MARY’S PROBABLY RIGHT…….

When I left Oklahoma for my World Tour, Abbi handed me a large bag. “Here’s some make-up. Just in case.”

And here I am.

Tomorrow morning I have an interview with a sorority at Stillwater, home of Oklahoma State University, Pistol Pete, Hideaway Pizza, Eskimo Joe’s,  The Wooden Nickle and maybe me.

For those of you who knew me back in my corporate days when my body was lean and mean, my hair and nails were perfect, I wore designer suits and heels, dressed up to go to the grocery store and wouldn’t go outside to check the mail without looking in the mirror first, you wouldn’t know me now.

Jumping off the corporate tread mill was a huge step for me. I’d won every possible award in every company I’d been with since I was 21. Prided myself in the fact that I’d been able to help make positive changes in every community I lived in (even military base communities) through Chamber of Commerce committees, local philanthropic organizations/civic groups, and my vote. When Bill and I were together, I’m sure he always got high marks for “wife’s participation” on his officer’s evaluation form. I never even picked him up for work without full make-up and a cute dress.

The first time I visited my accountant’s office in Norman after that leap and showed up in jeans, a tee shirt, and no make-up, she didn’t recognize me. After a few of those visits, she asked how my change was going. I told her, “I like myself much better now.” She said she did, too.

No more false eyelashes. No more panty hose. No fake or painted nails. Trying to think if I own any more designer clothing…….have a few of the up-brand Ralph Lauren jeans, tops, pants and sweaters, but that’s about it. All the suits are gone. I don’t own any cocktail or formal dresses. Heels? No more Bruno Maglis, and I used to love them. Fit like a glove. (no pun intended)  The heels are partially because I don’t wear them by choice, but the reality is that after the assault, I’m off balance in them. I do, however, still love a good Fendi purse and haven’t given up my gold jewelry — well, most of it. I’ve given a good bit of it to Abbi. She can do whatever she wants with it.

The other thing is that I’m embarrassed about my body. That’s a gigantic thing to say….or type out loud.

Before that big, brave rugby player slugged me, I was training for a marathon. My doctor told me I was a 60-year old in a 40-year old body — but because she knew me, she laughed and said, “OK, maybe a 20-year old in a 40-year old body.” Now, I’ve gained about 25 pounds and have no muscle tone. I’m officially fluffy, and hate it.

On the cultural front, I’ve lived on California college campuses for the last six years. They’re not much on tradition in Cali. I haven’t heard a sorority grace sung in any of my houses on any of my campuses. There have been times I wanted to stand up and sing mine, just so they’d know what it was like. There are no homecoming celebrations. Nothing is a big deal. Except, maybe bid night. But at USC, the post-bid parties are held at the sorority houses. On the lawns. After the “running of the pigs.” (For the uninitiated, some campuses have this tradition. Once bids are disbursed and signed, the new pledges run — in heels — to the sorority house. The frats gather on their lawns to cat call and worse.)

That lack of tradition spills over to everything. They only wear “dressy” stuff to their formals — and at UCLA, there’s a service that brings in dresses they can rent. The fanciest event other than that was when the Alpha Phi’s took their mothers to the racetrack on Mom’s Week-end. Then, everyone put on a cute sundress and hat. They wear 6″ heels everywhere, so that didn’t change.

In all my houses, I was expected to be “presentable” for Monday night dinner and things like Presents and Parents’ Week-ends, but there were none where I was expected to be, as they say on Toddlers and Tiaras, “full glitz.” Some of the house directors wore “nice” clothes every day, but most of us wore either college tee shirts, nice tops, jeans or capris. We didn’t even dress up to go to our own organized events, unless it was mandated by Greek Life or the site we were visiting.

So, I’m back in Oklahoma.

I was at a top tier house on every campus in Cali. The largest pledge class I saw was 55. At OU or OSU, that would be a joke. Abbi’s friends told her of pledge classes at 90+.  Homecomings come with full regalia — at OSU, a frat and sorority are matched up and build  parade floats that cost tens of thousands of dollars. I was at the Pike house for a homecoming event back in maybe 2005, but only remember that they had a “house family” — husband, wife, and dog. And it was a lay-back party.

I don’t know how house directors dress here. Will I be OK going to the interview in white Ralph Lauren’s and a nice top? Do I wear an official outfit? (Yes, I packed some real clothes. I didn’t know what was going to come up. But they haven’t left the suitcase in the trunk….yet…..)

And, where my hair was always perfect before, it’s now halfway down my back and I look like the old hippie I really am. How do I fix it? Do I, as Mary suggests, just throw it up into a pony tail, slap on some mascara and lipstick and go for it? Do I go as “Me” with no make-up? I’ve always prided myself on being transparent, and I want them to know who I am — not who I’m pretending to be to make an impression. My friend, Peggy, gave me a curling iron and some hot rollers to replace the ones the cleaning crew threw out at Alpha Phi, but I’m not sure what to do with them anymore.

I haven’t put on “real” make-up for years. When one of Abbi’s LA DollHouse girls did my hair and make-up for my book cover photo shoot, I looked in the mirror and said, “I used to look like that.” The hair fell between Abbi’s house and the shoot. I kept the lashes — but they’re at Abbi’s — and I’m not sure what to do with the make-up she packed. Haven’t looked in the bag. Don’t know what’s in there.

Just Facebook’ed one of my “kids” who graduated from OSU and was a sorority girl now. She’s in Boulder now working for a Colorodo congressman. Asked her how her house mom dressed. Maybe, I should at least be informed.

For now, I’m going to go fill the car, put the address in the gps to see how much time it will take me to get to Stillwater by 10:30 in the morning without getting up close and personal with an Oklahoma State Trooper (that’s never a good thing).  When I get back to Mini Ha Ha, I’ll bring in the suitcase with real clothes, try them on, and pull out the make-up bag. Play with the hair.

Knowing me, Mary’s probably right. I should put my hair up in a ponytail, maybe slap on some lipstick when I get there and go as myself. I don’t want any surprises, and they shouldn’t have any either. If they don’t like me for who I am, I shouldn’t be there. It wouldn’t be good for them, and it wouldn’t be good for me.

So until Monday, when I’ll either be headed for Stillwater or on the next leg of the World Tour, stay safe out there. You’re important to me.    And keep me in your thoughts — I want the right thing to happen.