Bridesmaid

I dressed conservatively as a teen, never comfortable showing a bit more skin that necessary and avoiding the company of those who revealed too much. Which explains why I made my friend, Alta, change from a tight low-cut top to a more modest one before we went to a basketball game our senior year in high school. She really loved me to willingly put that purple leotard top back in her drawer.

Though best friends, our styles continued to differ through college and on to the era of our weddings. Before I even glimpsed the bridesmaid gown Alta had selected for her wedding, she was on her knees begging me to wear it in spite of what it would reveal. The dress, a pale pink knit, was a halter dress, showing bare shoulders with no place for bra straps. A cut-out lace section, front and center, had too many gaps to even conceal a strapless bra.

OMG.

There was a thin wisp of fabric draped over the shoulders, but it covered nothing. Absolutely nothing. Late seventies, a formal wedding, and twenty-something-year-old me in public, bra-less, for the first time ever. I survived only by focusing my attention on the beautiful bride and convincing myself that everyone else was focused there as well.

The dress hung in my closet for years, coming out only once in the nineties when I dressed as Gilligan’s movie star friend for a costume party. The revealing gown was perfect for Ginger.

During the past twenty years, I’ve been mammogrammed, biopsied and lumpectomied so many times it seems most of the world has seen what I previously hid. The modesty is gone.

As is the gown. I gave it to Alta last month. For old time’s sake.

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