Is The Party In the Front Or The Back?
I’ll let you know right now that this story was not about something that occurred on the court but it happened with many of my teammates in attendance as well as some women I’ve met by playing years of league tennis. Yes, we are ladies who tennis but we do other things together as well ;)
The forecast for the week, like the 3 water-logged weeks we'd just come through, called for nearly 60% chance of rain on Saturday. I tried reassuring my friend whose daughter was getting married on that day. I told her, “I hear that rain on your wedding day means good luck for the future of the couple’s relationship.” I’m not sure I really believed that myself but I felt I had to say something.
As the date approached, the forecast became increasingly favorable until the day arrived in crisp, blue-skyed and sun-drenched attire.
It was a perfect day for a wedding and I just love a wedding! You have two people who have found such a profound connection with each other that they decide to promise to share the rest of their lives together and seal that vow in front of friends and family. It does not get more poetic than that. It's a decision I have never regretted in the past 23 years and something I hope my boys will experience when their time comes. Plus, there’s usually a big bash afterward!
The bride was the daughter of my friend, M, who I introduced you to in, "Things That Make You Go...Wait, What'd She Say?!" She and I have known each other for nearly 15 years. Over the past 6ish years we have spent more time together and have come to know each other better. We are teammates in tennis, bowling and corn-hole and have spent hundreds of hours together biking through different areas of the southeast. So the fact that M’s daughter was getting married was almost as thrilling as if my own sister’s girl was tying the knot.
Like the gorgeous day that showed up all shiny and newly clad from its weeks-old drab and rainy wardrobe, I too had purchased a new dress and shoes for the occasion. I rarely get dressed up. My daily uniform is some sort of workout attire whether I workout that day or not. And I’m pretty conservative when it comes to showing skin. So in choosing my new dress for the wedding I tried to step it up a notch but only slightly. I decided to purchase a design which had a neckline cut much lower than I'd normally wear. But since the reception would be in the evening, I felt it would be appropriate.
We arrived at the church just in time and were ushered to our pews on the left side of the church -- the bride’s side. I had a good view of most of the people who had gotten there ahead of us. I saw my teammates and their spouses and a few old friends who’d moved away but came back to town for the wedding. Each one decked out in their better than Sunday-best.
We sat behind our old neighbors, G and her husband.
And as women do, I admired G’s stylishly fitted purple and black sheath dress. She's petite, always in good shape and looked spectacular so told her as we hugged to greet each other.
As I scanned the rest of the wedding guests, I spotted my friend, K, just a few pews ahead. She's a stylish one on and off the court so I was curious to see what she was wearing. I could only see her from behind but at first glance, K's dress looked a lot like G’s. However, I would never bet anything on my eyesight. But if it was the same, I wondered how that fact would sit with each lady as they learned about their similar tastes, rather, their identical tastes in fashion. I thought that if it were me, I might feel embarrassed somehow but not sure why I would feel that way.
The ceremony progressed and on my way down the aisle to receive communion, I saw it. K’s dress was identical to G’s and I cringed a little for both of them.
It was a beautiful wedding and the groom’s tears upon seeing his bride was the icing on the cake. We all convened outside the church just chatting a bit while the wedding party posed for pictures. I looked around to see if I knew anyone else in the crowd and then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of one of the wedding guests. She must have been sitting on the groom’s side of the church because I had not noticed her during my earlier survey. Her dress was navy blue, sheer and flowing with the hem sitting just above her knee. A very familiar dress because it looked an awful lot like mine! I couldn’t believe it. Two pairs of two identical dresses at the same wedding which was, in my opinion, a perfect number of wedding guests -- not too many and not too few. What were the odds?! I turned to study her dress for any dissimilar features to mine just to make myself feel better and noticed...oh my gosh...the lady had her dress on backward! That poor thing! The slightly revealing neckline was behind her. Or wait...oh no...Did I have MY dress on backward? My face suddenly got hot. Was that why the tag on the dress kept poking out of my cleavage? I did think it was weird but just thought it was the designer trying to be different. I wrapped myself up in my scarf and asked my husband when our Uber was arriving to take us to the reception.
In the 10 minute ride to the Omni, I had just enough time to retrieve my order confirmation email from the store where I'd purchased the dress to confirm how the darned thing was supposed to be worn. Damn it! I had my dress on backward! How he heck? I looked at the website for any reference that the dress could be worn either way when I got to the reviews. I re-read a few and there it was -- one of the ladies who gave the dress a 5-star rating, posted a picture of herself wearing the dress backward!
As soon as we got to the hotel, I asked my friend G, the other dress doppelgänger, to help me find the restroom. I whisked myself away as nonchalantly as I could, shut myself in a stall, pulled my arms into the dress and rotated it around me so that the tag was in the back like it should be! One last check in the mirror to make sure the bra I wore still worked and I quickly reunited myself with my husband and friends as if nothing happened. I felt better even as my husband grumbled, "Now you're all like 'business' in the front."
Now, I could have easily gone the rest of the night having my friends feel that they might be losing their minds by thinking to themselves, “I could have sworn her dress was a little more revealing ...” Or maybe they didn't even notice. Either way, I couldn't keep it to myself and I didn't want them thinking they were seeing things if they'd actually noticed. So I asked G, “Want to hear something funny?” She perked up like a puppy being handed a treat. She hung on my words and then, in the way only a friend could manage, she laughed. She laughed hard and hysterically but consolingly at the same time. Her laughter actually erased every ounce of self-inflicted embarrassment I had because of thoughts that I was not perfect and did not even know how to wear my own damn dress. She did not make me feel ashamed or uncomfortable in any way. She laughed with me, not at me.
So, I tried the routine on the rest of my friends that night and got the same supportive energy from them. I didn't once get a comment like, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe you did that!" Instead, the phrase I heard most often was, "That's something I would have done!"
I’ve since heard that my story has been shared several times and I love it. I know my friends put me in a good light and I hope their re-telling of the story got as formidable a response as when I told it to them.
Relationships made on the court are strong and weather-tested. It's just what happens when you share a common goal with someone and go through all the ups and downs together. Some become friends who turn into your closest companions with whom you can share anything without fear of feeling embarrassed. I appreciate these ladies and all their idiosyncrasies and I know they appreciate me and mine. They had my back that day...or would it be my front? You know what I mean.
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