Thigh highs and a garter belt, in case you were wondering, are not the way to go. At least not when you’re in Manhattan for the weekend, you’ve gotten half price tickets to Stomp and it’s snowing.
For those of you who missed Friday’s gift card debate, I decided to blow my Christmas bonus on a pair of boots.
Boots that would enable me to spend the entire day walking around Manhattan without the risk of pneumonia or a twisted ankle, unlike my usual footwear.
So I got myself over to the mall by TWD’s house and made my way to Macy’s. I don’t normally shop at Macy’s because I can’t normally afford anything at Macy’s but I figured I might luck out with the pre-Christmas sales. (Actually, TWD figured I might luck out with the pre-Christmas sales; I scoffed at him and said, “What are you, crazy? They’re not going to discount anything three days before Christmas!” only to discover that they had discounted practically the entire shoe department…)
I tried on three pairs, discovered that my feet are continuing to shrink (should I be concerned about this?) and settled on a pair with buttons and a chunky silver zipper up the back. They were marked down to $100 but when I got up to the register, the sales lady informed me that they were in fact $40.
“Really?” I exclaimed. “Forty dollars??? That’s unexpected! That’s… that’s amazing!”
It was a moment of weakness. I should have simply accepted the mark down, made the purchase and gotten the hell of there but I really was surprised and I couldn’t help myself. Plus, I’m pretty sure Santa delivers coal to those who try to take advantage of elderly, overworked retail associates three days before Christmas.
She rescanned the boots. Then she called over another of the associates. I was, at this point, already dreaming of what I could buy at Victoria’s Secret with the remaining $60 (one bra? One and a half bras perhaps?) if I hadn’t opened my mouth, thus alerting the entire footwear team to the possibility of an incorrect markdown and inadvertently dashing my own hopes of sexy underwear… but they at last ruled in my favor.
(I’m pretty sure it’s because I bought dinner for a homeless woman on Thursday night. Whenever I buy things for homeless women, I get the hook up at Victoria’s Secret.)
Victoria’s Secret overwhelms me but I’m determined that someday, I’ll be able to walk in there and plop down eighty dollars for a rhinestone-studded bra like it’s no big deal…
Unfortunately, that day has not yet arrived so I wandered around avoiding eye contact with the sales associates, bumping into things and generally making a great nuisance of myself. I found two garter belts: one that had a lacy skirt and black thong attached (no thank you) and one that was covered in sequins and said Ho Ho Ho (umm… no).
I was about to give up when I finally deigned to ask a sales associate for help. “Do you sell garter belts without the thongs attached?”
Her colleagues looked at me like I was crazy but she said, “Yes! Follow me!”
(I’m pretty sure she was actually an angel.)
She led me through the labyrinth of overpriced lingerie (is it just me or is it impossible to walk in a straight line through that store?) to a large white cabinet. The bottom drawer contained garter belts.
“What size are you?” she asked.
(Aren’t they supposed to know these things? I’m not the one running around with a tape measure around my neck…)
“They come in extra small, small and medium/large” she prompted.
“Small, I guess.”
(Way to make curvier amongst us feel right at home, Victoria’s Secret.)
When I asked if they sold a matching bra, she too looked at me like I was crazy. (“Well, you could pair it with anything! It’s black! Like a plain black bra, or a lacy black bra, or a colored bra AND colored panties, you know, for a nice contrast. A sequined bra… a strapless bra… really, it’s up to you!”)
After assuring me of the garment’s creative potential, she led me over to another display case: thigh highs.
I never knew thigh highs we so complicated. It took me a good five minutes to make a decision. But finally I found a pair (sheer black guaranteed to stay in place) and decided to venture back into the bra department on my own.
This, in hindsight, was a mistake. I was so excited about the possibility of buying boots and underwear that I forgot I was planning to wear a strapless dress on Saturday night. Amidst all of the confusion, I somehow convinced myself that paying $48 for a non-strapless bra was a very good idea—possibly the best idea ever—and I left the mall swinging my pink striped Victoria Secret bag with all the pride of a spoiled suburban teenager.
Fast forward to New York:
We’re in the hotel trying to thaw out after an hour in line at the TKTS booth in Times Square. We’ve got half price tickets to Stomp and reservations at a Spanish restaurant downtown for 6:30.
“Shit!” I swear.
“What happened?” TWD shouts back (I’ve banished him to the bathroom so I can get dressed in private).
It has finally occurred to me that my new $48 bra is not going to work with my old $14 dress.
Even worse, I can’t make heads or tails of these damn stockings.
I know how they’re supposed to work, in theory, but I’ve never worn a garter belt before and the clips are, as I feared, rather complicated.
The no-slip guarantee isn’t helping. Each stocking has a large, plastic band at the top and the bands are so thick that the clips are slipping.
“Are you okay out there?” TWD asks.
“NO! Don’t come out!”
I finally manage to get the front clips in place but I can only twist so far around to tackle the back. I’m sitting there cursing mankind and the lingerie industry and Victoria’s Secret and the fact that technology hasn’t produced anything better than this damn contraption over the past… oh, I don’t know… FIVE centuries (except that I know it has. They’re called control-top panty hose; I’m just choosing not to wear them).
Fifteen minutes later, I’m finally locked and loaded and ready to go, only to realize that my thigh highs are stuck down around my knees, meaning there’s a huge gap between them and my less-than-knee-length dress. So I start pulling and tugging and readjusting straps, all the while feeling about as sexy as a Christmas ham wrapped in duct tape. (Lacy duct tape, but duct tape nonetheless.)
Amazing enough, I make it out of the hotel room and to the subway without incident. I also make it through dinner and to the theater without incident. Things get a little complicated when I decide to use the restroom (bear in mind, we’d shared an entire pitcher of sangria by that point) but by the time we reach the salsa club, I’ve finally mastered the art of peeing whilst wearing a garter belt.
Not that I intend to utilize that particular skill again anytime soon.
Merry Christmas, folks.
(And yes, I’m returning that $48 bra… I would rather have coffee or chocolate or—even better—more shoes.)
- In the Event of an Apocalypse… (fieldworkinstilettos.com)