Later this week, my school hosts Back-to-School night. It's a quick opportunity to make contact with the parents of my students, tell them what I intend to accomplish in the year ahead, and then send them on their way to meet the next instructor and their expectations, confident that I've got matters in hand.
In a nutshell, it's an entire evening devoted to snap judgements and first impressions. And I've spent the past few days fretting. I'm not fretting about what to say or how to speak; that sort of thing comes incredibly easily to me. No, I'm fretting about the more shallow element of the evening: whatever shall I wear?
The evening is planned for 7 pm at nearly the end of what will have been my first full week back to school. That matters because 1) I must wear comfy shoes if I'm to be on my feet for another hour at that point in the week. And 2) by the end of the day, my eyes will be dried out and so I'll likely have to wear my glasses.
Wearing the glasses doesn't exactly bother me if I can construct a sort of stylish, librarian look to go with my four-eyes. I spent Sunday reviewing those options and it came down to this: leafy brown skirt, green sweater, Mary Janes shoes that rock……and if I'm to really pull this outfit off successfully, Spanx. The good news about Spanx is that they firm up one's bootie. The bad news is that eventually one's bootie grows tired of this state of suspended animation. I can picture myself making it through the evening only to hide in a corner of my classroom and peel off my Spanx for the drive home. This is likely as classy as it sounds.
The alternative look is Spanx-free, wearing my favorite sweater ever……a sweater so beloved that it has earned a nickname: button-button. Cute and much adored, this cardigan, but three sizes too big, thus conveying the impression that I'm a house adorned with buttons teaching the class.
Both outfits are ironed up and await a final decision. In the big picture, I realize that what I wear shouldn't matter. But remember when I noted that this is a night of first impressions and snap judgments? I'd like those conclusions about me to be neutral or even positive, not horrified by the fashion disaster unfolding in Sassafras Room.