In the year since my hip replacement, I have not exactly been bringing sexy back. In fact, between the lack of hip flexion, the post-surgical rashes (which happily have resolved themselves), the swamp-creature gait pattern, the incisions, and the semi-detached ass, sexy and I aren't even Facebook friends. For a long time, most fashionable clothing pressed painfully against my hip or my detached gluteus medius, so I've gotten into a rut of jeans, sweatshirts and a five-year-old cami with a built-in bra that has holes in it, but I won't throw it away because American Eagle doesn't make them any more and long camis with built-in bras are rarer than hen's teeth.
In my defense, when it takes you about 8.5 hours to bend down to pick something up, you don't want to throw the "trying not to expose yourself on account of your short skirt" factor into the equation. (No good can come of it. No good at all). And when you're spending months at a time lying on your back (and not even in a sexy way!), your main fashion concern tends to be "do I have instant noodles stuck to my chest?" A few days ago, however, I said to myself, "Arley, do you ever wonder why the only cat calls you get are people mistaking you for a gay man and shouting homophobic slurs at you? Do you think that's a sign that maybe you should break out the party dress? Or at least put on some lip gloss?"
Point. Taken. After all, I am decidedly less gimpy than I was before and in about a month, I am going to have surgery all over again and will once again be getting dressed using a specially designed grabber with a hook on it. It was time to get my mojo working before my mojo got surgically removed. When Erin McQ and I went shopping and I found an expensive Calvin Klein sweater dress on sale for less than $20, it was like the heavens had parted and a sign had been handed down to me. That sign read: Arley, thou shalt wear thine sexy-ass sweater dress to thy sports banquet thou art attending for work in Ottawa in a few days hence.
Now, don't get me wrong. My goal with the sweater dress was not to score/hook up/get a little somethin'-somethin'. I have very little interest in dating at the moment because a) I'm moving halfway across the country in a matter of weeks and b) you know what's not great to do in the first few weeks of a relationship? Have major surgery that requires you to use a walker for extended periods of time. Plus, I'm pretty sure that "work function" + "skanking it up" is a recipe for "unemployment." But sometimes you need to give your self-confidence a boost by putting on a tight (but professionally acceptable!) dress, looking in the mirror and saying, "You know what? I am wearing the f*ck out of this dress. I am wearing this dress so hard that when people look at me and say 'daaamn,' they will not mean it in the sense of 'daaamn, what happened to you?"
Well, that was the plan anyways. Here was the reality. I spent all evening issuing press releases, so that I had only 10 minutes to get ready for the banquet. I was sweaty, my hair looked like I had been involved in a vigorous headbanging session, and I'd forgotten a makeup brush so I'd applied eyeshadow with my fingertip and I'm pretty sure that I got at least some of it near my eyes. I threw on the dress and a pair of red shoes I'd brought and strutted out of there with the best strut I could muster.
Still, for a moment, I felt as if the plan had succeeded. I catwalked (somewhere, Miss J from Project Runway is giving me side-eye) down to the banquet all with my shoulders back and my head held high. I did not even get to the banquet hall, however, when I saw the folly of my plans. I had not worn my sexy red shoes since the surgery. The last time I wore the shoes, I did not walk like a stroke-addled zombie. Now, my sexy red shoes were a little redder, because they had worn all the skin off the back of my heels, which had started bleeding.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of how I spent the entire banquet in bare feet limping even more than usual with my shoes in my purse. And that is also why I have been wearing a pair of my mom's old flip-flops even though it's raining, because there is a huge chunk missing out of my right heel and putting on real shoes makes them bleed. And that is maybe why I felt the need to pull an all-nighter before I left at 5 a.m. for my flight home, which resulted in me showing up on A's doorstep to pick up Mika back firmly in my jeans and sweatshirt, with make-up raccoon-like under my eyes, limping and complaining of sleep deprivation. The only good side was that A. took one look at me and identified that I had a serious need for french toast, so we went to Le Peep and then I had a 3-hour nap. Le Peep french toast cures everything.