We’ve all had that dream… The one where we’re walking down the street and all our clothes are suddenly not there? Isn’t that a direct reminder that we FEEL vulnerable, or something? Note my eyebrow shooting up at the diagnosis of a dream? Really. Yeah, I’m not convinced our dreams really mean anything, but more than once I’ve had that one… Where I’m in public with no clothes on. And if that wardrobe malfunction doesn’t shock you… I’m surprised… I’ve seen me with and without clothes… Without isn’t as cute now as it was 50 years ago!
But. Life happens. And sometimes…
So, the story goes… I was out for dinner with friends, several of them, and as I started to get up for a trip to the ladies room, I felt it… A cool breeze to my hinder parts… I quickly sat down again and started the benign and hopefully unnoticeable process of adjusting my skirt. That’s when I realized my wardrobe malfunction was that my ‘wrap around skirt’ had come untied at the waste and was drooping somewhere near my ankles. My tunic covered the top part of me, but the bottom part was sadly exposed if I moved from my seat or attempted to adjust my skirt.
So, I’m frantically looking around to see if anyone else had noticed. Whew! Missed that bullet. But…
How could I get out of my seat, grab my skirt and put my wardrobe malfunction back in place without drawing an audience?
Under cover of the table, I pulled the string ties of my skirt snug and tied them as high as I could around my legs… Definitely not covering anything! That tunic wasn’t THAT long.
Then I noticed that since I was wearing a rather warm sweater tunic, I hadn’t worn a coat, but my best friend had worn her mink and it was hanging casually over the back of her chair. I had a solution… If I could create a distraction, long enough to stand up and pull on her coat, I could go somewhere and adjust my skirt. I leaned close and whispered to her that I needed to borrow her coat… At a glance she understood – and suddenly, we’re buddies in the act of creating a distraction. Opportunity appeared a moment later as the waiter appeared from the kitchen to deliver our meals, a tray held high- on one hand. I pulled the straw from my drink and put the tiny wound paper in the end of it. (I once was a pro-pea shooter. Honest!)
The distraction was a bit more than I expected. He dropped the entire tray of food. Oooops…
I stood up and pulled on the mink coat all in one smooth move, and made my way carefully to the bathroom, holding onto my wardrobe malfunction through the pocket of the mink coat.
Joyce followed me to the ladies room. Our visit might have been a bit longer than normal, before we could regain our composure… Laughter takes a toll on a girl, let me tell you!
With my skirt firmly KNOTTED in place, and her mink coat over her arm, we returned to the table, to learn we were once more waiting on our food. No charge for our dinner, because of the embarrassing tray dump.
Fortunately, I was carrying cash, and left a couple of discretely hidden hundred dollar bills to cover the cost of food and service, under my plate. I just hope the server will find it in his heart to forgive my well placed ‘wet pea’ at some point in his life.
Wardrobe Malfunction in Pocket
Meeting your first professional interviewee as a Senior in high school can be pretty important. Make him the best looking bachelor in town, and you’re looking at double trouble. But there I was sitting across the table from the hottest piece of manhood in my hometown, and the interview was going fine. I had my note pad, I had my pens, and I had confidence out the wazoo.
A huge part of that confidence came from the perky white button up blouse I wore with my mom’s favorite pleated dark blue skirt. I have to admit I’d raided her closet after she left to find just the right outfit. Including her black leather swing coat – with HUGE pockets. The one I’d borrowed a couple of nights earlier for the dance I wasn’t supposed to go to…
When my pen stopped writing, I reached into the pocket of the coat for another pen. (Mom always kept a spare pen in her pocket for just such an event as this.)
That’s when I felt the wardrobe malfunction… The slippery, silky fabric, of something rather delicate stashed in the pocket of mom’s swing coat…
A thousand thoughts must have run through my mind, and most of them might possibly have included what he might think if he knew what was in my pocket.
That’s when my confidence slipped just a tad, I stuttered my way out of having no pen, and borrowed one from the waitress. The same waitress who was one of mom’s best friends. The one who noticed that my face was suddenly thirty-five shades of red. And the same one who had to ask me right at that moment if everything was okay, because she hadn’t trusted my excuse for being in her restaurant on a school morning, doing an interview with Mr. Hottie. Yeah, that one…
In a split second, my brain froze, and words came out of my mouth that I can’t explain to this day. The interview was suddenly over, he paid the bill and walked out, leaving me standing there trying to explain to mom’s best friend why I was wearing mom’s clothes, and coat, and why I had a black lace slip in my pocket, not on my body.
And 30 years (almost to the day) later, when I bump into Mr. (and MRS.) Hottie at a speaking event, when he recognized me, I finally got to explain.
The slip had been removed at the dance a few nights earlier because it was a bit longer than my skirt. A legitimate wardrobe malfunction, since it wouldn’t stay up. Through tears of laughter (it wasn’t nearly as embarrassing 30 years later), I shared the story of mom’s best friend calling her after he left the restaurant. I may never forget my mother telling me “That’ll teach you not to steal clothes from my closet!” through gales of laughter on our way home.
He and his wife both enjoyed the laugh…
My first MAJOR speaking engagement was in Kansas City at a Sorority Event. I had been invited to fill in the gaps, between a rather famous speaker and other events.
On the plane flying to the event, I recognized the man sitting next to me and we chatted throughout our flight. But not once did we realize we were headed to the same destination. At the airport in KC, we arrived to the Limo at the same time, and realized we were going to the same event. Our conversation through traffic resulted in his insistence on introducing me the following morning, since he would be there.
I was honored.
In fact, I have to say, I’ve never had a better, more honoring introduction, since.
I’d dressed in my favorite outfit, a soft vanilla colored blouse and pleated skirt with matching shoes and a red blazer. I have to tell you, I looked mighty fine that morning. When I walked across that stage to take the microphone, I had confidence. I felt GOOD. I felt so good I might, possibly, have been walking a bit faster, and stronger than I might have on any other day, given the fact that I was wearing inch heels.
Last step, with my hand out, ready to shake hands with the keynote speaker who had just introduced me (yeah, I know how unusual that is), the heel broke on my shoe. There was a moment of realization, combined with the propelled motion of continuous movement forward, and a lunge of some crazy exerted energy to save myself from falling backward in a skidding motion. I missed his outstretched hand. I missed the podium. I fell flat on my face at his feet in a loud, resounding THUD.
The resulting rush to help me up, amid squalls from the audience, gasps of fear, and intense screams, ended with me standing beside him, circled in his arms. He let go only when he knew I could stand on my own two legs, and I’d kicked off both shoes to stand barefooted on the stage.
Then he said, “I don’t think I’ve ever had a woman fall for me quite so hard…”
The ice broke over my indelicate wardrobe malfunction and the speech I gave that day is my favorite ever… I don’t remember even looking at my notes!
Oh how I wish there’d been cell phones to record that speech. Unfortunately, all I have of it are memories, not even a single photo of that event was taken. But what a memory!
That vulnerable feeling happens to all of us at one point or another, but we don’t have to hang onto it forever. We can let it teach us that we’ll get through these moments. Confidence doesn’t come from always having an easy life. It comes from overcoming the difficulties life hands your way. It comes from dealing with our vulnerable moments in a mature way, and finding ourselves on the other side feeling better than we did before.
What brings on your confidence?