*As in, my first time shopping for something, not purchasing actual virgins. This isn't some crap Liam Ne*eson flick. Mmm, Liam Ne*eson ...
If you'll forgive me the unholy Smug Married / Mothery mashup here, please raise your hand if you current or former brides recall your first time visiting a snooty bridal boutique. You know the kind - as soon as you cross that dimly lit, overpriced threshold, all eyes dart to your left hand, in some bizzaro, bridal world secret handshake evaluation. Once the sales staff - who inevitably fall into two categories:
(1) teenage whippet who is no more capable of understanding your desire to find a hip-flattering gown than she is of explaining Leighton M*eester's singing career; and
(2) middle-aged harpy spackled with generous amounts of Mary Kay and judgment
- assess that you are both engaged and of a carat $$$ize worthy of entrance, one of them may descend upon you in a heated sales pitch. If, however, you somehow fail this Secret Carat Test, you are left to roam those intimidating isles of tulle and lace alone, questioning whether you are actually engaged in the first place.
It having been a few years since my last specialty boutique foray, I blithely sauntered into the maternity store, only to encounter an entirely non-pregnant, possible pre-adolescent employee and yet another secret handshake Look of Judgment, this one including assessment of both carat $$$ize and the size of my baby bump (still wee, for those keeping track). While I imagine that last evaluation marks also some form of self-preservation - how many of us (I) have learned the hard way not to assume someone is pregnant, unless you're 100% certain? - I evidently had failed the invisible exam, as said Teenage Whippet proceeded to ignore me entirely and assist the other, more obviously knocked-up clientele.
As I finally slunk up to the counter with my purchase - as much as I hate to give money to these snooty boutiques, so often they're the only source in town for whatever unguent or bauble I absolutely need - I comforted myself by observing with no small amount of pettiness that the Teenage Whippet, slim and painfully stylish as she might be, also had a case of adolescent acne. Because I may rapidly be losing my waistline and my memory, but By God at least I'm no longer in high school.
More from behind the enemy, estrogen-soaked lines as I learn it . . .