I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “Bull in a china shop.” Well, let’s say my life is a china shop. Enter, me as – you guessed it – the bull. Which is (and I say this quite matter-of-factly and with only the faintest pun intended) bull!
Cuz I’m a lady!
Unfortunately, I’ve broken more things at Hallmark stores than I’m proud of. At first it started with contrived shamelessness:
“What? That crystal dolphin was totally asking for it.”
The string of Hallmark events quickly snowballed into concerned recognition of my little problem. Hands up as if in defeat and (carefully) waving a metaphoric white flag, I would warily eye the breakables as I entered the store slowly and deliberately as if to say, “I don’t want any trouble.”
I’ve since limited myself to browsing aisles with stuffed animals and slippers only. Inevitably, these aisles are always located toward the back of the store and the obstacle course through ceramic figurines and delicate glassware undoubtedly leaves me grazing and knocking over items on shelves brimming with Precious Moments every time. It was my bulky coat, my eyes would whimper back to the onset of appalled onlookers’ cold, judgemental stares.
I only wish I had been wearing a coat either time.
It soon turned into an actual issue complete with managerial backing. With stern fingers pointing toward the entrance, I would be asked without a touch of sympathy if I could please wait for my friends outside.
As you might guess, this didn’t do much for my confidence. And, although my Hallmark run-ins were years ago, I’ve never forgotten them and that’s why whenever I must do something girly and graceful in public, I get a little nervous. When I get nervous, I get hives. When I get hives, the only thing that hides them are turtlenecks.
I’ve also worn a dickie or two in my lifetime, but that’s a secret just between you and me – a secret I have opted to tell you because my Dove dark chocolate wrapper says that I must.
My clash with coolness, you see, is a vicious circle always taking a turn for the worse. Take last weekend, for instance. Clay and I went skiing in Copper with a bunch of his friends, all of whom were super fun and also a bit more prepared for what was going to happen when the clock turned 3:30 p.m. each day and bar time prevailed.
I should precurse what you’re about to read by saying I do not ski frequently and therefore do not typically have the proper attire for the sport. In the past, I always mixed borrowed goggles and gloves with bulky sweat pants and an outer layer of wind pants. I know. My eyes are UP HERE. At least this time I thought enough ahead to purchase a gorgeous ski jacket and matching pants for the occasion. Like hell my new acquaintances were going to think I wasn’t stylish – if I couldn’t wear my heels on this trip, at the very least I was going to rock a pair of perfectly coordinated gloves and a ski bunny-worthy hat.
Outer layer me was golden. Little did I know that the inner layer I would be wearing was not.
After the last run of the day, we would head into a bar called Jacks and drink our sore muscles and embarrassing falls into oblivion with some $3 Coors Lights and
free shotskis (four shot glasses attached onto a ski). My group had earned the love and respect of the bar and its live band over the last six years and so free drinks and random shout outs for us were not uncommon.
Jacks, take one
I learned the first day that to earn a shotski required its participants to take it from atop the bar. As a rule, the coupled up girls in my group were the most sought after to hop on up. With Hallmark on my mind at the first request that I participate in a shotski with the girls, I graciously declined. “Who me? No, no, I HATE shots.”
I love shots.
When I was told it wasn’t an option and to get my patooty up there, I frowned and stubbornly bared it. My courage, not my patooty. “Fiiiiine. But I’m not going to enjoy it.”
Sweetly helped onto the bar and slightly numbed by the Coors Light, I decided that I was on vacation and with a “what the hell” attitude, tossed back Jager as the patrons counted us off. “Another!”
As people cheered and phone cameras clicked, I realized I actually didn’t mind so much that I was the center of attention amidst all the happy-go-lucky patrons. Ah, the false confidence that not dribbling part of a shot down your shirt gives you. It was in this manner that I eased into my role as an eager shotski participant as if I had been part of the group for the last few years. In doing so, I made a rookie mistake.
Jacks, take two
When I was called upon to take a shotski on the bar during day two with the girls, I began to notice subtle changes as I stepped on up. First and foremost was that these girls had somehow transformed from bundled up skiers into adorable snow bunnies wearing spandex, Uggs and colorful scarves. A double take made me question how they got their hair to behave so well after a day on the slopes. A triple take and….is that eyeliner?!
What the hell.
I had not thought this far ahead. Were the multiple pockets on my ski pants not for storing Kleenex to wipe my drippy nose on the mountain but instead for makeup, combs and tiny bottles of hairspray? Did we not all get off the slopes at the same time? Is it too late to run away?
I was still wearing my ski pants and a fast pitch softball sweatshirt from high school. Worse yet, under these layers, I was also wearing long johns – waffle-printed monstrosities from the 90s in which I could have fit two people into the bottom portion, yet not all of me fit into the top.
Stripping down would not be an option.
What’s embarrassed, has hives and looks like a lesbian? This girl.
At least I can take a shot and this will soon be a bad memory, I thought to myself. Then Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” song came on.
The shots never came.
As I realized in horror that they wanted us to dance, I also realized that to actually appear to be dancing, I would have to overly-emphasize my moves under all the bulk. Miserably, I blew some air kisses at Clay and a few helpless laughs in for good measure as if to say, “I like men and normally comb my hair.” I prayed that these messages were well-received by the twelve people taking photos and that I wouldn’t be the topic of discussion upon their reminiscing about their vacation (“Ha, look at that girl up there!” *Squinting at the photo in confusion* “Wait, IS that a girl?”).
On the way home, I wondered what it is about dancing sober atop a bar to Shania Twain songs that makes you instantly understand what hell must be like.
Jacks, take three
My resolve was set on day three. As the girls prodded me to get on top of the bar, I gave them a resounding “No!” and pretended I didn’t see them by staring intently at the band as if I hadn’t just heard them play “Friends in Low Places“ for the third day in a row.
I have two months before going skiing again with friends. In that time, I must
determine how to stay warm on the slopes wearing adorable snow bunny attire underneath my outerwear, as well as not lacerate myself if I fall hard on the side where a pointy eyeliner pencil is snuggly resting between the sharp teeth of a brush and a mirrored compact. I must also learn how to energetically and gracefully dance to some of the most horrible songs on the face of the Earth like it’s my J-O-B.