dress shouted my extra, extra, extra-large size as the imprinted number ruined my joy for the evening.
Sequins and lace, glass slippers or stilettoes no longer appeal to my make-believe dreamland of Cinderella dancing with her handsome prince.
“Just give me my blue jeans, a cute top, a jacket, and maybe a scarf, and I’m happy.”
What about you? What’s your most embarrassing moment?