How to Murder a First Impression

I was elegant once.

I think it was on a Monday.

But I murdered it. In one stroke.

See, this is what I wore to dine out at a lovely 5-star restaurant with three delightful women from a firm my husband's division hired for some consultation and focus-testing a while back. The (sleek, elegant) women are from New York City. Manhattan, to be exact. They say things like "Fifth Avenue," "Rockefeller Center," and "Plaza District." They wear dark colors and designer shoes, as you do when you socialize at night. They've seen the world. Recently. Yep. And this is what I wore:

Which, you  know, wouldn't be so bad if I were starring as Peter Pan in a local theater production and the costume designer called in sick so the director's cat took over if my cute, sincere, and somewhat clueless husband hadn't bragged me up to the point that I'm sure his associates figured I'd at least get my shoes on the right feet. But, he created expectations.

Not only is that dangerous under the most carefully planned and executed of circumstances, but when one has been a stay at home mom for the past twenty years–sixteen of which have been spent outside the corporate world–it is death. One has forgotten too much. One has, apparently, gone blind and can no longer tell that her transformation from Chickie-Babe to Hennie-Wench was complete several years ago. And that multi-colored clothing involving skin-tightness and tunics ain't gonna fly no more. Especially in the evening.

In my past life I would have worn something like this (below) for an evening during which I supped on filet mignon, crusted salmon with shaved fennel and orange, sherry mushroom soup with truffle cream and fried sage, and braised beet salad with arugula, candied walnuts, and SomeReallyAwesomeFunkyCheeseWhoseNameIcan'tRememberButNowI'mAddictedTo, with three savvy women and one cute boy:

To be perfectly honest, when I left the house this afternoon I thought I looked like the bottom picture, not the top. I mean, what did I know? I spent the day driving kids to school for early morning classes on black-iced roads in the middle of a freak snow storm, running errands, cleaning house, writing, organizing my office, falling down on the treadmill, fixing snacks, making phone calls, trying to help a kid find his violin music, then explaining to his teacher why we were late, and finally, setting off to the big city for the dinner only to find that I was out of gas.

Apparently I only got dressed in my head. Or somehow, when I looked in the mirror before I left (which I know I did, because I was wearing lipstick when I got to the restaurant, and I'm not one of those chicks who can smear that stuff on without looking) I blacked out, had a vision of myself wearing a couture gown, and when I woke up assumed it was true and that my inherent savoir faire had taken care of it.


Well, the restaurant was lovely, the company was excellent, the husband was adorable, and the food delectable. So what if I wasn't? I mean, a woman can only wear skin-tight flesh-colored corduroys and belted green tunics with high laced army boots for a few years. I should take advantage of it while I can.

And y'all can just sit there and be jealous of my natural grace and style. I know I've still got it.


About Janiel 433 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


  1. I did draw them. Found a little free online drawing program. Makes me look like a better artist than I am. Although I couldn’t figure out how to use the eraser, as is evidenced by the strangely long, weirdly wide arms on the top picture. 🙂

    And I must say, I sort of would rather that I looked like the bottom picture . . .


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