Monday, June 15, 2015

Vanity Fair, Fake or False

There are always the reunion cliches.  The car commercial where the nerdy class member shows up at the reunion driving the latest high end sports car. The crowd parts, with a murmur, as he enters the room. The men are in envy and the women swoon (most of whom would never have given him the time day in high school). 

Or there is the former overweight ugly duckling, who thanks to the latest weight loss product, is shown looking in the mirror with great satisfaction as she walks out of her house. Her entrance into the high school gym under the "Welcome Back Class" banners also garners much attention, especially from her former classmates, many who have put on the familiar middle age pounds. Ah, we can all dream. 

I can remember a sorority reunion fifteen years after graduating college. Twenty five or so of my sorority sisters and I rented beach houses for a long weekend. I was looking forward to a fun time. One of my best friends and I were some of the first to show up. Since it was just us girls I kept it simple and packed my swim suit, shorts, t-shirts, and a sundress  - for the one dinner we planned to have at a local seafood place. Nothing fancy for a simple weekend at the beach with old friends. 

Or so I thought. The weekend was fun and I was amazed at how well the group had aged and prospered. Out of the 25 of us, only 3 had to work, all but two were married, one was a widow, and one was divorced. There was a plethora of kids aged from newborn to teenagers - of course most had pictures. The group as a whole was well tanned, fit and slim, and extremely well dressed. The parking lot was full of Mercedes, Lexuses, Infinities, Range Rovers and the like. 

The following week, I was on the phone with my friend doing a postmortem of the weekend. "Well I guess I did not make a very good impression with that group."

My friend just laughed. "I wouldn't say that. You realize most of those cars were rented for the weekend. Several of those girls had some "work" done last year as soon as we planned the reunion. I know for a fact 4 of them have been on starvation diets for months and I have never seen most of them dress like that. And I seriously doubt any of those tans came from anywhere but a tanning bed."

I was shocked. "Maybe I did not take the weekend seriously enough. I thought it was just a weekend at the beach with friends. I didn't get the memo I needed Hertz, a personal trainer, a stylist, and a plastic surgeon to prepare for it."

"Neither did I, but whatever. You and I had a good time and spent a lot less time, effort, and stress preparing for it."

Even so, I always wondered what my sisters went home from that weekend thinking about me. There I was in my t-shirt and shorts, pasty white skin, driving a Toyota and not thinking a thing about it - clueless to the parade of the pretension and vanity was all around me.

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