I am in a great writing group called Sno Valley Writes which always has the best writing prompts. We have a local festival in town every year and this one year our prompt was to pick a picture on display and write a story or poem about it. One of the ones that inspired me by a painting called, “Women in the Red Stockings” by local artist. It was a great picture.
This is not about me per say although I was very shy growing up and even when I went to college. There I started to come out of my shell with the help of this incredible very persistent hunk that I eventually ended up marrying forty-three years ago this May. I used to practice in front of the mirror so I could talk without my face turning three shades red as it always did. And to make it worse I would get so nervous I would stutter and ramble on, which I still do,lol. Insecurities and shyness do that to people. While I still have that tendency, I have mostly outgrown that shyness, insecure still yes but not as shy, lol!
Dressing up has always brought out my insecurities. I did wear miniskirts but I usually had turtle necks on, lol! The few times I have really worn sexy dresses I usually was so uncomfortable in them that no matter how many compliments I got I just wanted to hide. This is true to this day. It is just not me! But I would love to have a pair of the Red Stockings.lol! To me they symbolized everything I am not but wish I could be. And I am not talking about being sexy but about being bold and secure and daring.
“Red Stockings” (written 2010)
When I entered college I had no intention of getting into a sorority or any groups. Basically I am on the shy side and don’t like attention. After a few months I started feeling a bit lost and lonely. I had made no friends as of yet and my roommate had a boyfriend and was never around. I still had no intention of joining an organized type of group but on the other hand I wanted to meet people. This particular Saturday my roommate Charlie, short for Charlotte was around because her boyfriend went home for the weekend. We started talking and she decided that I needed to get out more. Charlie was a vivacious blonde full of energy and always animated. She was tall and shapely. She dressed in wild clothes and was always the center of attention. She just loved clothes, the wilder the better. We are as different as day is to dark. Today for instance she had knee-high boots, with the shortest, tightness little black skirt with a very short white halter top on. Now Charlie looked great in it and was comfortable, but I couldn’t come out of my bathroom like that.
Charlie decided we were going to go out and party tonight and get me “hooked up” as she put it. “But first Lexi we are going to get you some decent clothes, where do you shop anyway? Gosh you have nothing here to attract attention or get noticed,” She spewed out in one breath as she rummaged through my closet and drawers. “That is the idea Charlie” I sarcastically snapped. She laughed and let me know that would not do. “So grab your bag and let’s go.” She called back to me as she walked out the door, snickering.
She took me to Famously Dressed, a consignment shop that had all kinds of clothes from movies and plays and modeling shows. When the clerk came over and asked, “Can I help you?” Charlie stepped in and claimed “we are looking to fix this girl up, we are going to a few parties and we want her noticed.” As I started to object she stepped in and scolded me, “Now now Lexi you are in my hands and I am not going out with you all drabbed out.”
The clerk and Charlie started laughing and talking about what would be appropriate.
I couldn’t be mad at Charlie, she made me laugh and she was trying to help. The clerk led us to a back room full of party clothes. There were some beautiful clothes and a lot of wild clothes. First I did not know if I wanted the attention and I was scared of what Charlie had in mind. The Clerk and Charlie started looking through things and pulling all kinds of clothes out without a thought of my opinion.
It was like I wasn’t even there. This went on for about 20 minutes or so. Then suddenly I was being pushed into a big dressing room full of mirrors and being ordered to strip down to my underwear. I was hesitant but obeyed like a lost child. Charlie gasped suddenly which made me insecure thinking I must look terrible and by the expression on my face she must have guessed that was what I thought and stated, “Oh my Lexi you are actually very pretty with a great shape, where have you been hiding and why? Oh we have to get you made up and oh this is going to be so much fun, I hope you have some money with you? Oh no worries we can charge it.”
I was really getting scared and thinking how I could duck out of this. I think I tried on about 20 dresses before Charlie pulled out very pretty spaghetti strapped little black dress.
It was very simple but with style and class. I actually liked it and when I put it on I surprised myself even though my first thought was how little of a dress it was, I then thought, “ wow is that me?”
Charlie was pleased with herself by now and she called the clerk in and they agreed if I was made up right it was perfect. So this would be the dress. “Now for the accessories” she breathlessly said to herself but out loud. Well we searched and searched, or should I say they searched and I was looking at the stockings and came across a pair of red stockings that for some reason I fell in love with.
I wasn’t thinking for the party but I suddenly wanted them. For some reason they represented my new-found courage to go out and meet people. So I picked them up and added them to my pile of growing items. Charlie had decided I needed several things. Charlie had happened to find a red shawl to go with the dress. She didn’t know about the red stockings. They were thigh high with a very fine mesh pattern and delicate lacy tops. They were very sexy. After paying I invited Charlie to lunch and we had a great time getting to know each other a little better.
Then she stood up and ordered “time to go and start to get you fixed up girlfriend. “ I told her I could do it but she shook her head vigorously with a firm voice, “no way tonight you are going out-and-out means killer looks.” We took turns showering and after she rolled her hair she started on me. She started rolling my hair and then went to the makeup.
By the time she was done I hardly recognized myself. “Is that me? I questioned, and we both laughed. Well we both proceeded to get dressed. Charlie had to go on ahead to help out with the set up at the first party. I followed after dressing.
For some reason at the last second I decided to put on the red stockings. When I walked in to the club I was having second thoughts already but it was too late by then, Charlie spotted me and I was trapped.
Well at first Charlie disapproved the red stockings, but by the end of the night they were such a hit and I met so many people and had 2 dates lined up so she conceded. I felt braver and had more fun than I ever had in my life as of yet. I felt so sexy.
I had a wild wardrobe after that first shopping trip with Charlie. I was in with the latest fashion. I actually enjoyed getting dressed but there was still nothing like the feeling I got when I wore my red stockings. I felt comfortable and even a bit sexy. Most of all it felt like me.
Those red stockings were responsible for me meeting my husband of 41 years who was that second date and for my painting, “The Red Stockings” and opening up my art studio/gallery, a long time dream of mine. I am still known for my red stockings that is also the name of my Gallery and in it is displayed proudly my painting “The Red Stockings”. Now I wear them when I need a little cheer. And I remember how the red stockings helped break the ice and open up a new life for me. And I smile!