The husband and I went to a BIG shindig for his work last night, so BIG it was held in an airplane hanger at a small local airport. It was the kind of event I am familiar with in theory but not so much in practice: a charitable event for which people buy tables and make pledges and to which people wear "cocktail attire." Since we did not, in fact, buy a table for this event (surprise!), our invite was a last minute, someone else bowed out and you probably should be coming anyway sort of affair. Which meant that we found out on Friday that we were going on Saturday. So guess what happened? I went into "cocktail attire" meltdown! Now, it's not as if I don't have a few cocktail-ish dresses in my wardrobe, because I just happen to have some.
HOWEVER, every single one of them was either A, bought and last worn before I had kids; B, bought and last worn when I was a different size; or C, bought and not yet worn because it needed a slight alteration in length (almost all dresses are too short to be modest even on not so tall me). So, facing my admittedly limited options was, ahem, fun. I decided I should at least make an attempt to get something more wearable and went out with both boys on Saturday morning as soon as the stores opened and searched the dresses at Macy's, Penney's, and Sears. Why those stores, you ask? Well, as my friend recently reminded me, they have the best selection of modest but fancy dresses. And, while this is true, it turns out that their selection is SEVERELY limited when you are shopping on the day of. If you want to order something online, they are your friends. But on this day, there was nothing, and I mean nothing on the racks that would work for me. So, I returned back to my original options and made do. Literally: I walked out of the house with some 3 inch macrame-esque lace secured with safety pins to under my bodice (it looked like a very fancy doily) where it was doing the heavy work of covering the post-children decolletage that was threatening to escape. Tim Gunn would have been proud of my make it work gumption. Lesson learned: I will be buying a few more cocktail dresses that actually fit and cover all the important parts while I am visiting relatives in Utah this summer and/or online so I am better equipped when the next one of these events appears out of nowhere. Because we are totally going to as many of these things as we can!
This party, as I said, was held in a transformed airplane hanger and had an around the world theme, which meant we had food from every possible location. Falafel, sushi, eggplant ragout, tabouleh, short ribs, saffron rice and lamb boboutie, chicken tangine, churros with guava sauce, nanaimo bars, apple fritter pops, on and on and on. It was amazingly good, except for a goat cheese and watermelon hors d'oeuvre I got by mistake and promptly spit out ('cause I'm classy like that) and an "edible cocktail" someone handed me that I ate before my brain processed what an edible cocktail might actually be (that's right, bourbon jello with a cherry and a twist of lemon, folks. I think it was supposed to be a take on a Manhattan? Ooops!). Actually, the appetizers and desserts were fabulous and the meat for dinner was great, but I could have done without the dinner salad and the goat cheese bread pudding that accompanied the meat.
Besides the food, there were drinks (ginger ale for me), a silent auction, a live auction, dancing, and, very oddly, random people dressed in character scattered throughout the room: a matador, a woman pressing grapes with her feet ala Lucille Ball, a man dressed in some sort of Victorian garb, and a woman who looked like Eliza Doolittle if Eliza had had an unfortunate stint as a prostitute before meeting Henry Higgins....? What?! I suppose they were there for global (maybe also period?) ambiance but really their presence was somewhat discomfiting. But it was all very exciting, nonetheless. We got a babysitter, we had on fancy clothes, we (accidentally) had adult beverages, we ate fabulous food, we chatted it up with strangers, and we watched people spend thousands of dollars on long safaris in South Africa, Mercedes Benz tours in Germany, Top Gun flights in military aircraft, and one-of-a-kind verticals of wine (of which I had never heard until last night, so it turned out to be an educational evening as well!). We will certainly do it again. Right after I get a new dress!