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Monday, October 2, 2023

What Do You Want to Wear for Dinner Tonight? By Bea Tifton

 I am filling in for the lovely and talented Caroline Clemmons, writer extraordinaire. Check out her numerous great books for an engrossing read. 

I have a confession, Dear Reader. I am, er, a bit of a slob.

I come by it honestly. My mother and I have a running joke. When we go for Tex-Mex, which is as often as we can as we have a wealth of great Tex Mex in North Texas, she wears a red shirt. Red, as in salsa, for protection against the salsa the Tex-Mex restaurants serve with tortilla chips before the meal. Red is also good for Italian food. Highly patterned shirts are good for other types of cuisine. You see, spilling something is a given, so one must have a camouflage plan. Especially if other errands are to follow.

My Mamaw was a Depression baby. And she was living in poverty to boot. She learned to be careful with the few clothes she had. I also thinks some people are just naturally tidy. She could eat anything, no matter how drippy or gooey, and remain perfectly neat. No tomato stains on her clothing. And she was alternately amazed and frustrated at my mother’s ability to drip anything.

I don’t know why I am so messy when I eat. My mother was a stickler for proper table manners; I’m not like a pig in a trough. But I have become, um, fluffier in my middle age so perhaps I’m just a bigger target?

I was eating with a friend a few weeks ago. He’s just a friend, but he’s what the novels describe as “witty and urbane.” Very well dressed without being pretentious, very proper, very neat. And in the middle of our conversation, he said, “Um. You have, er, something…” and I looked down to see that yes, I had dropped a blotch of sauce on my shirt. So. Embarrassing. He was very gracious and we laughed about it, but I was mortified.

As a vegetarian, I eat a lot of broccoli and spinach. I’ve learned to check my teeth without seeming to check them to avoid that feeling one gets when she gets home and discovers telltale pieces of green stuck in her teeth hours after eating. Sigh. I know I’m with a true friend when they tell me before I leave the table. I mean, I do want to know.

I'll be meeting a friend for Tex-Mex later this week. Better make sure my red shirt is washed and ready to go.

Photo Credits for
Kaus Nielson "Person Giving Plate with Fried Eggs in Form of Face"
cottonbro studios "Photo of Boy Enjoying Melted Chocolate"
cottonbro studios "Kid Eating Broccoli"
Kampus Production "Portrait of Smiling Woman in Eyeglasses and Red Shirt"

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