Did you know that the twelve days of Christmas don't start before Christmas, but after? They are the twelve days beginning with Christmas Day that lead up to Epiphany (January 5th), or Three Kings' Day. When we lived in Germany, it was one long celebration. How fun is that?
For the next twelve days, I thought I'd do something wacky to celebrate, inspired by my big sister, Lynne'. The other day, when Lynne' and I were talking on the phone, she mentioned that my niece was going to her high school Christmas Dance that evening, with a date. That reminded me of the time I'd gone to the very same Christmas Dance, and Lynne' and I had a good laugh over it. Lynne' told me it was blog-worthy.....one thing led to another......and I've now decided to give you twelve days of laughs at my expense. In other words, I'm going to be sharing some of my all-time favorite (?!?!?) embarrassing moments. Twelve of them.
Cinderella and Her Teddy Bear Pajamas
Today's story requires a little background information. My parents lived in one school district, but my father was a high school math and physics teacher in another school district. After sending me to the schools within the local district through middle school, my parents grew disenchanted with some of the district policies. They talked me into transferring out of the local school to the high school where my father taught. Though shy and quiet through the primary grades, the move to a new school forced me out of my shell quite a bit, and I became considerably less shy and quiet. One may say I even blossomed--academically and socially--in my new environment.
Fast forward to my senior year of high school. I was busy with student government, show choir, the school musical, and AP classes. Christmas was approaching, as were the local high school dances. Despite the fact that I now attended Logan High, I still had friends at Sky View High. So I wasn't completely shocked when I received an invitation to attend Sky View's Christmas Ball from one of the neighborhood boys.
On the contrary, I viewed it as a personal coup. This was my big chance: to show former classmates who had known me as a geeky, shy girl with glasses and braces and funny hair the "new me." The cooler version of me, without the glasses, braces, and funny hair. It was like my own, personal Cinderella story: nerdy girl shows up at the ball totally transformed, to the astonishment of her [former junior high] peers!
Soon after extending his invitation, my date explained to me that we would all be wearing pajamas to this dance. Christmas pajamas. "How fun!" I replied to this information, thinking that this was a creative twist on the traditional Christmas Ball. Kudos to the student government, for coming up with such a fresh idea! My mother was so relieved she didn't have to come up with a dress for me, that she volunteered to buy my Christmas jammies.
Now, in the days prior to the Christmas Ball, I am not sure why it didn't occur to me to ask any of the girls in my neighborhood if they had picked out their pajamas for the Christmas Ball. I guess I was too busy with term papers and practicing my jazz hands for the show choir's Christmas performance. In fact, I was so busy that not only did I not discuss what I planned to wear with anyone, I let my mom pick out those pajamas without any input from me whatsoever.
They were flannel, with teddy bears wearing Santa hats, holding gifts and candy canes. Absolutely, unquestionably Christmas pajamas, and since that was the whole theme of the Christmas Ball, I felt it should be embraced. Right?
The night of the Sky View Christmas Ball arrived. My date came to the door, full of Christmas spirit and festively wearing his Christmas pajamas. (A red and white striped flannel nightshirt.) Off we went, with with two other couples (also wearing their Christmas pajamas), dashing through the snow, laughing all the way.
And I laughed, all right. Right up until the second course of dinner, which we were eating at my date's home. I nearly choked upon my bite of chicken cordon bleu when one of the other girls said, "We all look, like, so totally awesome. Everyone at the dance is just going to, like, die when we walk in wearing pajamas!"
"I know!" her date guffawed. "People at our school are such dweebs. They totally don't know how to have, like, a good time. We're going to be having so much more fun than they are having, in, like, suits and ties and dresses."
The other couple high-fived each other. "Yeah, baby! We're doing this! We're totally going to show them!" they chortled gleefully.
I paled, realizing that we were going to be the only six people at the Sky View Christmas Ball wearing pajamas. My Cinderella dreams were ashes. I was wearing teddy bear flannel Christmas pajamas to a semi-formal high school dance.
Fairy Godmother? Fairy Godmother?
If it was an entrance I wanted, I certainly got it. I'm sure everyone at the ball knew that Ruthie was back. In pajamas.
I don't think any one can comprehend the magnitude of my mortification unless they have been seventeen. And thought they were cool. At least cooler than they were when they were thirteen and wore thick glasses and headgear and a sweatshirt decorated with animals wearing braces and headgear. If you don't fit that description, you just can't comprehend the utter humiliation.
I wanted to make my escape well before the stroke of midnight, but that wasn't possible. My date seemed to be having the time of his life in that candy-cane striped nightshirt. Luckily, I hadn't won a supporting role in the musical based upon my good looks alone. I put on a good act. I danced. I said hello to all my old classmates. I acted like I was delighted to be crashing their dance in my teddy bear pajamas. But I was less than delighted.
I think eventually, maybe five or ten years later, I forgave my date. I'm sure he meant well. If my vanity had not been so mortally wounded, I probably would have been able to enjoy myself that night. Instead, it became the stuff of legends, something my great-grandchildren will laugh over: the night Grandma wore pajamas to the ball.