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The Not-So-Perfect Dress

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The summer sun emerges and I automatically want to buy a new dress. I imagine crisp linens or flowing fabrics in kelly green and matching patent leather sandals with cork wedges. After escaping my graduate class last week, I felt compelled to take part in a “spot of shopping”—as my mother in-law delicately puts it—the intonations of her accent sounding smooth and unwavering.


Armed with an over-priced soy latte, I emerge onto the streets lined with chic boutiques amongst the high streets, I walked passed each, my reflection of milky winter skin nearly blinding me.


“I must book that holiday villa in Lanzorate for some much needed sun.”


I walk passed each boutique window display and feel drawn to enter through the doorways. It is as if a cyclone force is drawing me inwards. Soft spring colors line the walls, flowing with each open of the boutique door. Always liking the idea of owning my very own boutique, I make a mental note of the jewel-enhanced wallpapers, the mini topiary, the chandeliers. I imagine my own shop with quotations of “I want a chic shop with dresses and jewelery and handbags and stuff …” neatly scrolled on the walls in glossy paint above linen chic-ness. I have so many dreams yet, at present, shopping is of upmost importance.


And at that moment, I spotted it—dainty, flowing, and in my size. I imagined it swishing like a bell as I moved within the layers of material. I had to have it. A slender male figure in infamous skinny jeans and a sheer top of mini flower print greets me with a commissioning smile. His hair is styled with an abundance of hair product, his hips popping from side to side and he sashays. He takes my newly found dress to the back of the shop while I follow with anticipation. I make my way to the dressing room of heavy velvet curtains and oversized poufs—American-ly known as footstools.


Stripping to bareness, my skin feels slightly cool to the touch. Happy to have worn my best knickers (ahem) panties and bra set, I slip into the dress.


There is no zip.


Determined, I force the fabric over my chest. If I can get the dress past the heaving flesh, I can make it work. Finally. I swish around the dressing room, proudly modeling and curious as to which function it may be worn next. I imagine shoes, pearl necklace, and my favorite matching earrings. Time for the purchase.


As I emerge into the dressing room once again, I tug at the dress, pulling it upwards with more and more force and the minutes pass. I can feel a flush of warmth overcoming my face, my cheeks as pink as roses. My skin becomes clammy, my breath quick and relentless. I was trapped—in my perfect dress.


“Are you alright?” the boutique assistant yelps from outside the curtains. His accent lazy and consonants and vowels skimmed over as he spoke.


I grunted.


Oh my good heavens, I just grunted?


Mortified, I quickly responded, “Yes, terrific! Fantastic, thanks!”


My gawd that was so American. Why didn’t you just shout, “Awesome!” in your best hillbilly accent followed by a “Hee-haw!”


But I wasn’t alright. I was trapped in a dress and three seconds away from having a panic attack. I felt just like I did when I was trapped in a tanning bed room. The lock would not budge, I was hot and flustered and on the verge of screaming for help.


Yet, this time I couldn’t. I was half-naked and I certainly was not letting Mr Sass-a-frass free me from the restricting garment. I imagined myself walking into the boutique with the dress halfway over my head giving the British my best “I am the great cornholio” impression. Surely, Beavis was a hit in the 1990s.


Eventually, I freed myself. After sitting my bare fanny ahem bum on a corner chair in the dressing room and letting the redness in my cheeks subside.


Needless to say, I did not purchase that little green number even though it was fabulous on. I could not imagine wearing it indefinitely.

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