I was 19 years old. I can tell you with certainty that I knew nothing about the real world. All I knew was the world I created where I could wear scarves around my waist to accessorize my outfit if I dern well wanted to, listen to Fall Out Boy and The All-American Rejects over and over, lay on a bed full of the same laundry pile for a week straight, and sneak into pubs.
I had not been on many dates at this point in my life, but I had been on a few. I wasn’t as outgoing as most of my friends, and as I like to put it, I was “raised under a rock” – I was sheltered. But I knew enough about dates to think I’d get dinner and probably a make-out sesh afterward. Big deal.
Aside from being sheltered, I also grew up pretty poor. This meant we shopped at Goodwill mostly. I was not a fashion go-getter. I guess I assumed because I didn’t have money to wear Timberlands, Birkenstocks, Abercrombie & Fitch and Polo that I was going to have to fudge my own style to express my freedom from name brands. An assumption I’d soon regret.
I had bought these heels…if you could call them that. They were maybe half-inch heals, black. And because they were really second-hand, the rubber had rubbed off the soles. But I didn’t have many options for shoes, so I decided they went with my outfit well enough. To be honest, I can’t remember anything else I wore this night. All I remember are these heels.
My date picked me up and took me to Bonefish Grill. How fancy. We ate and talked, like you would on a date. But there came a point during our dinner when I had to use the restroom. So, after informing my date I’d be back shortly, I headed to the ladies room.
I don’t know what kind of walks of shame you’ve ever walked, but I’m thinking this one takes the cake for me. Bonefish, I’m pretty sure, waxed their floors with a couple of buckets of Johnson Paste Wax before opening that night. Unfortunately for me, I also wore a pair of heels that had no slip-resistance whatsoever. It’s also a very important detail that it was a packed Friday night. Every table was full, as was the waitlist. This combination proved fatal to my date night because, on my way to the bathroom, I took a great fall.
I was walking past a table of 6, but it might as well had been a party of 45 because everyone in that section saw me fall. As I stepped forward, my heel just kept going and I ended up doing a split. On my way down, I grabbed onto the only thing near me, which was a table. On this table were food and drinks. Things spilled and people gasped.
I think a few people asked me if I was OK, but I didn’t have a sense of humor back then, so instead of trying to be quirky and laugh it off, I shamefully sped away to the bathroom.
I’m not sure how I got the courage to eventually emerge from my hole, but I did. The show must go on. I was even so brave to pretend nothing had happened. I took a look at my date’s face, and he didn’t seem to acknowledge that anything out of the ordinary had happened. I was in the clear.
Later that evening, after a couple of drinks, I admitted what had occurred, and began laughing about it. This is when he practically spit his drink out. He admitted to me he saw everything and couldn’t hold in his laughter anymore.
Even though I survived my great fall, (and we even went out on more dates) I think I left this one having learned a huge lesson.
I still shop for second-hand clothes. But when it comes to shoes, I check and double-check the slip-resistance on every pair.