I’m still a little shocked at myself. I can’t quite believe that I pulled it off last night.

That I went through with it.

That I was able to smile in the face of bright lights and with a whole crowd of people smashed up around my feet.


I think I’m having an identity crisis.

I mean, I had eyebrows for the first time in my eyebrow-less history, for crying out loud! (For all you eyebrow-endowed people who don’t know of what I’m talking—some of us blondies have only invisible fuzz where our eyebrows ought to be. We have eyebrow envy, so getting to sport a set of eyebrows for an evening is wicked awesome. I kept popping my eyes open real wide just for kicks.)

My hair appointment was at five that night—

But wait. I should back up a little and tell you that before the evening even started, I was completely whupped. We had had a dress rehearsal in the morning and when I got home, I was so exhausted, so hungry, and so sore (heels, jutting hips, and stress don’t mix), that I scarfed down a plate of eggs and toast and crashed on the sofa for three hours. When Mr. Handsome came home from work, he took one look at me and ordered me to go soak in a tub of hot, Epsom-salted water. I obeyed.

But maybe I should back up even farther. Do you have any idea what all this talk of hips and heels and stress is about? Have I actually told you the what and why of what I was doing?

Our belly dance group (otherwise known as Wahad Tani, which means “one more”) was asked to perform at a fundraiser for Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. After we danced, there was to be a fashion show (all items made by some super-gifted local-yocals) followed by a silent auction. I was to dance in an outfit that had been designed and made by Rose and then model it in the show.

The belt, by Rose (smashed dimes by Yo-Yo)

The event was spear-headed by the best therapist that Yo-Yo ever had, a young woman (who gave me this recipe, and this, and oh, this one, too) who is adamantly opposed to the death penalty. Her father and stepmother were killed by her stepbrother and his friends (you can read one of her statements here—it makes me cry), so she knows firsthand of what she preaches. I adore her. She’s awesome and kind and spunky and wise.

And she assigned me two more outfits to model. It’s a good thing I love her.

So anyhow. That’s how it came to be that at five o’clock last night I was getting my hair spritzed and curled to high heaven.

And that at six I was at a beauty spa getting a set of eyebrows and bright red lips.

We were outrageous. There was tousled hair.

There were ringlets.

There were little braids.

There were half up-dos (or whatever you call them).

And then there was this: the Rod Stewart look.

I don’t know who Rod Stewart is, but everyone else does so I assume you do too and thus can understand the comparison. In any case, she seriously rocked.

We waited downstairs in the restaurant lounge until our 9 o’clock dance time. People kept coming in. The place was filling up before our very (anxious) eyes. At 8:30 we received word that they were no longer letting people in. Suddenly the room was very short on oxygen.

We finally got the call to come upstairs and then—boom—we were on stage.

We danced, we did, did we.

Four whole minutes later, it was over and I was back in the changing room (one posh room, one toilet, forty-plus outfits, 10-plus models, shoes, safety pins, water glasses, adult drinks, and big hair—wow)—belt off, shirt off, snaps and pins undone, leggings on, black cami on, magenta shawl (with a safety pin for good measure), black boots, and then I was standing in the hallway, peeking out around the corner.

What I saw made my heart thud to my feet and all my blood rush to my head. Every inch of the runway was surrounded. And it wasn’t just a nice orderly row of people. No sir. Those people were pressed up against the 14-foot-long, 4-foot-wide black catwalk. They were three, four, five, ten deep, laughing, talking, cheering, whooping.

I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t expect that. Terror threatening to overwhelm, I did the only thing I knew to do. I marched myself straight up those stairs, stared straight ahead into the lights, smiled, and started walking.

Ho-boy people! Let me tell you, modeling is NOT as easy as it looks. I proceeded to put my hands on the wrong hips at the wrong times, not pause long enough, repeat pivots too many times, and go blind from all the bright flashing lights.

It was an .. an … An Experience. Totally surreal. Wild. Bizarre.

And then—boom—I was back in the changing room, putting on the belly dance costume again and then—boom—out on the runway doing snake arms. Another switcheroo, this time into a green tango/mermaid dress and those black heels—above the announcer’s voice, the music, the crowd, I heard my honey’s catcall.

And then we were all out on the runway in our anti-death penalty t-shirts, grinning and waving and so, so glad it was over.

I joined Mr. Handsome and the other husbands at their table. Mr. Handsome brought me a margarita. I took one long sip, felt my eyes cross, and announced, “I need food.” A hamburger soon followed, but I was too exhausted and it was too loud (a band had taken over the stage) for me to do any recovering.

Not until the wee hours of Saturday morning, though, did I finally laid my still-painted and curly head down upon my pillow. Upon waking, the kids would see the traces of the wild woman their mother had been.

Or, “has become?”

Or, “is becoming?”

Only time will tell which verb fits best.

The end.

P.S. If you haven’t already done so, watch Kinky Boots. Do it in honor of me and my walk on the wild side, okay?

This same time, years previous: raisin-filled cookies and chocolate truffle cake


  • Angie

    No one would have thought you were nervous at all. Girl, you rocked!! You help me stay calm! I can't wait to see what else we'll get ourselves into!! 🙂

  • dr perfection

    I am going to book you for the entertainment for the next soiree. Not for the bellydancing (we already did that) but to teach us RUNWAY. We will all dress up with full makeup and you will show us how to walk.

  • Margo

    oh goody, the whole story!!! thank you! and pictures!
    you look GREAT. and your belly is sooooo impressive.
    GOod for you! I'm so proud of humanity because of you.

    and how's this for funny: I know about Rod Stewart and his hair, but I didn't know your movie quote. ah yes. the spotty worldliness of Mennonites.

  • Mama Pea

    Wahoo! Good for you!! How refreshing, how wonderful, how inspiring, how GREAT that you did something just for you. And enjoyed it so much . . . once recovery set in. How many of us wives and mothers get that kind of opportunity? Thanks for taking us along on the wild side! ;o)

  • You Can Call Me Jane

    I was on the verge of an anxiety attack just reading about what you did last night. What's next? I'd like to know:-).

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