This summer, I reconnected with a lot of people I hadn't seen since high school. It was odd, and sort of awkward.
Like high school.
I went to a party one night. A friend's band was playing, I had known the host since he was in diapers but hadn't seen him in about 20 years - I felt a little weird showing up at his house and saying "Hey! Remember me? I am totally crashing your party! Where's the keg?" but of course I did it anyway. We're all adults now, this guy owns his own house, and I heard he had a really sweet wife. Great! Wonderful news!
I dressed for standing around in someone's backyard in the woods: Jeans, tank top, flannel shirt, sandals. Remarkably, it is the same outfit I wear to stand around at night on the beach, or to sit out on my deck, or to go to a friend's house for dinner. Old reliable. Comfortable, full coverage, casual. Tonight, I added copious amounts of bug spray. No one likes bug bites! Don't forget to spray between your toes!
I went to pick up a girlfriend en route. Jenn came down the stairs looking super cute in a blouse and a short denim skirt, and I immediately suspected that I was underdressed. "I need to change."
"No you look great. You look the same as you did in high school! I love it - do not change. It's perfect."
As we were walking to the car to pick up another girlfriend, Jenn casually mentioned that the girl we were picking up "always gets dressed up when we're going out. So, don't be surprised. She'll probably have heels on."
I looked down at my bare feet. My sandals were....somewhere? They were somewhere. Maybe the trunk. I didn't think I would actually need them tonight. "Heels? Jenn, I-"
"You look fine, don't worry about it!"
"I thought we were listening to a band in someone's backyard in the woods!"
"Then why in GOD'S NAME are people wearing skirts and heels?"
Uhm......okay. I won't. Shit. Shit shit shit. I should have on something dressier.
I was silently freaking out. Obviously I was underdressed - but on the other hand, what the hell was one supposed to wear to someone's backyard to listen to a band made up of some buddies from high school?
We arrived at the party and I rounded the corner of the house into the backyard and discovered on first glance what one is supposed to wear, exactly, to a backyard party.
Tailored sundresses. Sweater sets. Cute Shoes.
I was wearing jeans with a few holes in them, and a flannel with a patch on the back.
Like an asshole.
And the wife I was meeting for the first time? I recognized her right away. We went to grade school together. She always looked beautiful and put together - even in 5th grade. She was the girl who carried a purse with mints and a comb and that was why her hair always looked nice and her breath was always fresh. She wore nice tailored clothes, and I wore.....baggy pants and a flannel. I was crashing the party of a girl I didn't know very well, but well enough to know I didn't belong there, dressed like an asshole. She was gracious, and lovely about the whole thing, and we both remarked at what a coincidence it was that she was the hostess, and that she was married to my old neighbor, and we very carefully did not discuss the fact that I was A. Not Invited and B. Not Dressed Appropriately. Because she is ALWAYS gracious and I am NEVER dressed appropriately.
So I went around to the driveway and had a smoke with her brother and a bunch of the husbands.
What the hell.
40 minutes ago