By Joy Personified…..Tina Davis
In a rare occasion for me when I volunteer at these competitions, I was scheduled to finish for the day on Saturday, January 6, 2024, at 2:30 PM. My next shift was at 7:15 AM on Sunday – but the weather forecast was for a snowstorm Saturday night into Sunday morning. That put Sunday’s schedule in flux, and I was determined to get dressed for a nice dinner at a local restaurant.
I made an appointment at a nail salon very close to the hotel for 4 PM and arrived in male mode a few minutes early. There was a moment of confusion on the nail tech’s face when I said I wanted a dark red polish, but she found a matte wine red color and I sat at her station. There were several women there getting various nail treatments and colors, and no one gave me a second glance. The salon is highly rated, and I found no reason to think otherwise. The tech did a wonderful job of cleaning up my nails and painting them. I sat with the fan to dry for at least 20 minutes, hoping to prevent any mishaps later. She got a nice tip and I thanked the staff as I left, with the salon about to close at 5.
When I got back to my hotel room, of course I found that one thumb had a gouge in the nail polish. I couldn’t do anything except try to ignore it as I quickly shaved my face again and got dressed. I put on some firm shapewear and tightened my bra clasp to provide a hint of cleavage under the floral dress. Then it was time for the evening makeup and false lashes, which took longer than expected but I was happy with how it turned out. I wore some dangling earrings, a chain-link bracelet, and a new “T” necklace that emphasized my manufactured cleavage.
I took several pictures in the hotel room, including the new tan leather shoulder bag I bought at the consignment store. It easily fit everything I needed for the evening without being bulky. With the snowstorm approaching, I was a little concerned about walking in my nude 4” heels, but the heavier snow was not expected until much later that night. I took the elevator down to the lobby and walked past the desk clerk to the door. The cold air on my legs as I stepped outside was expected but still a reminder of the short dress and sheer hosiery I was wearing.
The restaurant was a bit busy, as most people were looking to eat and get home before the snowstorm started. I asked for a table for one and had to wait only a few minutes, sitting on the edge of a bench in the foyer. I was led to a small table in a room at the corner of the building, with large windows out onto the main road. All the other tables were filled, two with families who had young children, and two middle-aged women right next to me. I sat with my back to the wall so I could see outside, plus glance at the other patrons to gauge any reactions to me. There were none, I’m not even sure I was looked at more than anyone else.
My server Izzie arrived and I ordered a glass of Italian red wine. She promised to bring bread and the wine, then immediately said, “I love your dress”. I thanked her profusely, and my self-confidence went up several notches. I decided to order a chicken cacciatore, which came with a side salad and pasta. I sipped my wine, leaving a lipstick print on the glass, and had a piece of bread while I waited. The salad was not too big and came with a house-made dressing.
When Izzie brought my entree, which was HUGE, I asked her to take my picture, which she did with a big smile on her face. [Editorial comment: Already a 2024 favorite!] The dish was excellent, although I could never have finished the pasta even if I wasn’t wearing the firm shapewear under my dress. I got a second glass of wine, then told Izzie that I was glad to have put the dress on before coming in, as I expected I wouldn’t fit in it the next day. She laughed and nodded knowingly.
When the bill arrived, I saw her name on it as “Izaira”, an unusual and very pretty name. She is Puerto Rican and was pleased I asked her about it. I gave her a good tip, held her hand for a moment to thank her again for her wonderful treatment of me that night, and wished her safe travels home in the snow.
Yes, a short snow shower had happened during the meal, but had only left a dusting on the grass and my car. I gingerly walked across the parking lot, slid into the seat, and started the car to warm up. I made it back to the hotel without incident, rode the elevator up to the top floor, and got into my room for the night. Sure, my feet were sore and I felt full with the shapewear pressing on my abdomen, but I was so happy with my look and my experience of the evening. I didn’t want the good feeling to fade right away, so, still dressed to the nines, I spent a bit of time just sitting in the desk chair, looking over the pictures I’d taken, and enjoying the emotions of a beautiful Saturday night.
It’s amazing to me that after a year of not having any opportunities to get out, I really didn’t have any issues with my presentation. Nor was I nervous or worried about being recognized or called out. I was just focused on having a good time, and I certainly did. Every day that I can make that happen is a day to celebrate.