Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Dignity be damned!

When I sat down on the train yesterday I realised that the zip on my jeans was undone.  Because we've been having a gorgeous warm flush of weather in Melbourne, my modesty wasn't preserved by my overcoat.  My hip length jacket and belt buckle all pointed to where my knickers were on display.  No one said a word.  I don't even know if they had noticed, but I felt that everyone would notice if I tried to pull the zip up.  Lucky I was carrying a large handbag and managed to balance my copy of "Jane Eyre" and my handbag to obscure what was going on in my lap.  I fixed it.

It's not the worst episode of public-wardrobe-failure-accompanied-by public-embarrassment that I've ever suffered - or witnessed.

Three words:  "stay up stockings".

Two other words:  "they don't".

Put them together and you have a situation impossible to come out of with any dignity intact.  Luckily, I was on King Street during the morning peak where no one knew me and everyone was too intent on pushing each other over in their rush to get to work, that I fantasise that no one actually noticed my shame.

For the uninitiated, stay up stockings are stockings that have a little ridge of sticky, plastic, rubbery stuff at the top of each leg.*  It sticks to your thigh and is supposed to stay up without the need for a garter belt.  Great in theory!    They stayed up while I walked around the house.  They stayed up as I walked to the tram stop.  They stayed up as I boarded the tram.  The were fine during the journey.  As I stepped off the tram I felt the first tremors of trouble.

Just a little frisson of tension giving way.  Just on one leg.  Then I felt it start to ROLL.  Down my leg.  In front of the world.  Thankfully, I was wearing a skirt that had some length to it.  Once that stocking started to move, there was no reattaching it to my leg.  I clutched at it, trying to be discreet and walk while holding the stocking up, carry my handbag, laptop, brief case.  Then the other one started to give way.  I thought about truth in advertising for about a second, cursing the very words "stay", "up" and "stockings".

What I really wanted to do was hoick my skirt up and pull the damn things off, but something deep down stopped me doing this. I was on King Street and probably could have got away with it at a time other than 8:15 on a busy Tuesday morning.  Loaded like a pack mule, I now had to bend at the waist far enough to grasp the stockings to keep them far enough up that no one could tell what was happening. I looked like I'd been struck down with some degenerative muscular disease overnight.

I made it to my building, but hadn't contemplated the full horror of contending with my situation in a closed space where the people there knew me.  Gone was my anonymity.  No more sympathetic glances or mean glares as passers-by shook their heads at the wild-eyed crazy woman with the weird camel gait.  Thank god it wasn't raining as well - carrying an umbrella would have broken this camel's spirit.

I lurked in the foyer until there was a break in the foot traffic when I made a break for it and secured a lift by myself.  The doors were almost closed when suddenly they sprang open again and in walked a colleague.  I almost cried.  But I didn't.  I just let the stockings go. Slipped my shoes off and ripped those suckers off like it was something I did everyday. I put my shoes back on.

And then I smiled.  Like a maniac.  He shook his head and had the good sense not to say a word.

And that's why you don't believe the advertising.

* I was thrilled to later discover that my ultra sensitive skin reacted to this sticky, plastic, rubbery ridge and I sustained a blister where the stocking had been adhered.  Until it wasn't adhered any more.

No comments:

Post a Comment