Take two

In which I try to rewrite the thing I accidentally deleted and remain convinced throughout the process that the first one was better.

Remember waaaaayyyyy back on Friday when I was all worried about whether either of the fancy dresses I'd rented for Sunday's wedding would fit me?  And, if not, how I developed a Plan B in which I would just wear the fancy necklace and a sheet?

First off, you should know that I've been obsessing about what to wear to this event ever since the moment I received the very grand invitation in the mail.  It was weighty, all black and gold, and sheathed in more than one envelope. This wasn't a "modest gathering under my grandma's oak tree" type situation.  It specified "Red Carpet Attire," which I took to mean I needed to acquire a floor-length gown immediately. I didn't. I checked with the bride personally. Yes. I was sufficiently concerned about my attire that I asked the bride whom I had never met what I should wear to her wedding, an event at which I was very nearly the least important person in attendance (I think my date might have been one step lower than me since he knew no one at all and agreed to squire me there as a kindness). She was very nice about it, to say nothing of helpful, which I think bodes well for my beloved friend of 24 years whose wife she now is.

Having gotten the requisite guidance ("pretend you're going to a nice New Year's Eve party"), I knew that I had one perfectly serviceable dress already in my closet.  Nevertheless, a wedding in 1940s Hollywood nightclub seemed to dictate a little up-stepping. I decided to rent a dress, a thing I'd never done, but which a friend has done repeatedly and with great success. I scrolled though scores of available dresses, finally settling on the likely candidate as well as a second option, just in case. (They have "just in case" pricing for your second choice.  It's like they've met a woman before. Bless their hearts.)

Having chosen the dresses, I then commenced to fret about whether or not they would fit me. You have a four-day rental window, so there's not really time to try it on and then opt for something else. Instead, I worried about this for about a month. I had a dream that I left for LA a day early, forgetting that the dresses were being delivered the following day. The rest of the dream was all dreamscape desert highway and panic. I made some calls from phone booths. My dreams and I are very old fashioned.

In short, the dresses loomed large.

On Friday, after an unexpectedly emotionally exhausting week, I went to get my hair done after work. By the time I walked out, newly blown-dry and glossy-tressed, I was feeling better. I felt like maybe my broken heart was not doomed to be a permanent affliction and that, just maybe, I would look suitably glamorous in the dress that was waiting for me at home.

But then it wasn't. Waiting for me.  No box. There was a voicemail message waiting for me from a nice lady several streets away. She called to let me know that she'd found an empty, torn-open Rent The Runway box with my name and phone number on it on her front stoop. She thought I should know.

Some accursed criminal had stolen my dresses. And my necklace. And my fledgling optimism.

I reacted with surprising calm. I thanked the good samaritan for her call; I emailed the rental company at once; I went to the lady's house to retrieve the box lest it be needed for "evidence"; I filed a police report.  And then I called my mother and cried and cried and cried. Because, seriously, what I am? Some kind of decorated war hero?

It sucked. I am easily upset by theft. The injustice of it rankles. This was not "I stole the bread for my starving family. I am noble but desperate." This was, "I stole someone's borrowed party dresses because I could. I am an asshole."

Don't despair, fair reader. Things worked out.

Happy endings, variously:

  1. My perfectly good dress still fits me. It was appropriate and also free. Well, not initially, but I've had it for at least six years, so it counts as free now.  It was quite excited not to be passed over for the big event; it doesn't get out much since my taste is fancier than my actual life. It is a recurring problem.
  2. When I called Rent the Runway first thing in the morning, steeled for recriminations and possible financial ruin, the first thing the representative said was, "Oh no!  I'm so sorry this happened to you."  And then she immediately refunded the rental cost.  This was simultaneously relieving, classy, and just plain nice.
  3. The thief, realizing what a horrible misstep this had been, gave the stolen goods to an organization that loans dresses to underprivileged girls so they can attend school formals and then signed up to perform 200 hours of community service.  Well, no. That didn't happen, but it would have been nice.
  4. The bride and groom became husband and wife without being embroiled at all in my sartorial drama. That, as it turns out, was the point of the wedding. And now they can get on with living happily ever after.

Additionally, I did a lot of dancing as if no one were watching to many 80's hits (though unfortunately, someone was watching and he had a large camera, so that will be distressing later); my friend did all the driving on the way home even though it was much more vexing than the driving I did on the way there due to far greater quantities of A) semis and B) darkness. And, upon my return, my fella had been convinced by my superpower of Overlong Emotional Missive not to give up me after all.  In a word: phew.

I expect the rest of November to be comparatively restful.