Last week my husband had to attend this professional banquet, so I got to dress up and tag along. I don't mind; I get to wear some of the nice clothes that never see the outside of my closet, and I don't have to make dinner that night.
I was dressed sharp--skirt, jacket, heels, pearls--and I could see people sizing me up, trying to decide if I was someone important. It's fun to tell the suit-and-tie crowd that I'm a professional costume designer. They don't know what to do with that.
Problem was, once they learned I wasn't in the biz, they didn't know what to say to me--and these are folks who are not comfortable with silence. So I got a lot of compliments on my hair, my suit. From women, mind you. When people say women dress up for each other, they ain't joking. Most men know not to stare; women don't bother to hide it.
It was actually a little weird, and I was maybe hyper-attuned to it because I just read that article going around about how society conditions girls to place greater importance on their physical appearance than on their abilities. I admit I've fallen back on those conversational gambits, although I try not to.
The young woman I sat next to did pretty well; she asked what I did, who my customers were, stuff like that. But the older woman on the other side of her was complimentary to the point of being embarrassing. She said what a beautiful couple I made with my husband, and how chic and "coiffed" I was. She told the Sparring Partner I was "exquisite," which made me feel a little like a trophy wife--a new and peculiar feeling.
My smart man replied, "Yeah, she cleans up good."
Which is why I married him.