Exactly 11 years ago I was in Toronto to celebrate a friend’s milestone birthday. It was a beautifully designed celebration, akin to most fancy weddings. There were ice sculptures and carving stations. A martini bar separated the live music and dance floor from the full bar and the ladies room.

I knew where the ladies room was, because one of my girlfriends and I had gone in to freshen up, a few hours into the festivities. I was wearing a black halter tie dress which I loved. It tied just behind my neck and had a high, narrow waist. It was comfortable, pretty and perfect for a summer party.

During that ladies room visit, I’d asked my friend to check the back of my dress, the halter part, to make sure things were in order (women know what I am talking about) and I did a once over on her outfit as well. We’d been friends nearly four decades and here we were grown, smart, all dolled up and headed back into the glamorous evening.

Feeling confident, we went gliding back past the main and martini bars, beyond the ice sculpture and navigated our way through the crowd. I was leading the way, and found some space near a carving station where we would stand for a bit.

As soon as we stood still, and facing the full landscape of the event, a stranger approached me. I’d not seen her before but she was headed right for me. She looked at me with what I now recognize as pity, and whispered in my ear:

“I’m sorry to tell you this but your dress is tucked into your underpants.

I looked back with a defensive stare. “That’s impossible!” I replied annoyed and convicted.

Simultaneously, I moved my right hand around to my backside, to prove her wrong. To my horror, my hand was met with bare skin, and no dress covering it! “OMG! WHAT? OH NO! My friend just checked my dress in the ladies room! Impossible!” (Naturally SHE was subsequently absolved of future “wing woman” duties.)

It all happened pretty quickly. As I removed the black (usually flowing) dress material out of my underpants and tried to restore my honor, I looked around the room, and noticed that MANY faces were noticing me. Needless to say I was mortified. I was the source of many giggles that evening, and to this day, when I need a good laugh or a little humility, I have this gem of an experience etched in my memory to draw on.

For today’s post, I want to stress the sheer (if fleeting) contempt I had for this stranger, who was trying to help me. I never checked my facts, I just knew she was wrong! How many times do we do this in large and small ways on a daily basis?

We stay closed, sure of ourselves and almost offended that someone else might share an opinion, direction or suggestion different than the ones we are attached to. With super glue. This fixed mindset does not allow for growth of any kind nor do our minds expand when we are always certain our facts are the only right facts.

Next time you find yourself objecting to something shocking, in disbelief, pause and check your dress, and your facts before taking a stance you can’t back down from. You might just learn something.

And if appropriate, thank the kind soul for sharing the information.

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