Several years ago I needed a formal gown for an event.  I decided to go to a dress boutique in Charlotte on the same day as a scheduled meeting for work to accomplish two things in one day.  My mom came along to help find the perfect gown.  For the business meeting I wore dress slacks and a cardigan set, it was an appropriate look for the day.   I was late getting into the city so I hurriedly browsed the racks of dresses.  Mom and I found a couple of possibilities and off I headed to the dressing room. 
 
Pants on Fire
 
I’m weird about dressing rooms.  I get oddly paranoid that I’m being watched so I put on the dress first.  Then I took off my pants.  The first dress worked well and I quickly put my pants back on under it.  I was almost late to my meeting.  There were too many layers of fabric and I couldn’t really see my pants that well.  It felt like my toe caught a string as I put on the second leg.  I heard a sound like a long zipper closing.  Hmm.  I removed the dress and then I panicked.  

From the dressing room my mom heard me scream, “Oh dear Jesus, oh no!”
In my haste, my toe caught a string and that string ripped the entire side seam out of my pants up to the pocket.  I was staring at myself wearing one legged dress chaps in the dressing room mirror.  My entire leg was exposed and what once was a pants leg was now a hanging sheet of fabric.  I had nothing to wear – even to the parking lot.  The saleslady and my mom came running.  Remember I was in a dress store, they don’t sell pants; I was in trouble.  Luckily the saleslady said, “Wait, I think I have one pair of corduroy pants that you could wear.”  I was relieved.  The panic was dying down.  Then she brought the new pants.
Her “pants” were a pair of beige corduroy pants with colored rhinestone flames up the sides of both legs, hundreds and hundreds of rhinestones.  I would literally have flaming loins if I wore these pants.  I immediately said, “I can’t wear those pants.”  The images in my mind of hot pants, pants on fire, and on and on started building.  I had a very important meeting and I couldn’t show up looking ready to perform Copacabana with Elvis Presley. 
But I was late.  My mom was emphatic, either I wore the pants or I could wear the ball gown I’d just purchased to the meeting.  My choices weren’t good.  I opted for the pants.  It was better to go as a flashy Vegas marquee than Cinderella; I guess. 
I put on the pants.  Looking at myself in the mirror, I was the personification of a mullet – all business on the top and total party on the bottom.
I had to own it.  I could do this.  Out of the dressing room I stoically walked in my cardigan set and those flaming pants.  Liberace in his most intricate costume had nothing on me, absolutely nothing. 
In the meeting I got strange looks.  I work in concrete and most industry meetings are attended predominantly by men.  One guy just looked at me and shrugged.  Some stared for a minute with larger than normal eyes and then looked really confused.  I remained quiet.  I’d accepted my fate and those pants so I stared straight ahead.  I learned to be more careful in the dressing room and always have a spare pair of pants. 

 
 

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