Black Socks

Posted by mwallach on August 5, 2011 in New To You |

Dear That’s Life,
There are certain friends in your life that are more family than friends. You know you’re not blood relatives, although the bond between you is often tighter and stronger than some with whom you share DNA. I know I’ve said that before but it bears repeating, because it is for those individuals that you would go to the ends of the earth, or wear your husband’s black socks in public.

A “Take Me As I Am” kind of girl, I do not pretend to be someone I am not nor do I bend to the expectations of others. I recognize that I can be a lot to handle, sometimes rubbing people the wrong way, inadvertently making a bad first impression. It’s not that I am trying to be rude, but rather I am who I am. That being said, I also appreciate showing respect to others, making sure to dress in a manner appropriate for a particular situation. I am not one whose elbows or collar bone are regularly covered as a sign of modesty. However, depending on the company or destination, I dress in accordance with expectations as a sign of respect. Think of it as not wearing a denim skirt to a black-tie wedding. Just not done.

While it did not come as a surprise, I was still incredibly excited when my dear friend got engaged. Although already in pajamas and smelling like sautéed vegetables, I quickly changed for the l’chaim, an impromptu toast to the bride and groom. In deference to their ultra Orthodox families, I chose a most appropriate outfit, covering myself in all the right places – except for one. While my skirt was long, it did not hit the ground, leaving a couple of inches of leg exposed. I put on my flats, thinking I was ready to go.

Under other circumstances, I would not have thought twice about leaving the house my outfit the way it was. It did occur to me, however, that no one else in the house would be dressed the same way. No other woman would be sock or stocking-free. Representing the bride’s side, there was more at stake than just making a personal bad impression. The impromptu celebration was at the groom’s home and not wanting the future in-laws to look askance at the company she keeps, I contemplated needing to wear socks or tights with my outfit so as not to embarrass my friend. After conferring with a third party, the murky issue became crystal clear. I ran back upstairs to cover my legs.

The idea, however, of wearing tights in August made me break into a complete psychological sweat. In addition, what was showing was truly minimal. Already knowing my ride was imminently arriving and thinking I had no other option, I rushed to find a pair of black socks to wear for the very brief time I would be at the party. Even I could pull this off, I told myself, as I frantically tore apart my drawers. It became readily apparent, however, that I owned no black socks, making this much more difficult than originally thought. White gym socks would not only look silly, but would not serve the necessary purpose, as my legs would still be exposed. Stuck and in a rush, I opened door #2 – my husband’s drawer, and quickly put on a pair of his black striped socks. Away I went.

Jumping into my friend’s car, my socks then became the punch line for the rest of the night and a source for discussion. Picking up another friend of ours, we waited with his wife until he was ready. “I’m wearing my husband’s socks,” I told her as she took a look at my feet and burst into laughter. She appreciated why I was wearing them, but cautioned me not to bend over. Since my skirt did not reach the floor, bending over allowed the tops of my socks to show. It is one thing to feel like an idiot, but something completely different to look like one. I pulled my skirt down a little bit more while trying to pull the socks up a bit higher, to no avail. It was going to be what it was going to be.

Never have I been so happy to be wearing socks with a skirt as I was when we arrived at the groom’s home. My physical discomfort wearing them was nothing compared to the emotional discomfort I would have felt had my legs been exposed. While the family was lovely, welcoming me into their home, it would have been an easy game of “Which of These Things Do Not Belong Here?” had I decided against the socks.

The bride and I hugged a long and happy hug filled with laughter and some tears when she saw me come into the room. “I’m wearing my husband’s black socks!” I exclaimed, through the embrace. And although she was just so happy to see me, appreciating the effort it took to be there, when she heard what I said, a loud and relieved, “THANK YOU!” could be heard around there world.

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