Well, They Looked Good on Errol Flynn
By Jeff Salter
We’re talking about wardrobe malfunctions this week… and I’ve previously posted one of the more embarrassing ones I’ve ever been connected with.
Beyond that, I have the usual assortment of times when I’ve been embarrassed by an undetected dryer sheet emerging from my shirt sleeve (in a library staff meeting) or from my pants cuff (in a Sunday School class). But I can’t recall any really bad experiences when my wardrobe actually malfunctioned.
Well, there was this one time…
Again, this is not a malfunction of wardrobe… so much as it’s my embarrassment because of wardrobe. Subtle difference.
This occurred in my senior year of high school. I’d been in three play productions by that point and we were preparing for my fourth — Sandy Wilson’s The Boyfriend. In one scene of that play [as Tony] I portrayed the character Pierrot, whose costume featured white tights. Yeah, tights… just like Rudolph Nureyev and those other ballet guys. The drama teacher, Mrs. Judy Lacour, purchased the tights and evidently wanted to double her value… because I also wore them (as one of two delegates from the Thespian Society) as part of my costume to the school’s Carnival Ball. Jennifer McWilliams was the Calico Cat and I was the Gingham Dog.
So, anyway, back to the tights. Shortly after Mrs. Lacour received them, she reached me somehow during a vacant period at school [not sure how that worked out]. She and a female classmate, who was the play’s wardrobe mistress, needed to establish whether those tights fit me or not.
“Well, I’m pretty sure they’ll fit,” I said.
“You’d better try them on,” replied the teacher. “If they’re too large or too small, we’ll need time to replace them.” [In 1968, in small town Louisiana, you didn’t buy men’s tights off the shelf — they had to be ordered from somewhere.]
She had a point, but I still wasn’t keen on modeling tights in front of my teacher and a female fellow student. But, as a good trouper, I knew the show must go on — so I obeyed . I think I used the Drama Department’s tiny costume room to shrug out of my jeans and pour myself into those tights. It didn’t take a genius to figure out why they’re called tights.
Well, as some of you may know, when those ballet guys wear tights, they also have a cup or a codpiece… if you know what I mean. I didn’t even have a jock strap [I mean, who carries a jock around all day?]. Noticing the material of those tights was rather thin – not truly opaque, but you could definitely tell what was beneath them – I rethought the modeling portion of my assignment.
Outside the door, my teacher and the wardrobe mistress were waiting… likely wondering what was taking so long. I mean, shucking jeans and pulling on tights ought to take just a couple of moments. Well, I had a big decision to make: which would look worse? My skivvies clearly in evidence beneath those tights? Or going au naturel and whatever I carried below my belt would be in clear view?
Either way was extremely embarrassing.
I decided to go WITH the skivvies… fully realizing tights look patently ridiculous with Hanes briefs underneath them.
So I stepped out into the hallway, where the teacher and wardrobe mistress were waiting to assess how well these tights fit me. Fortunately the hall was otherwise empty — no class changes for several more minutes. “This is embarrassing,” I said plaintively. “I don’t think anybody else in this school is supposed to know that I wear Size 30 Hanes.” [I had a slender waist back then.]
Well, the brief inspection – pun intended – complete, my teacher released me to return to the tiny room and change back into my jeans. Whew. And, yes — the tights did fit. I wore them for the Carnival Ball and for all of the play’s performances.
So, even though that’s not a malfunction per se, it surely represents an embarrassing wardrobe situation.
Have YOU ever had an embarrassing moment regarding your clothing?
[JLS # 291]