’Tis the season — to sparkle

I need something sparkly.
If any gift-giving reader out there is breaking out in a sweat thinking I mean jewelry, I don’t. I don’t even mean a gift. It’s the shimmering time of year and I find myself sadly reminiscing about my youth when this time of year meant an excuse to buy a fancy new dress.
As I flipped through some Christmas catalogs, I found myself filled with longing for a real outfit — a gown, some shoes, a wrap — and a place to wear it. Somewhere out there, in social circles that will never include me, women are buying these gorgeous things to wear during the holidays. They have galas to attend and social standings to uphold. Nothing on my calendar requires more than a clean pair of jeans.
Most women will agree, there is nothing quite as delicious as sliding into a gown that makes you feel beautiful. You just know you will get a wolf whistle from your significant other. And even if he is foolish enough not to notice how radiant you look, you will get that look from several other men at the party. That may even be the best part. You know, and they know you know, that it is just seasonal flirting, but it can raise your self-esteem right through the roof. God bless the man confident enough to tell your husband he had no idea he had such a beautiful wife.
Meanwhile, life becomes a bit drab when you have no more occasions to get really dolled up. In high school and college, there was at least one each season. But once we move into the marriage, children, and/or career drill, most of us run out of opportunities to really make an entrance.
Sure you can throw your own party, but that has several obstacles. First, you can’t make an entrance at your own party. Next, it’s Southern California, home base for casual. You are just not going to see many tuxedos — not even if we remind him that he looks like James Bond. We’re lucky if we can get our men to wear pants with belt loops, much less a cummerbund. Finally, it’s a little anticlimactic to get beautiful for those friends you see all the time. What we are truly wishing for is to be Cinderella, that breath-taking woman no one can take their eyes off of. We want to hear whispers to our escort of “Wow. Who’s your date?”
Ah well. I know there are clubs in New York and balls in La Jolla where this all still happens, but somehow my invitations got lost in the mail. It’s just as well. I’d have to get my furs out of the vault and my jewels out of the safety deposit box, which is really such a bother. And besides, I simply couldn’t decide between the black, hand-beaded silk shantung and the bright red number dripping in sequins.
Instead, I believe I’ll be wearing my fabulous flannel with matching fuzzy slippers. Inside, however, I’ll be glittering.

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