Cocktail Un-Dress

One of the events scheduled for the BlissDom Canada conference I attended last week was a “Great Canadian Outdoors Party” in a giant heated tent.  Questioning from numerous attendees about the dress code for this event received the same answer:  Glamping.  Anything from formal dress to jeans.

I felt anxious.  It was my first social media conference and I wanted to make a good impression, part of which meant “looking the part” of a serious, yet fun, writer.

As a woman who is happiest not camping, I have no idea what you wear for it, let alone the glamour version.  Did “heated tent” mean really hot, or just taking the edge off the cold?  Would it be cold outside? Would we even be outside? All pertinent questions when it comes to choosing just the right outfit!

I consulted some fellow bloggers who were attending, and they confirmed they’d be sporting some kind of cocktail-ish dresses.  We joked that perhaps we should wear our respective wedding dresses with galoshes.  That conversation may seem funnier in a minute or two.

I rummaged through my closet full of nothing to wear and found numerous pretty dresses that I couldn’t possibly wear for one reason or another.  I even ventured to the mall for a quick lookabout, but finally decided that I would wear a gorgeous red dress with matching jacket ensemble that I had last worn for Baby Girl’s baptism 4 years ago.  It still fit – in a double-Spanx-and-don’t-bend-your-arms kind of way.

So I dropped off my suit at the dry cleaners for a freshen-up and invested my new dress money in a gorgeous pair of tan riding boots that I knew I’d get way more mileage out of than a new cocktail dress.

Imagine my horror when I arrived to pick up my suit a few days later, only to realize that it had been rendered un-wearable by the dry cleaning process.  (Don’t worry about the specifics of what made it un-wearable or which dry cleaners did it.  That’s not the point of this story.)

I rushed home from the dry cleaners, frantic.  The conference was TWO days away, I had NO dress and could not remember the last time I bought a dress that didn’t require tailoring, which takes a few days, minimum!  I was freaking out and rushed to my closet to reconsider all of my previously-unfit options.

Suddenly, my eyes rested on a garment bag that I had not opened in years.  The joking conversation I had had with my blogger friends flashed into my mind – my wedding dress!  Was it appropriate?  Too OTT? I would need to have it shortened to cocktail length, but it was hand-made for my second wedding and intentionally styled to not look like a wedding dress, because I was never getting married again after my first marriage failed.

I pulled it out of the bag, happy that the nude colour and simple design were still stylish enough to wear now.  I pulled it over my head, wiggling a bit and suddenly had a flashing memory of Huzbo complaining he may have to rip it off of me on our wedding night, and not because of his excited sexual anticipation.

It had been made fitted, and now it was more so.  It was really tight, hard to close the hidden side-zipper.  Those 20 pounds I had gained since my wedding were blowing raspberries at me.  Damn.  It wouldn’t work, I couldn’t wear this dress either.

I crossed my arms to pull off the dress and felt a sharp stab in my upper arms and across my shoulder blades.  I strained a bit harder, but there was no give in the dress’ fabric or fit.  I couldn’t cross my arms.  I attempted to pull one arm down the sleeve and out the zipper space.  That wasn’t happening either.  I began to sweat.  I tried repeatedly to get at least one arm free of the frock prison I was being held captive in, but it would not release me.

I was trapped inside my wedding dress.

I suddenly had stomach spasms of anxiety, while glancing at the clock and realizing I had to pick Baby Girl up from school in 20 minutes.  Visions of KD Lang pranced through my head.

Huzbo was in the city working, too far to come home to help.  I began mentally running down the list of people nearby that I could call for help without feeling like I could never see or speak to them again once I did.

The first friend I called didn’t answer.

Sweat was dripping, clock was ticking.

I called my next-door neighbour and was both thrilled and appalled when she answered the phone.

“Hi.  I’m really embarrassed to be making this call, but I’m trapped inside my wedding dress.

Could you pop over and undress me?”

I may never try on clothes alone again…

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28 thoughts on “Cocktail Un-Dress

  1. You had me tears I so love you! I too have been trapped in dresses but not at home in dressing rooms! I really just relived what I went through.for me it was so bad I told my dd to go ask the cashier for scissors and I would pay for the dress! I too start to panick and can’t breathe! Thanks for the laugh today!

  2. Wonderfully written and funny story, that reminds me of several in store incidents recently. I thought one event of trying on dress that could not get out of was going to see me locked in the change room overnight and I would be found in sweating mass on floor. One big tug of I-don’t-care-if-it-rips and I did get out. 🙂

    • Thank you Darleen! Wow, trapped in the dressing room would have been way worse…funny how so many women have added their own versions of this story! So glad I’m not the only one who’s been trapped!

  3. Furreals, Deb! I seriously considered that option – ripping my beloved wedding dress apart just to avoid having to call someone to extract me from it! This has never happened to me before – yes, I’ve been trapped, but always with someone right there to assist! Such a feeling of panic when I first realized it! lol

  4. YOU KNOW! that’s the best thing I ever read, and it’s so Bridget Jones. Seriously. I got trapped inside a party dress in the Rent Frock Repeat lounge. They urged me to try this tiny dress covered in feathers on (totally appropriate for a 45 year old woman), and I got stuck in it. Oh, good times. LOVED meeting you at Blissdom.

    • Hi Jane! Thanks for your comment! Wow, we have some interesting connections: Huzbo was born in England, although he came to Canada as a teen and stayed here. Also, Baby Girl (my daughter) was born in South Africa, which is where we adopted her 4 years ago! Love your artwork!

  5. Sorry for not remembering (and I know that we spoke, eck), what did you end up wearing? I’m pretty sure that you didn’t go naked. Even though it’s not the point of the post, I’d love to see what you came up with in two days. As for me, it pays to have friends with nice wardrobes. Besos, Sarah at Journeys of The Zoo

    • LOL Sarah! I definitely did NOT go nekked! I did a rush shop at Melanie Lynne and bought a simple but nice enough LBD, and blinged it up with some big jewellery! I wish I could sample friend’s wardrobes : ( So far, not many friends with matching body shapes!

  6. LOL Love it! I may, or may not have had something similar happen when I tried on my wedding dress for a blogging meme many years ago. I’d love to see a photo of you in the dress when it fit.

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