Last night I went to dinner with a few of my girlfriends.
This was not a “night out on the town” with the girls. This was just dinner. There’s a big difference. A “night out on the town” does not exist in small towns. If one mistakenly thinks that “nights out on the town” can be had in small towns than prepare to end up at the bowling alley with a pitcher of beer. That’s about as good as a “night out on the town” gets in a small town. This was not a “night out on the town”. This was just dinner.
However, seeing as I was actually leaving the house (rather than sitting curled up in front of another fascinating episode of “Dateline” with my mom and cat) some thought would be put into what I was going to wear. You know, since leaving the house is such a big deal and all… ANYWAY, earlier in the day I had run some errands and caught up on things that I needed to do around the house. So, I was clad in my Chuck Taylors, jeans, and a cute off-the-shoulder sweatshirt reminiscent of 1984. I looked cute and casual and I could easily have worn this outfit to dinner. (Again. It’s a small town. We’re perpetually casual around here.) However, seeing as I rarely have the opportunity to dress in nicer clothes except when I’m subbing, I decided to get a little more “gussied up”. This meant putting on my skinny jeans, ballet flats, fitted boat-neck tee and a scarf. I was NOT dressed up. I was basically dressed like how everyone else dresses in the “real world”. However, I keep forgetting that I no longer live in the “real world’, I live in a small town. This did not occur to me when leaving the house.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, I discovered I was quite overdressed. One friend was dressed in an over-sized sweatshirt, blue jeans and clod-hopper hunting boots. Another friend was dressed in an over-sized sweatshirt, blue jeans, and sneakers. And my last friend was… not dressed up either? I’m not sure what she was. She’s… well, she’s an eccentric soul with very original fashion ideas. Which meant she was dressed in ankle high boots with frilly lace at the top, bright red tights, a flowy, light blue denim skirt, a navy blue and red v-neck top and a brown newsboy hat. So… I guess she was dressed up in her own way. Regardless, I felt way over-dressed. And silly. Skinny jeans? Ballet flats? What was I trying to prove? Why had I shown up looking all… trendy? In my shame, I immediately ditched the scarf, removing it with my jacket, pretending I had only worn it for additional warmth.
I had forgotten the rules for dressing in a small town. You do not get dressed up in a small town unless it’s for a wedding or a funeral, and even then, khakis and polo shirts will suffice. Additionally, you do not follow “big city” fashion trends. You make up your own. Because small town folk are either eccentric or bad ass and they will not be forced to follow the societal norm of what is “in style”.
I knew the rules. I had just forgotten. I had momentarily moved back here after college, and I would constantly be asked accusingly “What are you so dressed up for?” when I would show up to work in khakis and a long-sleeved tee shirt without screen printing on it. I would stared at when I wore my pea coat in the winter instead of a snowmobile jacket emblazoned with “Yamaha” or “Skidoo” or “Arctic Cat”. I’d be treated differently when I wore my fashion boots anywhere… usually with slight disdain because clearly I wasn’t from around here… I was some sort of cidiot (idiot from the city). How had I so easily forgotten the rules?
My problem is… I don’t like the rules! I want to dress nicely! I want to be trendy! I want to be fashionable! I want to wear my skinny jeans and ballet flats and scarves whenever I dang-well please! So what if you don’t like it? So what if you think I’m a snob and a cidiot! Just because I dress nicely doesn’t mean I am! And even if I was, what is it to you?! I can dress how I want! Take that, small town folk!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, last night’s fashion disaster was so crippling I will now be found curled up in front of “Dateline” for the rest of the evening. And possibly the rest of the week.