What exactly is the appropriate dress code for getting the results of a biopsy?
In case you’re wondering, Miss Manners has not yet expounded on the topic, which, frankly, surprised me considering she once deemed “business casual” to be less of a dress code and more of an accounting practice accessorized by handcuffs.
Look. I understand that this question seems ridiculously inane, even for someone who is regularly consulted on matters of traditional, albeit arcane, fashion etiquette.
But somehow it seemed incredibly important to me last week to determine the appropriate attire for receiving important medical results.
Do you, for example, dress up for the occasion in symbolic – yet dignified -defiance of this distasteful task to which you have been summoned?
Or do you instead go super casual, a demonstration of sartorial ennui that you hope matches your attitude?
Both avenues reflect a “zero fucks to give” attitude, albeit in slightly different ways.
I agonized over it – even as I remained entirely unconcerned about the results of the tests themselves – vascillating between pearl necklace solemnity and multicolored infinity scarf insouciance.
I don’t know why it mattered to me, except in the obviously boring way of attempting to exert control over an uncontrollable situation. Or being able to channel my anxiety into a well-defined task with a beginning and an end.
This was not my first rodeo (recall my ridiculous insistence on wearing an orange dress to my dad’s funeral) so I knew exactly what was going on. And, if I’m being honest, I was a little disappointed that the psychological manifestation of my anxiety wasn’t a little more creative.
But the reality was I had already done what I do best – I took an awkward situation and made it my best friend.
It’s kind of my superpower.
I made everyone laugh. So loudly in fact I was told by the front desk they had never heard so much fun being had in the hospital.
I actually made real friends with my radiologist. If you’re reading this Dr. P, I love you man.
I was given an A and a gold star for following directions and being a great patient during all 4 sets of tests (yes of course I asked to be graded – don’t you know me?).
I had dominated every part of the situation I could in the only way that I know how: I killed it with kindness.
The only thing left in my control was what to wear to get the results.
I had a dry run last Tuesday when I chose a tasteful but nonchalant ensemble punctuated by a new orange necklace (naturally) to wear to my appointment. I walked out of the elevators in slow motion, with a badass sound track playing and a wind machine blowing my hair behind me.
Well, I mean, that’s what it felt like at least.
Right up until the moment I found out my appointment wasn’t actually until Thursday.
That’s when the music screeched to a halt, the wind machine stopped blowing and I realized I had spilled coffee on my white jeans. White jeans I was wearing before Memorial Day no less. (When I say nonchalant I mean it y’all) .
And that’s when I kind of lost my shit. Not because I was scared of test results. But because I flubbed the one thing I was responsible for – showing up.
It wasn’t the first time. I have a long history of doing stupid or awkward things in serious situations. Usually in a big way.
I routinely spill coffee on myself at the precise moment I am trying to be professional or impressive.
I accidentally laugh in the middle of solemn occasions like church services and rehearsal dinner blessings (sorry Miller and Jason).
I trip on air when I am mad and trying to be serious. Air.
This was the one time I thought I had my shit together. But I botched it. I slunk home, feeling embarrassed that my bravado had been so misplaced. And that stings. If I was delusional about being able to control any situation I wanted to, what else was I wrong about?
It’s not dramatic. It’s called issue spotting. It’s what lawyers do. It’s how we save your ass from making a bigger mistake than the one you’ve already made.
I woke up Thursday and walked to my closet still not knowing what the dress code was for important medical appointments.
I crossed my arms, probably a little too petulantly, and thought about the purpose of a dress code: It is to take the uncertainty out of any given situation and to put all the guests at ease.
So this is what I wore – the bracelet that Will gave me for my birthday.
It’s uneven. It’s loud. It’s orange and blue. It reminds me of everything that I love. Everything that is important. And everything that is not.
And that’s when it dawned on me – the difference between bravado and confidence.
Confidence isn’t what you wear or what you look like or what you say.
Confidence is just perspective.
It is knowing what really matters. And then acting accordingly.
Both biopsies came back clean. Everything is fine although I’m having surgery in July, just for fun. July 12th. (I wrote it down in 3 places this time). And in case you’re wondering, yes, I made two inappropriate boob jokes and, yes, I spilled coffee on myself.
That’s how I roll.
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