One day in the middle of Spring, my husband asked me what I was wearing on Friday. This question stopped me dead in my tracks. Why would Jon ask me about what I was planning on wearing in two days time? He never, ever cares about what I wear or what he wears for that matter. This question alerted me to ask, “Why, what’s happening on Friday?” He responded with, “It’s the Celebrate NAIT banquet at the Hotel MacDonald.”
For those of you that don’t know what the Hotel MacDonald is in Edmonton, don’t be misled – there are no giant slides, hamburgers or Fry Guys. The Hotel MacDonald is one of the fanciest places in Edmonton…it slightly resembles a castle. When the Queen comes to visit, this is where she stays – she even has a suite reserved just for her at all times. Needless to say, I went into near cardiac shock. I finally managed to sputter out, “I have nothing to wear! Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?!” Jon didn’t understand my reaction because for a man, this was more than sufficient notice. Men only have to choose a shirt and tie to wear with their suit, which always fits even if they did eat a chocolate bar every afternoon last week at work to help them get through the day. Women, on the other hand, have to coordinate their dress with shoes, earrings, accessories and perhaps even the dreaded nylons all while squeezing into “foundational garments”. I only had two days to find something that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in if the Queen decided to show up, talk about stress!
I know that many women state that they have nothing to wear, but it was actually the truth – I had nothing to wear. I didn’t own a dress, well except for my wedding dress and it would just be weird to wear a large white satin dress with a crinoline to this event. So I did the only thing I knew to do – I declared a state of emergency at the Hoffman house. Then I called my girlfriend and explained the current crisis to her – she was at my house in 8 minutes flat to help me scourer Edmonton, and if necessary, Northern Alberta for an appropriate dress to wear. My husband is the President of the NAIT Student Association, so I knew that I would have to find something head table-worthy. We immediately headed out to Whyte Avenue to find something trendy, interesting and perhaps expensive. After all, it really would be Jon’s fault if I had to drop $400 on a dress – with only two days’ notice I had to do what I had to do.
We headed into Avenue Clothing with determination and focus and began to methodically search their one of kind clothes. I tried on 17 different dresses, some obviously not my style, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The very last dress that I tried on fit perfectly and was on sale! This never, ever happens – I think even God felt bad that I didn’t have a dress to wear. It was a beautiful chocolate brown color with large teal flowers splashed on it. It looked great on me and would work perfectly for the event. While in the change room with the dress still over my head, I yelled out in exuberance to my friend, “It’s just so great that I found a one of a kind dress that fits and is affordable! Knowing me, I would have to purchase a dress that every woman in the world has and show up to find some other woman wearing my dress, but not with this one!” I’m not sure if she could make out the muffled shouting, but she agreed wholeheartedly. Since the shopping trip was so successful, we went out for expensive coffee and chatted happily.
On the night of the event, I rushed home early from work to do my hair, fix my makeup and put on my one of a kind dress. By the time Jon arrived home, I was feeling sassy and all ready to go. He rushed to get ready as well and then we were off to Hotel MacDonald. I was feeling like we were on an expensive date, but we didn’t have to pay for anything! How great was that? Jon even dropped my off at the front door and some man in an expensive suit opened the door for me and took my coat. It was decadent. I felt like a movie star (note: the scene doesn’t include our old rusty sputtering Chevy Cavalier). I sat and chatted with two of Jon’s Vice Presidents while we waited for the third, Lars-Erik, to show up with his girlfriend.
Finally, Lars-Erik came through the revolving door with Sabrina. I stood to meet them, only to have the breath knocked out of me. My very trendy, one-of-a-kind dress was walking towards me with a splash of curly red hair arm in arm with Lars-Erik. My mouth flopped open in a very un-feminine way and I stuttered and stammered trying to get some words out. Everyone in the room stopped to see what would happen next, it was turning tense and not one word had been spoken.
Once I got my mouth snapped back into place, I introduced myself and stated that she had great fashion sense. She seemed extremely relieved that I didn’t freak out on the outside like we both were obviously doing on the inside. Suddenly, my husband popped back into the room and stated loudly, “Cool, you and Sabrina have the same dress. Awesome.” Yeah…it’s awesome if we were twins and 4 years old, but we were neither of those things. My plan to not do anything embarrassing if the Queen decided to drop by was no longer an option.
For the rest of the night, we both tried to make the best out wearing the exact same dress since there was no repairing the obvious damage. My only thought to fix the problem was to superglue our butts together and be conjoined twins for the rest of the evening. It had the possibility to make things a tad bit less weird or even weirder still. We both opted to pretend that it wasn’t actually happening and stood side by side with dignity.
I think what really happened was that I jinxed myself in the midst of my exuberance at finding a ‘one of a kind’ dress. Next time something great happens to me, I will keep my thoughts to myself and not announce them to a whole store filled with shoppers!