Thanks to Patrick for the suggestion.
There are so many inopportune moments in my life to write about. Like the time my boob popped out of my swimsuit (doesn't every girl have one of those stories?), or the time I peed my pantyhose (yep, I didn't even have pants on to soak the mess up) at the Trocadero subway station in Paris. But I suppose the most embarrassing moment I had was in either 7th or 8th grade during art class.
Mrs. Pettitt was a freebird kind of art teacher, I guess they all are in some sense. If art teachers go through some kind of testing on how to be funky and "out there" in college, then Mrs. Pettitt passed with flying colors. Big frizzy brown hair and glasses with eclectic neck chains, she had a style that was all her own. Flowing skirts, oversized sweaters and caftans were in heavy rotation in Mrs. Pettitt's closet, despite what all the other teachers wore to that junior high school outside Cincinnati. Nary a Talbots suit or Ann Taylor dress crossed that art room threshold... No no no... Mrs. Pettitt was an eccentric kind of lady, firmly planted in a style all her own.
Junior high was more of a a no-man's-land where my style proclivities were concerned. Remember, this was circa 1990-91, and it was every young girls job to single handedly keep the hair spray manufacturing business afloat. I had the mile high bangs above my brow... almost a wall of protection against the insults that flew about like little molecules in the air; plentiful and impossible to avoid. My wardrobe in that era was very Blossom, with the occasional baggy pants or off the shoulder shirt. Charms and buttons everywhere.
Well, one day, I decided to appease my mother's wishes and dress a little more preppie. I had on this cute, red wool blazer with an embroidered crest on the pocket, and a pleated, above-the-knee red gingham skirt. Very cute, even by today's standards. The pleats gave the skirt a little swish as I walked and I thought the whole ensemble was awesome (funny how I still use that word that was so popular way back when).
I had to go to Art the same day I wore this cute little outfit. You remember the days in Art Class, right? The smocks or aprons, paint everywhere... the one place where kids were allowed to get down and dirty. I was always a very passionate artist where paints and clay were concerned, and several fights with my mom about ruined clothes were enough conditioning for me to know I'd need to wear my apron in class.
It was a rather plain apron. Gray in color with long strings in the back, probably a mix of cotton and polyester: a nice substantial material to protect my smart blazer and skirt. I tied the apron around me with care, making sure I was covered from the jewel tone tempera paints thoughtfully mixed in my partitioned paint dish.
The funny thing with aprons, and how they tie in the back, is how they can shift your clothing in the back. Shirts can bunch, pants can cinch and unfortunately, skirts can blouse up.
Remember that cute little gingham skirt I told you about? Well, it got bunched up in the ties, and pretty soon my little white panties were in plain view, for all the world to see. I remember this big blond boy named Gary shouting aloud in class "I can see Kate's underwear! Kate's underwear is showing!".
That moment was like when someone quickly pulls the needle off a record player, with the song screeching to a halt... Everyone freezing to catch my moment of weakness. I was so mortified that my ass was hanging out. I quickly pulled my skirt down and went on my way.
My junior high school years were pretty painful due to a situation I may talk about sometime, and this little undie baring incident was like pouring salt in an already huge wound.
But as I've gotten older, I've chalked that moment up as another laugh about my childhood. And I've learned that these days, men love it when any of your underwear is showing.
Must be why I had that flashing streak in college.