The invitation seemed fun: a charity event with a theme of women, shoes, and wine. What could go wrong? I arrived alone, eagerly anticipating a fun evening but instead I found a sorority initiation and I had been blackballed by secret ballot. They forgot to tell me.
The room overflowed with young, beautiful women dressed in tiny white dresses and prancing about on stiletto heels. I stood in low, sensible sandals wearing a multi-colored dress that wouldn’t wrinkle or show wine stains. My outfit covered my cleavage and thighs, which is more than I can say for the other dresses. I felt like a middle-aged, iron-deficient matron surrounded by Vegas show girls.
I paid good money (25% deductible) to be there, so I picked up my commemorative wine glass and entered the soirée. I endured the evening by using this hastily devised survival guide modeled after the five stages of dealing with grief and sorrow.
1. Denial. Once, there was no way in hell that I couldn’t command everyone in the room to look up when I arrived. But now people couldn’t glance beyond their appetizer plate when I entered, and the chirpy young woman at the registration table hollered, “And, who are you?” I retorted, “I’m your worst nightmare, Honey.” I refused to believe that I was twice as old and weighed 50% more that the ebullient host and her entourage. Please note: Denial is best tolerated with a bold Cabernet. Or two.
2. Anger. Immediately I regretted wearing my frumpy outfit and boring shoes. Didn’t I read the invitation? Did I assume it would be a hootenanny down at the feed store? How could I allow myself to morph into a cartoon character for the crazy old aunt? Why didn’t I wear the fancy high-heeled shoes that cost more per square inch than ocean-view property? Didn’t all these spoiled debutants know that gravity eventually will win and in a few years all those perky boobs will be lolling down near the floor? Yes, I was that snarky and insecure.
3. Bargaining. After a few minutes, I was willing to trade my car to go back in time thirty years. But, there were no takers and I really liked my car.
4. Depression. After I realized that the energy of the evening didn’t need me, I felt deflated. But that just prompted another trip to the dessert table and wine bar. Sugar and fermented grapes continue to provide my go-to pick-me-up.
5. Acceptance. I finally acknowledged that the statuesque blond strutting in a transparent shrink-wrapped tube of material was gorgeous, and I accepted the fact that this beauty wasn’t me. Finally, after maneuvering through the crowd of pampered princesses, I stood alone and embraced the reality that I was comfortable in my own skin, every wrinkled and worn expanse of it. Acceptance is so much more fun than dwelling in anger and depression.
I stayed long enough to sample the delicious appetizers and savor the appealing wine. Then I left unnoticed and entered an elevator full of lovely young women holding their shoes.
“My feet are killing me!’ one exclaimed.
“I don’t have periods anymore,” I said. Then I walked into the night, smiling in the twilight of wise old age.