Below the knee and beyond the pale

You’d think that finding a dress “below the knee” would be easy enough, not too steep a hill to climb, not too low to limbo. You’d be wrong. Pre-mess do season is upon us, and consequently so is the panic of what to wear. It’s all so very easy for the male sex; the prescribed mess dress is a given, no questions of propriety versus glamour asked, no wondering whether “does my bum look big in this?” (the right answer men is always, without hesitation, NO!). It’s no coincidence that I seem to spend a larger amount of my day around this time of year scouring the internet, looking for that elusive dress that’s not too slutty, not too expensive, not too tight around the mid-section yet fitted enough, one that’s flattering, that doesn’t cling in all the wrong places or reveal too much boob, one that won’t have been chosen by someone else. In short, finding a dress for the Xmas mess do is a rather steep hill to climb indeed.

There are those that invest a huge amount of time and preparation into mess dos; those who get their hair, nails, fake tan and make up done till there’s not much of their original self left, and opposingly there are those that don’t even go. I find I straddle the in-between fence; I like going within reason, dressing up and seeing my husbands “wow” face (minus leggings and snuggly jumpers I do, surprisingly, scrub up all right). I like having a kids free night and drinking free wine, I am however naturally quite lazy when it comes to party prep, quite frankly I just can’t be arsed, spending so much time trying to find the “one”; the dress that doesn’t make me look like a Christmas fairy (being short doesn’t help) or Mrs Doubtfire at a wedding is time consuming enough.

I’ll be honest, I find mess functions kinda intimidating, there seems to be an unspoken of competitive atmosphere; of who looks the best, and more scarily (not a competition you wanna win) who looks the worst, who wore the same dress twice in a year (oh god, the horror..not!) and who’s make up looks like they did it in the dark, all panda eyes and clown mouth. Unfortunately this does, more often than not, lead to me drinking too much, thinking I can still drink Tequila like pre-mother me (I can’t). For once this year I already have my dress (in all honesty I was supposed to wear it to the last function but the baby was ill, dress success) and do you know, I even like it, yet I’m finding it incredibly hard to hold my nerve – seeing all these lovely dresses on BFGbay is incredibly tempting, and my poker face is crumbling within. Will I ever find the perfect mess dress? I’m not sure it exists, and although my usual good intentions of “no tequila” have been forethought I’m thus not sure my resolve on this front exists either.

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