The back of my closet seems to have become the place where little black dresses go to die. I suppose if I had a funeral for them, I would at least have something to wear.
Each day, I go about my work teaching Catholic first graders. I wear my hair in a ponytail to lessen the chance I might get lice. I wear running shoes because there is always the possibility that I may, indeed, have to run after someone. I wear khaki pants from Goodwill because it is in my teaching contract that I may at anytime be peed, puked or bled upon. I teach 6 year-olds. There is glitter involved.
My husband and I do go out to dinner each weekend, but the black dresses remain safely tucked away. There is no need for Bob Evans to meet Calvin Klein. Mathematically, the proportion of the number of my black dresses to the number of places I go which require a black dress is, maybe, 9:1. My days of dressing fashionably are, at best, limited to weddings and funerals.
And occasionally, a wine tasting.
Tomorrow night I am going out with a group of girls to a local winery. Granted, it is a Wednesday, a school night, and I will probably be home in time for Modern Family, but I may indeed dust off a black dress for the occasion.
I have no one to impress by wearing one of the dresses, as the winery is extra-local and would only hold about 20 people anyway. It isn’t Kathy’s Kountry Kitchen, but it isn’t exactly a hub of fashion, either. They sell wine with a deer on the label.
It has been said that women dress to impress other women, but these women are my workout friends. They see me regularly in yoga pants and pit stained t-shirts. They do not care. Nor am I dressing to gain male attention. I am crazy happily married to a man who carves wooden elephants for our upcoming grandchild and slow dances with me to John Mayer. No, if I dust off a dress tomorrow night, it will be for my own benefit.
A question one might ask now is, “Why does she keep buying these damn black dresses?!” That’s actually a question to which my husband would love to hear a logical answer. Unfortunately, logic doesn’t play a part in my addiction. I see a sale rack at Macy’s. It has a black dress. The black dress fits me. I buy the dress. This is the process, a process which is quite automatic, and has been for many years. Even in my brokest of broke moments, I found comfort in the purchase of a dress that made me feel elegant and sexy, even when I could only afford to wear it to The Walmart.
Tomorrow night when I go out with friends, I may just bring an old friend with me – maybe a dress that has been itching to go out for a long time. Her job as my “wingman” will simply be to make me feel great. She just has to agree not to drink too much and make out with strange men; we do have to be home by 9.