I went to a friends 30th birthday party on Saturday night. It was held at a lounge/sushi joint about a block from my - er, Coffeeboy's - apartment, and all of downtown was out in form. I spent hours altering an old white dress to be backless with navy blue corsetting, and I daresay I looked quite the babe. It was something akin to that infamous Marilyn Monroe dress, and I paired it with ridiculous shoes, and while everyone was rock'n the old LBD, I was quite proud of myself for standing out and turning a few heads.
Pride comes, of course, before a fall.
There were several key people there, like That Guy I Used To Like (yup, still cute), That Guy I Once Made Out With, That Other Guy I Kinda Want To Make Out With, and Yup Definitely Bisexual. People who, you see, I really felt needed to eat their hearts out for having ever slighted me or not returned calls.
There was a DJ, a dance floor, and a very long drink line. While waiting for our turn to order martinis - on special! - Coffeeboy and I found ourselves chatting with a mutual friend of the birthday boy. Coffeeboy and Birthday Boy have a communications firm on the drawing board right now, with Coffeeboy slated to do all the design and Birthday Boy to do...whatever else communications firms do. They swapped business cards, they promised to get together.
Finally, the friend turned to me and said, "and what about yourself? What do you do?"
I searched frantically for help in Coffeeboy's eyes, but he gave me a little nudge to answer instead.
"Oh. I....I'm a waitress."
Another awkward pause.
Coffeeboy pointed out to me later that I looked positively mortified when I said this. Why? My job is demanding, isn't it? I've survived where most quit within two months, haven't I? Somehow, even though Coffeeboy reminded me insistedly about all these things, I knew that I would never be comfortable talking about my work in that sort of scenerio. I was only comfortable when I managed to toss in that I teach karate, I write, I yada yada yada.
I know that that woman held the same view of waitresses as most of my customers: I don't have an education, I probably party every weekend, and I'm really not fit to do anything more challenging. What I'm not so happy to admit is that, when push comes to shove, I'm not always up to defending the truth. Suddenly, my short dress seemed sexy, just like my waitress persona. My cosmopolitan seemed classy, just like her as well. I wanted so badly to crawl out of my skin, of the image of myself I'd constructed, but I couldn't remember where the waitress stopped and I began. I didn't know whether I wanted to change the subject or brag about serving the entire restaurant myself.
What I did was let myself fade into the background of the conversation, watching the sushi waitress walk by in kitten heels and a pencil skirt to show off her curves and thought she was holding that tray all wrong.