The invitation seemed fun: a charity event with a theme of women, shoes, and wine. What could go wrong? I arrived alone, eagerly anticipating a fun evening but instead I found a sorority initiation and I had been blackballed by secret ballot. They forgot to tell me.
The room overflowed with young, beautiful women dressed in tiny white dresses and prancing about on stiletto heels. I stood in low, sensible sandals wearing a multi-colored dress that wouldn't wrinkle or show wine stains. My outfit covered my cleavage and thighs, which is more than I can say for the other dresses. I felt like a middle-aged, iron-deficient matron surrounded by Vegas show girls.
I paid good money (25% deductible) to be there, so I picked up my commemorative wine glass and entered the soirée. I endured the evening by using this hastily devised survival guide modeled after the five stages of dealing with grief and sorrow.
- Denial. Once, there was no way in hell that I couldn’t command everyone in the room to look up when I arrived. But now people couldn’t glance beyond their appetizer plate when I entered, and the chirpy young woman at the registration table hollered, “And, who are you?” I retorted, “I’m your worst nightmare, Honey.” I refused to believe that I was twice as old and weighed 50% more that the ebullient host and her entourage. Please note: Denial is best tolerated with a bold Cabernet. Or two.
- Anger. Immediately I regretted wearing my frumpy outfit and boring shoes. Didn’t I read the invitation? Did I assume it would be a hootenanny down at the feed store? How could I allow myself to morph into a cartoon character for the crazy old aunt? Why didn’t I wear the fancy high-heeled shoes that cost more per square inch than ocean-view property? Didn’t all these spoiled debutants know that gravity eventually will win and in a few years all those perky boobs will be lolling down near the floor? Yes, I was that snarky and insecure.
- Bargaining. After a few minutes, I was willing to trade my car to go back in time thirty years. But, there were no takers and I really liked my car.
- Depression. After I realized that the energy of the evening didn’t need me, I felt deflated. But that just prompted another trip to the dessert table and wine bar. Sugar and fermented grapes continue to provide my go-to pick-me-up.
- Acceptance. I finally acknowledged that the statuesque blond strutting in a transparent shrink-wrapped tube of material was gorgeous, and I accepted the fact that this beauty wasn’t me. Finally, after maneuvering through the crowd of pampered princesses, I stood alone and embraced the reality that I was comfortable in my own skin, every wrinkled and worn expanse of it. Acceptance is so much more fun than dwelling in anger and depression.
I stayed long enough to sample the delicious appetizers and savor the appealing wine. Then I left unnoticed and entered an elevator full of lovely young women holding their shoes.
“My feet are killing me!’ one exclaimed.
“I don’t have periods anymore,” I said. Then I walked into the night, smiling in the twilight of wise old age.
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