Dressing Room Malfunction

Did I ever tell you about that time I had to be cut out of a dress?

True story.

Just as embarrassing as you imagine.

A couple weeks before the Charleston girls trip wedding extravaganza, I finally found time to sneak out and look for a new dress. I headed straight for White House|Black Market, one of my favorite places to splurge. (And by splurge, I mean - spend more than 20 bucks on something I'll never wear in every day life. I can't bring myself to shop there for real life stuff. My first graders just don't appreciate the finer things.)

The store had just opened and I was the first customer. This means I was swarmed by bored, helpful sales people who immediately began throwing their most expensive outfits at me while I rifled through the sales rack. (Because nothing says splurging like the red-lined clearance rack.) The sales women held a brief but serious skirmish over who would get my attention, and the woman who finally beat out the others was working it, loading me up with sexy heels and blingy jewelry and compliments galore. I'd disappear behind the curtain, clothe myself, fling open the drapes for the big reveal, and bask in the attention. Literally, this woman was buckling my shoes and slipping the jewels onto my wrists.

Anyway, we were having a grand old time. I tried on a few dresses I discarded immediately, picked out a winner (obviously one of the clearance dresses), and fell hard for a mod little black full-priced number that I just couldn't justify (but hating walking away from). My chirpy sales lady kept popping in with accessories and opinions, we were getting comfortable and chatty, I was on a child-free high and feeling pretty fabulous in my dress-up clothes.

I had things narrowed down pretty well by the time I got to the last contender, a strapless, black, tight little cocktail number. I knew I wasn't going to like it, but decided to give it a proper elimination round, so as not to hurt its feelings. I struggled a bit with the zipper, and had to do some major suck-in and shimmy moves to even bring myself to a decent state. I pulled and yanked until I could at least get the thing to stay up by itself, and then parted the curtain at the behest of the sales woman. We all agreed, it was a no-go.

But when I went to take off the dress, I realized we had a problem. The zipper wouldn't budge. Not down. Not up.

I started sweating. This wasn't the kind of dress I could extricate myself from easily. There was no way to wiggle it over my hips. It wasn't going over the head. This thing was skin-tight. Quickly, my sweaty fingers were struggling to even hold the zipper. By this point in the shopping trip, my hair was growing bigger by the minute (did I mention it was raining that day?) And to make matters even worse, I hadn't bothered to shower before slipping out of the house that morning. And now my sweaty, unwashed body was trapped in what was naturally the most expensive dress in the store. Awesome.

Finally, reluctantly, I stuck my head out of the curtain. "Um, I've got a bit of a wardrobe malfunction..." I stammered. The sales woman bustled over, apologizing and assuring me that zippers got stuck all the time, she knew just what to do. Of course, I apologized right back for being the dirty, sweaty, stuffed sausage that I was. But after a few moments, sales woman extraordinaire was forced to call for back-up. Now I was clinging to the door frame of the dressing room while they discussed their extrication tactics like army generals and went to work. "You grab here and I'll pull down... okay, let's try up... tighter, hold it there... nope... almost... [grunt]... [inaudible]... [probably some cursing]..." Imagine any movie scene when the southern belle is getting her corset laced tighter as she hangs onto the bed post holding her breath and you'll get the idea.

Finally one of them threw in the towel and called for scissors. At which point I apologized some more. Their reassurances felt a little more forced this time, but a least I was finally free. Which is how I ended up buying not only a new dress (with no zipper), but a pair of 120 dollar shoes (gulp!) and the snazzy accessories I'd been modeling. It's amazing what some guilt and embarrassment will make you do!

(Although I did return the shoes two days later. When I was sure the sales woman wouldn't be working.)

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