The following events are based on a true story. Names have been changed to protect the fool who may or may not have fictionalized the actual events as they happened. Let’s begin.
A self-conscious middle-aged woman walks into a dress shop. It’s less than a week before her company Christmas party. She needs festive evening attire and a significant change in her merriment mood. Void of make-up, donning frumpy “you left the house like that?” clothes and her cherished scuffed-up boots, and with little more than a quick hair brushing, she believes if she doesn’t make eye contact with the salespeople they won’t speak to her and this horrific annual tradition she refers to as “holiday humiliation” will be over as fast as it began.
Yet everywhere she looks the clothes are sparkly or shiny. Christmas music fills the air further agitating her anxiety. Panic sets in. Her inside voice screams “run for the exit.”
A quick about-face and she could be back outside, but then, come Friday, she’d be the one person at the company Christmas party wearing the same outfit she rotates through her wardrobe every few weeks. “First world problems,” she thinks to herself as she summons the courage to walk to the first rack of dresses. It’s like ‘80s bridesmaids dresses escaped from a time-capsule we all thought was buried forever.
She deftly navigates rack upon rack of dresses, blouses and skirts. Her budget and size options help narrow the field. Something akin to hope, just shy of optimism, has begun. As she reaches for her first potential holiday dress, a salesperson appears out of nowhere. Spinning around she sees a bright-eyed, robust elder woman in bold colours who bids her a friendly “Hello, my love,” in a chipper British accent. Surely our shopper is losing her mind, because this salesperson has the voice of Mrs. Potts, the talking tea pot in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Could it be?
Sizing up the speechless shopper, the sales lady follows with the most personal question, “What size are you, love?”
It’s her. It’s Mrs. Potts in the flesh. Confusion and shock are met with relief, because surely Mrs. Potts is here to rescue the middle-aged nitwit who, by the look on Mrs. Potts’ face, is clearly inept at selecting a dress and wrong about her own dress size. The pushy sales woman takes the dress out of her customer’s arms pretending not to notice the nitwit has just figured out she is a tea-pot come to life. “What’s your name, love?”
“Jane,” the woman whispered. (This is fiction, remember?)
In a speed only a Disney character could muster, the salesclerk assembled a collection of dresses in a size smaller than Jane believed attainable and ushered the retail misfit to the change room area. Jane followed along like a dog being escorted to the vet clinic.
What followed was a series of comical events, not the least of which was the realization that while Jane remembered to shave her legs, she forgot to remove her white sport socks. Her fashion reveals outside the change room are crowd pleasing, but unfortunate.
Wait until you hear what happened next.