Sara Pascoe

Sara Pascoe


Just the Facts Ma’am

The Art of Compromise or Dress Shopping Against my Will Earthdate 2018.87

I Have Two Weddings to Go To

I have two weddings to go to, so I thought I’d get myself a nice dress. Not a “that-looked-much-better-on-the internet-but it-sort-of-fits-and-my-sweat-suit-is-in-the-wash” kind of dress. But a real dress. Something I like that looks decent on, and I feel good in. OK, so realistic expectations aren’t my strength.

I hate clothes shopping any more. Those three-way mirrors should be against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. My friends are all busy (or so they say). And there’s no way I can bring my husband. Not for the reasons you might think. He’s one of the kindest most patient people I know, and he doesn’t even mind clothes shopping. But his idea of a nice outfit for me tends toward retro slut. Flattering in some respects, but talk about outfits I wouldn’t be comfortable in. I’d feel like I was delusionally auditioning for a Bond film. At least a decade  too late.

So, with the internet my oyster I start my dress quest. I quickly learn there is a dress type called “Wedding Guest.” Who knew? Now they need to have a wedding guest dress register so you could see if anyone was going to wear the same dress to the same wedding. And it would have to list their dress size, to know if you might look better or worse than the other person (no sexism here). Meow.

I look at more of these wedding guest ensembles. There’s a whole type that is obviously designed by the penal system; pencil skirts worn with stripper-high heels. No way you could get away in that get-up. And look, some even come in orange.

And then I come across those dresses with matching little jackets. That sounds like a good. This could give the optical illusion of a waist. Then better yet, I remember something the women in the generation before me called a “two-piece dress.” This is a coordinating skirt and top, where the top glances over your hips, like a wave over the cliffs of Dover. Being short, this sounds like a good idea, because once a dress fits around me, there’s usually a few yards too much fabric on the top portion.

So, I type “two-piece dress” into google, expecting tasteful, possibly even classy dress ensembles for the completely grown-up woman. But what do I get? Page after page of skirts with matching belly shirts. This is a cruel joke against anyone over 40. I think about contacting my Member of Parliament, Conner Burns, but then I remember he’s also a paid consultant for an oil company, so would likely be all for more spandex, polyester, and acrylic.

I groan at the computer. My husband pops his head into my office, “Everything OK?” I see his eyes flick to the screen of inappropriate dresses. “Come on, let’s go shopping in person,” he suggests. I glare. I narrow my eyes, then I have thought. “And we can get a bite out for supper – saves me cooking!” Marriage is all about compromise.