A few weeks ago I was enjoying my, almost daily, early morning phone call with my best friend.
She drives to work every morning around 8 am and I stalk her on my phone’s Find My Friend app, until I see her bubble move away from her home.
As we neared the end of one of our gab fests, she audibly gasped and gushed, “I almost forgot to take out my hair curlers before going into the office.”
“I almost forgot to take out my hair curlers before going into the office.”
That bombshell confession shattered the boundaries of normalcy and pushed my curiosity beyond its normal early morning limits. I had to ask – “Why?” Her admission came without shame.
“I wear curlers on the way to work in the car. I need to tame the notorious beast known as my bangs’ cowlick. Otherwise it shoots straight up like I’m Cameron Diaz in There’s Something About Mary.”
My mind, quickly processing this new information, imagined my friend strutting into her workplace, curlers proudly adorning her head. It’s a mental image straight out of a quirky sitcom, with her co-workers trying to stifle their laughter and whispering about the latest fashion trend: “The Office Curler Chic.”
Pantyhose PTSD Triggered:
But there’s way more to this curler saga. My friend’s confession triggered my own PTSD. If she didn’t feel it, I certainly felt it for her. What would happen if she forgot to remove those curlers before entering the hallowed halls of her workplace? Oh, the horror! The mere thought of her walking around like a modern-day Medusa, transforming unsuspecting colleagues into stone with her unintentional fashion statement, sent shivers up my spine.
I couldn’t help it. The picture was clear. I could see the reactions of her unsuspecting colleagues as they witness this hair-raising spectacle. The bewildered glances, the raised eyebrows, and the whispers of “Did she just wake up from a time machine?” would surely create an office legend for years to come. The fact that she’s the oldest member of her department by at least a decade would only have made the legend more infamous.
With empathy, I assured her that I understood her predicament. What would happen if she accidentally walked into her place of employment with a couple of big old curlers attached to her head? She’d have to quit her job. Clearly.
“I now lovingly remind her at the end of each of our conversations to remove the curlers.”
I can assuredly claim that empathy led my reaction that day, and every day since. I now lovingly remind her at the end of each of our conversations to remove the curlers. One may well wonder why it’s so significant to me, why the mere notion of entering an establishment of employment all catawampus is fear-provoking to me.
Her humorous disclosure led me down a quick walk down memory lane. For those of you who are Smack fans, you know that absurd thoughts typically lead to some sort of essay.
Last century, before I became a corporate dropout, I worked in the Finance Department at Hewlett Packard headquarters in Palo Alto, California. My nondescript, beige-colored cubicle sat spitting distance from Lew Platt, the then-CEO of HP. So although I was a major underling, my project was highly visible to the C-suite and hence my cage was placed near them – for safe-keeping.
This indelible, PTSD-worthy, moment occurred on an ordinary day at the office, or so I thought. Little did I know that fate had conspired against me, plotting an embarrassing episode that would make me question my life choices and consider relocating to a deserted island.
Yeah, I nearly about forgot about them too. And, in my opinion, good riddance to them. Why, oh why did we ever wear those super uncomfortable, near impossible-to-keep-from-running, leg coverings?
“Not sure if it was the cool breeze that felt particularly out of place in that region of my body, but something made me take note.”
On this particular ordinary workday, I found myself leaving the ladies’ room. As I gracefully glided across the office floor, my confidence soaring higher than ever, I failed to notice the fashion disaster lurking on my backside.
Unbeknownst to me, my skirt had decided to seek refuge within the cozy confines of my pantyhose’s waistband. Yes, you read that correctly. The audacity! The sheer horror! My skirt, trapped like a wild animal caught in a hunter’s snare, was desperate to break free, but I remained blissfully ignorant of its secret rebellion, baring my entire backside for Corporate America.
Luckily for me, the universe had my back – side (this time.) Not sure if it was the cool breeze that felt particularly out of place in that region of my body, but something made me take note. The second I realized the issue — I don’t think I had ever moved that quickly before, or since for that matter, I yanked at the skirt that had bunched up shamelessly clinging to the waistband of my pantyhose, releasing the captured folds of material, allowing them to once again cover my butt.
If A Tree Falls In The…
Then I frantically surveyed the landscape of the office. Had anyone seen me? As far as I could tell through my flush-riddled face and the loud pounding in my temples, no one was the wiser. And it was in that instant, I realized that if anyone at work had seen this absurd spectacle, my professional reputation would have been shattered into a million irreparable fragments. My colleagues would forever associate my name with an epic wardrobe malfunction that, in my opinion, would rival the 2004 Janet Jackson nipple fiasco. I would have had to quit my job, right then and there.
The mere thought of enduring such humiliation sends chills down my spine – even today. Putting me in the unique position, to always remember to remind my friend about her curlers. I am not gonna lie, having the potential costume mishap belong to someone else makes it much easier to continue sipping my latte, giggling, all the while realizing that life is just a series of hilarious mishaps waiting to happen.
And as grateful as I am that pantyhose is out of favor, I now find myself rooting for the popularity of cowlicks.