Sunday, March 1, 2015

Banquet Behavior for Baptists

                This weekend I was reminded of a simpler time, during my formative years, when a brief, fleeting romance was the most color-coordinated of my life and I thought I should use that as a gentle foray into schooling the tacky masses on proper attire for a date.
                When I was in 8th grade, we were living in the bustling metropolis of Bogata, TX, home of the alliterative food-related businesses, Tip Top and Kwik Korner.  We had moved into Bogata proper from the village of Fulbright and I was feeling rather fancy as our neighbors were more posh than those previous.  In Fulbright, our neighbors were cows, hay bales and the occasional wolf.  In Bogata we lived across the street from a judge and a church converted into a home and next door to the Wood family homes, both residential and funeral.  Two of the three Wood offspring were my besties; the twin sisters Denise and Juliann (Hey, y’all!).
                During my two years in Red River County, I had acquired, and somehow lost, a fair number of girlfriends; otherwise known as “girls who I was going with”, to use ‘80s Texas Teen vernacular.  Christy Northcutt, Eyvette Hannah, Cindy Davis, Leslie Johnson were all lovely girls who had responded positively to my hand written note asking them to check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but then wandered away to other activities, I suppose.  George Strait didn’t invent it, y’all, he just recorded it.
                In an attempt to provide G-rated activities for youth,  a Valentine Banquet had been planned at Bogata Baptist and I was to acquire a date and the young lady I chose to send the note to was none other than Becky White, ginger pianist, flautist and wearer of “Annie” eyeglass frames.  It was a match made in the hallway of the church, literally, because that’s mostly where I saw her other than at school.  They lived near the nursing home which was not far as the crow flies, but since I was walking, it was too far.
                One day, a week or so in advance of the event, Becky called and asked if I had selected my outfit for the occasion.  I informed her that I would be wearing my newest favorite outfit; a Christmas gift from my grandmother, the sainted Mama Dot.  On top, a burgundy and slate grey Ocean Pacific (OP) sweater with a thin rainbow stripe across the chest.  Bear in mind that OP was a very popular brand in 1983 and this had been purchased in Dallas, people.  Dallas!  I paired this with grey brushed-corduroy trousers and felt that I was just about the fanciest boy in all of Red River County, which truth be told wouldn’t have been difficult a feat to accomplish.  Not wearing boots would have immediately placed me in the Top Five.
                When I arrived at the White residence on the night of the event, Ms. Becky walked out wearing a grey dress with a burgundy jacket that matched my outfit exactly!  I couldn’t believe it.  Her mother, the talented Alice Ann, had made her outfit especially for the occasion.  These were my people, people.  I felt sure that we would summarily be crowned king and queen of the banquet, because Baptists love a crown, y’all.  By the way, we did not win the crowns, but it may have been the last time they did that because several girls who also did not win, left the room in a flurry of tears and emotion, which is frowned upon unless you are “feeling the Spirit” and even then there are limits.  Baptists are very British when it comes to public displays.
                However, Ms. White and I did make a dashing pair and I remember having a thoroughly grand time for what couldn’t have been more than a couple of hours because (1) we were 12 and (2) we were Baptist.  Only Methodists and other heathens were out too far past dark.
              My point is if 8th graders in the wilds of East Texas can get our act together, you millennials can surely dress appropriately for a date.  I wouldn’t wear some of the outfits I saw last night (on my Fit Bit-inspired loop down 2nd street) to take out the garbage.  I am more color-coordinated while sleeping.  Yoga pants are only allowed in yoga class and I’m betting dollars to donuts that you weren’t at yoga.  And even if you were, that is past tense so change your outfit already.  And booty-shorts should only be worn if you’ve already given up on life because your mother named you Tanqueray.  And gentlemen, on the off-chance your date is dressed to the nines, you should at least strive for sixes.  For a frame of reference, t-shirts with jeans and flip-flops is a minus four.  See how I’m using math as an grown-up?
               Suffice it to say the relationship between Ms. Becky and myself lasted for a little while or maybe it ended after the next pep rally, I can’t be sure.  But I remember she was kind, bright, and talented and a red-head.  That’s a pretty complete package, y’all.  Oh, and she also had an in-ground pool.  I probably should have proposed.
              And that’s all I’m saying for now.

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