Generally, anything done wearing a good dress, heels and pearls will be forgiven. Mature girls with pearls dancing on the bar look more fun than chicks with no bra, drawn on eyebrows and biker boyfriends. The ones with pearls look like they never left their sororities while the ones sans hair eyebrows are just a little scary, non?
It all circles back to dignity. At a gathering of chicks, a question arises, “How did you get the nerve to spill all your family secrets after your husband died? Weren’t you embarrassed to lose your dignity? What about your kids?”
The talk was of second acts–what girls do to survive when life hands out not just lemons but the whole rotted tree.
Answers: It wasn’t nerve. It was survival. People talked behind my back. Some with glee. I decided if anyone was gonna talk about me, it would be me. At first, yes, I was embarrassed. But I got over it. As for The Chickens? If you don’t know us, you you don’t know them. If they’re embarrassed by what I write then we’re getting closer to even for the times they had hissy fits in Target, wore underwear on their heads (mine), and threw up mid-dinner in a restaurant. We put a napkin over the plate and left. Embarrassment didn’t just magically appear in my life after The Norwegian died.
Along the way, I may or may not have lost my dignity. Manners, however, did not escape me. Translation: I didn’t say, “Bite me. You have no idea what happens when you’re a spoiled snot of a wife who thinks tennis is a meaningful way to spend one’s days.” Instead, I smile that weak grimace that says, “Tread lightly, girlfriend. One thing tennis did give me was a killer backhand.”
The incident sends me home to a Grey Goose extra dirty martini with two olives and a deep dive into dignity. Conclusion: Dignity is one of those things that only you can put your finger on for you. Is it manners, self-confidence, poise, self-respect? Yes. But is it also never giving up, crafting a life for yourself, doing your best, carrying yourself with head held high and never leaving the house without makeup?
Besides, should I choose to lose my dignity, it won’t be hard to recognize. I’ll start taking selfies. I don’t now because my chin has a mind of its own. I’ll dress for comfort. And wear flats. No, that won’t be dignity–that will be alien bodysnatchers. I’ll attempt to look like a Kardashian. Or a Real Housewife. Or a blonde. I’ll use a senior discount. Thank you, no. Ten percent is not a sale. Every girl knows that. Pfft.
However, if I should suddenly get an alpaca, date an international businessman who wears great suits and wingtips, travel regularly to London, Paris and Tuscany and purchase a little blue house on Coronado, you’ll know I just leveled up.
Girls with dignity know what they want, non?