Like ten high school reunions rolled into one, by Emily Winslow

This week’s theme is “shopping.” That’s something I’m doing a lot of right now, because for all of the month of June I’ll be traveling all over the States promoting my book (see this post for the schedule). I’ll be seeing lots of old friends which is WONDERFUL. It’s also daunting.

I’m diligently whitening my teeth, and in a few weeks I’m having my hair professionally colored, a treat I haven’t indulged in since I first got pregnant TEN YEARS AGO.

I’m very happy with the timing of my release, book-wise; summer sells a lot of books, and it isn’t as competitive as fall. BUT I look a lot nicer in fall clothes! A cranberry-colored, fitted coat; black tights; bright sweaters. Aw, I look so pretty! But you know what looks terrible on me? Short sleeves. Loose dresses. Bare legs. Yes, summer clothes. June clothes. *sigh*

My darling mother, when I told her about a book luncheon I’d be attending at a country club, oohed and aahed and then said “Oh.” [concerned pause.] “You’re going to need new clothes.” Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mom! (Of course, she’s right.)

So I’ve bought a couple of light but businessy-looking blazers that I figure I can get away with wearing, even if it’s hot–I may be uncomfortable, but I can claim it’s my “professional look.” I have a pair of sandals I bought at Target last year, that I think will be comfortable because I bought them a size too big. (Yeah, I know feet spread with pregnancy and with age, but no other piece of footwear on the planet calls me a size 11–what gives, Target?)

I feel lucky that Marks and Spencer decided to go “all sizes” two years ago. No more plus-size ghetto! I hate the argument that offering larger sizes will contribute to obesity by normalizing it. That’s crap. If you care about people’s health, and want to promote weight loss, shame is NOT EFFECTIVE. Shame makes a person want to hide away. If you (and by “you” I mean corporations and designers who refuse to deal with larger sizes) really care about other people’s health, and want larger people to become more active and stronger and educated about healthy choices, confidence and self-love will make that a lot more likely than shame.

I once regularly worked out at a nice gym in Silicon Valley. There were lots of body shapes; very comfortable. I wanted some new exercise clothes so I popped into the shop there. I mentioned my disappointment that a brand I liked only went up to some-size-smaller-than-me. The clerk said, “Oh, they make that size. We just don’t carry it. It would be embarrassing for people to buy it.”

Yes, she said that to my face. But it wasn’t just amazingly oblivious, it made no sense. Surely it’s more embarrassing to be forced to wear ill-fitting clothing? And, stupid-corporate-decision-maker-who-vetoed-XL-clothes: if you really cared about the “obesity epidemic” then surely MAKING AND SELLING CUTE, INSPIRING EXERCISE CLOTHES FOR FAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE TOP PRIORITY.

So, thank you Marks and Spencer, for dressing me. You have my loyalty.

Now I just need to figure out how I’m going to keep things wrinkle-free in the suitcases, especially with all the packing and unpacking. I’m thinking I should look up 1-hour dry cleaners at key points and schedule in the time to get things spiffed up along the way.

I’m not at all nervous about my launch party here in Cambridge; I’ll just look like me the way everyone knows me. But catching up with so many old friends, who knew me YEARS ago…well, I admit I feel intimidated. I’ve had a blast in the intervening years, but I’ve aged and widened and, well, here I am.

I haven’t been to a school reunion, but I think the pre-party jitters must feel a lot like this. Any advice or pep-talks for meeting up with old friends?

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Emily Winslow

12 thoughts on “Like ten high school reunions rolled into one, by Emily Winslow

  1. About wrinkly clothes: I’ve found that if you roll your clothes fairly tightly, as opposed to folding them, they’ll be less wrinkled when you unpack them from your suitcase. Also you’ll save room in your suitcase. As to pre-party jitters, smiling huge at yourself in the ladies’ room mirror sometimes can be good for a quick shot of confidence. If that fails … red wine!

  2. I think that because we are surrounded by writers all the time, we tend to forget how cool and UNUSUAL it is to have written a book. I know I do. However, a lot of my friends from school still live in the area the book takes place (where I’m from) and are very excited about coming to the launch when I’m there. But here’s the deal…they’re proud of me! While everyone I know has written a book, I’m the only one they know and they are excited for me. This was a bit of a shock, but try to keep that in mind. Your friends who come out to see you are rooting for you because you’ve actually accomplished something that not a lot of people do!

  3. I have to add that when I saw that picture, I missed the store’s name over the doors and thought, “Wow! Her high school was HUGE!”

  4. Another cool thing about being a writer is we can dress however we want to for our events. Really. Don’t feel like you have to squish yourself into some “professional” outfit. You’re THE AUTHOR! So you get to dress however you want. Where what you like, what you feel good in and what makes you most comfortable. It’s YOUR party.

    And rolling your clothes really does help with the wrinkles. Do they even have one-hour dry cleaning places any more????

  5. I second what Joelle says about everyone else thinkingwriters are cool–to readers, a writer is like a rock star. So enjoy. Also, all those folks you haven’t seen for 10 or 15 or 20 years? Chances are they’ve “filled out” a bit, too. So relax and enjoy!

  6. Emily, YOU are going to be the STAR — the one who’s succeeded! Happily married, mother of two darling sons, and living in Cambridge, England, writing literary mystery novels…what more is there? And remember you won’t be too warm in a blazer/jacket since air-conditioning always feels that it’s set at 32 degrees.

  7. Yup, you’re going to be the star. Everyone will want to know about your fabulous book. Toss back your newly-colored hair and smile and tell them about it!

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