We were going out. That is what we had decided. We were teachers who had woken up at 5:30 a.m., but we refused to be old and boring yet.
While Randy slumped on the couch and Facebooked aimlessly, I got ready with purpose. I donned a black lace skirt and a gauzy chocolate brown blouse with ruffles, which I had bought at a thrift store to make it look like I had some status in society. It had cost $15 and when I got home it had smelled like B.O., which I didn’t notice at the store. The terrible store had refused to take it back, so I had washed it and was determined to get use out of it.
I hadn’t washed my hair that day (now I sound really classy), so my bangs were plastered to my forehead with day-old skin oil. Being too lazy to wash it, I “disguised” it by clipping it with a barrette and pulling my hair tightly back in a bun. I normally leave my long blond hair loose and free to look a bit younger, and pulling it back makes me look my age.
“That’s all right,” I told myself. “You look like a tango dancer, or a lady from a Toulouse Lautrec painting.” I convinced myself that I looked distinguished, and not like a 34-year-old lady with a tiny, oily head and a now-visible double chin.
I slipped on a pair of black heels and went out to the living room.
“Wow,” said Randy. “you look great. I’d better get equally as dressed up.”
“That’s right,” I said. “No one will mess with us tonight.”
He laughed. He knew exactly what I meant. We live in Los Angeles, and were going out to Hip Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant in the crowded part of Hollywood. Los Angeles is very much a city where people judge you according to how much money it looks like you have. I had dressed strategically and was happy that my outfit said status. Although we could have gone out in more plebeian clothes, we would have received subtle or not-so-subtle shade throughout the evening—such as being ignored by our waitress or being openly stared at by the rich couple at the next table.
Randy got dressed and we were ready to go.