Age has been a very popular theme in my life, and apparently in the lives of many of my recently-graduated friends (I feel ya' Wendy). I've always felt very comfortable about my age, very comfortable in my own skin. Sure I went through a gangly stage or two, but I don't think I ever went through a stage where my personality was gangly. You know, when someone is uncomfortable enough with themselves that they make others around them feel awkward or self-conscious. Yeah, don't think that was ever me. However, the universe has been trying its best lately to make me very aware of my youth, and how it doesn't fit in easily with my professional surroundings. Well, this weekend, the Imp took a shot at the universe and landed one square on its jaw.
Throughout the end of August and the whole month of September, the families at my school host grade level parent socials. Sometimes there are as many as three in one night. This weekend, I was required to attend three of these parent-only socials, the 9th grade social, the 10th/11th grade social, and the 12th grade social. Now, what business do I have socializing with parents who could be my own parents in age and who live in multi-million dollar mansions?
... ... ...
I couldn't come up with many either. It's not like we could compare parenting tips, or the size of our houses, our diamond rings, our husband's....salaries. But! The boss said, "Go!" so I went.
The first of these was the 10th/11th grade social on Saturday night at 7:30pm. I was tired and in a cloudy mood when I dragged myself to my closet at 6:30 to decide what the heck you wear to one of these socials. The Imp saw only two choices. I could dress in something very conservative and quiet, something to not be noticed in. Or, I could follow my Dr. Seuss sense of style and pick out two things I craved to wear and then make it work. Tonight, I was gonna work it.
I put on my favorite feather earrings and an orange coral necklace my mom got for me in Jamaica. I slipped on a blue sweater-vest like top with a low, V-neck back. Before slipping on and zipping up my brown, faux suede ankle boots from Spain, I reached into the dryer and pulled out my still-damp pair of favorite, dark blue, skinny jeans. With all of the slipping on and zipping up I did with the rest of my outfit, this was more of a wiggling into. But, oh baby, ain't nothin' fit like a pair of skin-tight jeans that you know make you look fine.
I didn't need a second look in the mirror. This was an evening I wasn't going to pretend to be anything but young, spunky, and spry (well, as spry as one can be in uber tight, damp jeans and 3 inch heels).
After I parked my car, I imagined a theme song following me as I walked down the quite suburb street toward the parent social (I imagine daily theme songs, FYI). And what did I imagine fit the mood of that Saturday night? A mash-up of Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA" and Genesis' "I Can't Dance." Somewhere between the lyrics "...I can't dance, I can't talk, the only thing about me is the way I walk..." and "...And the J-Z song was on, So I put my hands up, they're playing my song...Movin' my hips like 'yeah'..." I walked into the (large) host house for the parent social.
I awkwardly stood in line behind a group of parents to get a name tag. I couldn't help but notice that everyone else looked like they had stepped out of the Chico's, Land's End, or Banana Republic catalog. But oooo, maybe I could get a plate of those scrumptious looking hors d'oeuvres. If my mouth is full of yummy cheeses and chocolate treats, no one can reasonably expect me to contribute to a conversation. Perfect.
As luck would have it, I was herded away from food table...but hallelujah! the tide of moms and dads took me straight to the largest bowl of sangria that I have ever seen. It was a beautiful thing. It was made with champagne and had watermelon as well frozen mango slices. My mongoose-like reflexes took action and I had a glass in my hand before any of the moms could shoot me the "are you old enough to be drinking that?" look I knew was coming.
So where does a 22 year-old, who's dressed for a swanky Dr. Seuss night club (if such things exits, and they should), bobbing her head to a song no one else can hear, and greedily digging out sangria soaked fruit pieces from the bottom of her glass? Right in between the world's biggest, loudest, 40 year-old Adam Lambert fan and an eccentric art teacher. No joke, this mom had seen Adam Lambert 3 times in the span of two weeks, made signs for him at every concert, and had gotten on TV and into the papers for them. She even admitted to signing her daughter out of school to go see him in Dallas. Before that night I had never seen a middle-aged woman who had the hots for a possibly gay pop singer. It was a first.
The art teacher, who completed our little eclectic circle of parent-social misfits (all the other parents gave Lambert-mom a wide berth), is one of my favorite teachers at school - if only for the reason that I see her most often in torn and paint stained clothes toting a large Coach purse and a Mar Jacobs bag and pulling the look off effortlessly. She also owns a pair of bright yellow shoes I think would look good in my closet and even better on my feet.
Shortly before the evening's remarks were made by the headmaster, another teacher joined my little circle. She is another sweet teacher I enjoy talking with very much. You should know that I like her and did not take offense at her following comment, I just happened to have my epiphany in regards to my youthful appearance after she made her remark.
Joining our circle she turns to me and says, "Ah! You look just like a student." And it hit me. My answer to every remark made against my age:
"If by that you mean my @ss looks killer in these jeans and you wish you still had the figure and perky curves of an 18 year-old, then thank you." Of course I didn't say this to the nice teacher. I was too busy with the frozen piece of mango in my mouth. However, it was with this thought that I exited the party with a chocolate dessert in both hands...because I can, because my metabolism can. And then I ran several miles a few days later to make sure I hadn't jinxed myself ;)
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."
— Dr. Seuss