Every year my husband’s company graciously treats their hard working employees and significant others to a lovely dinner party. I live for this night 364 days out of the year. Translated: Not only does someone else cook my dinner, clean the kitchen, serve me and pour the wine, I get to dress up. Like a lady. Otherwise, if I want to play dress up enough to warrant special undergarments, I’d have to book a cruise with Formal Dinner Nights. I’ve been known to do this. My husband prefers the office parties since, unlike the cruises, I don’t force him to force himself into his tux.
For the past 8 years, I’ve mapped out an “Office Party Count Down” on my calendar for the 3 months leading up to the party. I mean, for a girl who works at home wearing PJ’s, a ponytail and spit up, these things can take some effort. Besides, it’s my solemn duty to fulfill line 6 of our wedding vows: “I Karen, promise to make you, Scott, look good in public, especially in front of any Doof at work who doesn’t treat you like the prince you are.”
Past year’s check lists included: Stop biting nails, make manicure appointment, make hair appointment, start jogging, reserve babysitter; lock up secret stash of emergency dark chocolate and switch to York Peppermint Patties, skip dessert, make appointment with spray-on tanning chick, try on every formal and semi formal dress; have girlfriends come over and vote on outfit choices; shop for new dress; try on all dressy shoes; shop for new shoes; break in new shoes; buy new tie for Scott to match my outfit; borrow accessories from girlfriends (note evening bag); search and discover perfect shade of red lipstick.
I’m not sure what happened to me over the last year, but when the “Save the Date for the Annual Office Holiday Party!” e-mail arrived in October, I didn’t feel that same rush. No panic. No hair appointment with Natasha precisely 2 hours prior to the party so it’d still look smashing when I got there. No drooling over eveningwear with Isabella in the Petite Department at Nordstrom. I glued a tip on my one bitten nail, painted them all “buff” and considered it done.
This year, at five O’clock on the day of the 7 O’clock party, my girlfriends walked in my house and found me hunched over my laptop clad in my comfy jeans and sweatshirt. My hair was at least in an updo…secured with an old hot roller clip. “Geez, you weren’t kidding when you mentioned not panicking this year!” They dragged me to my closet where I pulled out two dresses-one from the party 5 years ago and one from 2 years ago. “Whataya think — Requisite Red or Vintage Black? And remember when we wouldn’t be caught dead in a rerun? What’s happened to us?”
“Red. And we’re over 40.”
“And it’s a beautiful thing. Now come on, let’s get you in shape to keep those wedding vows….”