I am currently on the East coast with R as his +1 to the wedding of one of his very best friends. It's taken me 27.9 years, but I am finally attending a wedding with a boyfriend. In negative news, I'm down one killer "never have I ever."
Naturally this kind of event comes with its stresses. I'm meeting some of R's best friends for the very first time. R's parents are also attending the wedding. R and I are traveling clear across the country for three, jam-packed days of activity during which I'll have to drink, dance and stay awake. The number of costume changes required for this set of events numbers five, one of which is a bathing suit...that R's parents may or may not see me in. And I have no idea what late June in upstate New York feels like anymore.
All of that said, I had it under control. I was confident in my packing strategy and outfit decisions. I had recently tested pacing myself with vodka-only consumption at a dance party (with excellent results). And I just got one of those rod-only curling irons to achieve perfect, Kim Kardashian waves. I owned this wedding.
Untiiiil R made a suggestion that sent my T-minus-one-week-until-the-wedding into a tizzy:
- R: "I have to check my golf clubs so since I have to wait for baggage anyway, why don't we just pack in one, big suitcase instead of lugging our stuff around in two, separate carry-on's?"
- Me: We pack together in one suitcase?
- R: "Yeah. My black suitcase is huge. We can just...wait...why are you looking at me like that?....what's going on?...OH no...I know that face...I said something really wrong...what is it?...."
Unfortunately, R had a point. A. my suitcase is a disaster. The wheels are broken, and it isn't big enough for a get-away of this nature. B. He and I both know that lugging crap around an airport is among my least favorite things to do. Airports and I have a tentative relationship as is. And C. There will be plenty of room for both our things in one, large suitcase. The most logical thing to do would be pack together. We are going to the same place. We are a couple. What's the big deal?
In a phrase: freak flag exposure.
See, it is the goal of anyone in any relationship to minimize exposure of the other party to their various freak flags. This is not to say that secrets should be kept or lies told, it's just that no good can come from your boyfriend knowing you have 67 pair of shoes. If you have an addiction to shoe-shopping that is crippling your financial future, fess up. If you have three pair of brown boots in various styles because that is what the life of an aspiring writer living in West Hollywood requires, rotate with frequency so he won't notice them all and get on with your totally stable life.
Packing is among my freak flags. Well, it's really wardrobe prep for event-based activities, but when those activities take place a flight away it manifests as packing. Yes, this makes me shallow and silly and far too over-analytical about what certain outfits say about my person. No, it's not changing.
R was not asking me to place our collective things in a properly sized case so that we might travel with greater ease. He was asking me to reveal that, yes, I am packing three dresses and one skirt/top combo for the rehearsal dinner because I'm not sure how fancy it is, when this damn self-tanner will finally kick in, and if formal jumpsuits are happening on the East Coast.
"This will be easy! Look! I'll pack right now and show you how much room you'll have," R said as he took 2.5 minutes to throw one pair of shoes, four shirts and some brown pants into the bag while keeping his focus squarely on a basketball game. (Show off!)
Oh, space is not my issue, I told him. All of those necessary items listed above will be fold-rolled to fit perfectly inside one-half of a medium-sized suitcase. The issue, I thought to myself, is that my brain does that rehearsal dinner dress routine, and if I were R and I found that out I'd be wondering what else a brain like that is capable of doing.
I pride myself on being a low to mid-range maintenance woman. Fussy enough to take proper care of myself but not too fussy to drive an out-the-door-in-ten-minutes-man crazy. In my mind the fact that I must pack a hairdryer, diffuser attachment, straightener and curling iron keeps me squarely at the mid-range level. But what will R think when he finds a portable Sally Hansen Beauty supply up against his one, half-filled dop kit??
In the end I swallowed my shame and let my freak flag fly. I may or may not have double-rolled two shirts inside another shirt sos to take my visual number of shirts packed from four to two, but there was no hiding the four pair of shoes: "Yes, two black because if I end up going with the jump suit then it requires an espadrille, not a t-strap pump because T-strap pumps and formal jumpsuits aren't happening on either coast."
I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm crazy, but it appears he's letting this specific feature of my craziness fly un-criticized. I've decided this is either because he likes me regardless of what my brain does when packing or because he has an equally offensive freak flag factor up his sleeve that I'm dangerously close to exposing....