Once in a while it’s nice to dress up. You get all fancy and glamourous, and pretend for a night that having crackers ground into your sweater isn’t the status quo. But I think I like the idea of getting dressed up far more than the reality of it….especially when the dressing up comes at the cost of my dignity.
I was invited to the wedding of one of my coworkers, and I intrigued because it was going to be a big (ludicrously big) traditional Indian wedding, and I had never been to one of those before. Suffice to say that the event itself was not quite what I had imagined, but I’ll leave the trauma of the actual wedding for another day. Getting dressed for it was tragedy enough on its own.
Because it was a traditional wedding, we (my co-workers and I) were all asked to wear traditional Indian clothing. Right, because I have a ton of saris just waiting for the opportunity to be worn. To be fair, I was kind of excited because I find saris beautiful, and I (misguidedly) figured that if I had to dress up, it might as well be something different. I tend to be one of those people who has one black dress that makes its way to all the parties. I change shoes. Sometimes.
My dreams of sweeping fabrics, and intricately dangerous fabric tuck jobs just waiting to come undone were quickly dashed. You don’t wear a sari to the temple. Why? No idea. I was just told not to. Apparently I needed to find myself a churidar kurta.
I could not properly pronounce the word, let alone be trusted to accurately select something that represents whatever that was supposed to be.
After having the word written down for me…my hooked-on-phonics version was not correct…I hit up google for help. It was very little help. The variety of styles and colours was staggering and I really wanted to avoid committing a cultural taboo by showing up dressed like an unknowing bar wench.
I kept trying to ask my co-worker for direction, but she looked at me as if I was asking about the differences between a ball gown and a bath towel, and the conversation would inevitably end with “don’t worry about it”. Right. I’ll be the white girl at the Indian wedding accidentally dressed as a prostitute.
Luckily, my daughter’s daycare provider was an amazing Iranian woman who loaned me a couple of traditional outfits to try on for the event. She told me that I would not look like a hooker. This was reassuring.
I took the stuff home, got kids into bed, and decided to see how the outfits looked. I put the first one on; it was a sack. Actually it was a white and green whale-like sack. Next.
There were a couple of contenders, but the one I really liked was a cute little burgundy number. It was a bit smaller than the others, and I had my fingers crossed that it would be flattering.
The pants fit as well as could be expected I guess. I can best describe them as ballooning silk pyjama pants that taper in to your ankle with a drawstring for a belt. Not something I would normally go in for, but hey, try something new.
The shirt on the other hand fit much better. It was awkward to get into, as it had one of those hateful side zippers that doesn’t allow the shirt to come fully apart, but just gives you the illusion that you’ll fit into it. There was beautiful gold embroidery, sequins, and a hint of shimmer. It really was beautiful. And it fit. More or less.
Really, really less.
I tried to take it off.
It wouldn’t come off.
I couldn’t get my arms above my head to get out of it. I struggled, tried to use gravity to my advantage….nothing. The churidar kurta had me in its vice-like grasp.
If you’ve ever been in a changing room and had this happen, you know the panic that accompanies being stuck in clothing. It wasn’t my outfit, I couldn’t just cut it off (though I seriously considered it anyway), and I didn’t really want to live in it. To make matters worse, Husband was working out of town so I had no one at home to help extract me from the silk nightmare.
I tend towards claustrophobia, and yes, this totally counted. I panicked. And then I panicked some more. None of that helped. The shirt didn't give a fuck about how much I wanted out of it.
So I called my mom.
|Please understand I hate this|
picture and am sharing with you
only so you can grasp the unflattering horror
of the whale sack
After she stopped laughing at me, she agreed to come over to help rescue me from the shirt that felt far more like a Chinese finger trap than an article of clothing. When she showed up at my door, it took her a solid 15 minutes of laughing at me some more before she ACTUALLY helped release me from shirt-prison. Thank God she didn’t have her camera with her, or I’m sure she would have created some sort of photo documentary about it.
I’m also sure she laughed all the way back home.
On the day of the wedding I wore the unflattering whale sack. The picture here doesn't do it's terrible-ness the justice it deserves, but this photo was the only one I had....probably because I ran screaming every time a camera was brought out.
To the whale sack's credit, at least it allowed me to move. Had I let vanity win and wore the burgundy outfit...which sadly I almost did...I don't think I would have been able to survive the duration of the wedding. I imagine it would have been like sitting for two hours in the cuddly embrace of a hungry boa constrictor.
That said, dying in the loving embrace of said boa-shirt may have been preferable to attending the wedding itself. If only I'd known that beforehand, I could have saved myself one hell of a headache...