If I were a social climber - do those actually exist anymore? - I say I'd succeeded beyond my expectations. However, I'm not, so the question becomes: Is what I'm about to describe success as in "success," or success as in "stupidity"?
I blame it all on Talbots. And my hair. See, one day about a month ago, I went to a meeting at this women’s club I joined on the recommendation of a friend who has now ditched me and the club because it is perhaps a little too society-like for her tastes. Anyway, for this meeting, I happened to wear my only blazer (Talbots, purchased for an interview for a job I didn’t get three years ago) and my hair happened to be smooth and under control (for reasons I can’t fully explain but having to do with the dew point, probably). And one of the ladies of the club, who seems to have taken a liking to me, and I to her, commented that I looked, well, “great.” As in, groomed.
Anyway, I think this is why, later on that evening, I received a disjointed email from her, inviting me to join her on the planning committee for a gala to benefit a Very Worthy Institution. At first I thought, Perhaps she is drunk and mis-addressed her email. However, a brief follow-up ascertained that she had indeed invited me to join, and what larks we would have and I didn’t have to sell anything, just show up and….
This was where I went wrong. Instead of politely declining, I mulled. I discussed with another friend, who is much more familiar with, shall we say, philanthropic circles. She said it could be lots of fun, I would surely meet nice people, I could accept and be very clear the kind of help I could offer, and also, maybe, I might make good contacts. (So, along with Talbots and my hair, she is also to blame.)
So I accepted. In retrospect, I see it was a much savvier move on the part of the committee to invite me than for me to accept. The first meeting I attended, I wore the only other item from Talbots that I own, a blouse (purchased with above-mentioned blazer), with jeans, and hoped I looked decent. Everyone else was in full-on rich lady regalia: tasteful dresses, slacks with blazers, full frontal make-up, heels, at 9:30 in the morning. Not an extra ounce of fat in the room. And what a room! But it transpired I did have something to offer: to contact my friend, the wonderful painter Karen Kaapcke, to see if she would be willing to donate a painting to the gala’s auction.
By the next meeting, I had kicked into rebellion mode, familiar to me from my childhood. I had no more blouses, and certainly no tasteful, tailored dresses. And don’t talk to me about slacks. Even if I had them, I wasn’t about to wear them at 9:30 in the morning before going to the gym. So I compromised. I wore my matching Lululemon workout clothes (my only set) and ladies be damned! I had Karen’s painting to offer, so there.
I feel a little like Agnes Gooch, only I have no Auntie Mame to whom to turn. I've gotten in above my head. The invitation to the gala arrived, and now my foolishness has born its fruit. There is a hefty per person contribution required to attend. Now, I’m not so dumb that I thought it would be free – the event is a fundraiser for the Very Worthy Institution, after all. It’s just that it’s so much heftier than I thought it would be (why didn’t I ask, you ask, Readers? Uh. I dunno.) In addition there are the moneys required for a decent, tasteful dress. I can think of a half dozen other uses for that sum. For example, I am wondering if, having provided an auction item, as well as couple of names for the guest list, I can slip away somewhere, and spend that money on a couple of nights in a good hotel, and try to forget the whole thing.