"Sparkly dresses. You're always looking at them online. You even write about them."
"Ah, I see. Actually it's not just any sparkly dress. It's red sequinned ones."
So I told him.
Many, many, maaaany years ago a friend (I'll call her Looney Tunes - she knows why) and I went to visit a mutual friend (I'll call her Kate - hopefully she'll know why) in deepest darkest Europe. A bit of a do was taking place and Kate had invited us both for a long weekend. Friday was spent relaxing, reminiscing and recounting tales of college days.
On Saturday, once we had all recovered from our late night and the after effects of lack of sleep ( that's the story and I'm sticking to it!) Kate decided we had to go shopping. She wanted a new outfit suitable for the evening ahead, and while Looney Tunes was in the habit of attending similar functions and had brought a case full of appropriate apparel she didn't see any harm in having a look for something else. So in the spirit of camaraderie, although I had packed a very serviceable black number, I was more than happy to tag along on the trip.
A few stores, and a couple of coffees, later Kate still hadn't found anything that grabbed her. Eventually she led us to a small shop, an exclusive little boutique full of rich hues and sumptuous fabrics.
And that's where I saw It!
A deep red sheath, strapless, floor length with a thigh high split, covered in transparent, iridescent, rectangular sequins. It was a glorious dress, the most glorious dress I'd ever seen. All three of us were immediately drawn to it. Unfortunately it was a size out for Looney Tunes. Kate tried it on but if memory serves she felt she was an inch or so too small to do it justice. As for me, well I resisted the temptation for as long as I could, after all there was no reason for me to try it on. I already had something to wear, something that had cost significantly less than this magnificent creation. However much cajoling ensued and eventually I capitulated, went in to the changing room and slipped in to the shimmering curves. In true Goldilocks fashion it fitted just right!
I stepped out of the confined cubicle to have a look in the bigger mirror. I had a bit of Mr Ben moment then because the person in the stunning red sequinned dress staring back at me was someone I didn't know. This person was confident, courageous, daring. This person felt fabulous.
I looked to my friends for their opinion. A couple happened to be walking passed the window at that moment and they stopped for a moment, smiled, gave me the thumbs up then moved on. My friends reactions were almost the same, flattering, complimentary, encouraging me to buy it.
I took one last look in the mirror, at that stranger, then changed back in to my own clothes and left the shop empty handed. To this day I still have the occasional dream about that dress, the odd regret and wonder whether I made the right decision. That's why I think about red sequinned dresses so much.
"Why didn't you buy it?" he asks
"Why didn't you buy it. If it made you feel so good, so right, why didn't you buy it?"
"There were lot's of reasons."
"Weeell. It was too expensive. There were better things to spend the money on, new shoes for the boys for instance. I'd never have an opportunity to wear it again. I already had a dress..."
"They all sound like excuses, not reasons. You only needed one reason to buy that dress and that was how it made you feel. You should have bought it"
I thought about that for a while. About whether my reasons were indeed just excuses. About how many other times when faced with doing something a bit courageous or daring I'd come up with perfectly valid reasons for not doing it. About how many opportunities, how many possibilities, how many red dress moments I'd passed up.
If only I had bought that dress! So I did
|The Red Dress of Possibilities|
Well, not the actual dress but one that looks very like it, at least as like it as I can remember ( it was a very long time ago), and at a fraction of the cost I might add.
I have no intention of wearing it (I don't have the right curves anymore) I don't see it as a dress anymore. It's a symbol, a permanent reminder. A reminder that I can be confident, courageous and daring if I want to be. A reminder that it's important to seize every opportunity that comes my way, I don't know how many I'm going to be given. A reminder that no matter how many reasons I can find for not doing something I really only need one to do it.