All Red and All Wrong

I knew something was wrong the moment we arrived at the Christmas party, but I didn’t know much else. I kind of knew the lady through a few common acquaintances, but it was her husband who had invited us to come. He was a client of ours, so Matt and I agreed.

We dressed appropriately, and I felt cute in my red sweater. Elegant, not too flashy. Client wear. Matt always looks handsome, but he’d even donned a suit coat for the party.

She’d told me not to bring anything, but I didn’t want to arrive empty-handed, so I picked up a gorgeous red poinsettia, the extra big kind, and off we went.

Our first clue that something was “off” should have been the time of the party. Noon. Our second clue would never have happened if we hadn’t arrived fifteen minutes early.

I didn’t want to be the first to arrive, so we parked under a shade tree and waited in the car until the time got closer. Car after car arrived for the party, but we started to notice a trend. Not a single man enterred the house.

Women in all shapes and sizes, extravagantly dressed, expensively dressed poured into the two-story mansion. Still, no men.

Matt checked his text messages from his client. I checked my messages from the wife. Nothing indicated a women’s only party.

“How about I’ll stay in the car, and you go in and check? If there are men, I’ll join you. No men, and call me when you’re ready.”

It felt a bit strange walking up to a relative stranger’s house without Matt when he was the one with the relationship, but I was so very glad I wasn’t empty handed. At least I came bearing a gift.

An older lady and I reached the door at the same time. I can talk to anyone, so I tried to strike up a conversation while we waited at the front door. She kept giving me the strangest looks. It turned out it was my hostess’s mother. I had no idea who she was, but she was clearly offended I didn’t know.

Strike One.

The door opened to a glamorously decorated home. Every fabric, every detail, every Christmasy detail perfectly planned and positioned and styled. It was stunning. It was white. All white.

I looked at my hostess, and she was dressed in all white. I looked more closely at her mother, who had the decency to wear cream in winter, but close enough to her daughter that it worked.

My client’s wife flinched when she saw me as if she’d forgotten to do something and my face reminded her. I hugged her anyway and thanked her for inviting me. But it was when I handed her the poinsettia that I realized where the real offense lay. She held it like it was poisoned, fingers extended, not letting it touch her body.

“Come in!” She said with her mouth, but her face said no thank you. and the further I walked into her house, the more I saw why. Every single thing in her house was white… except my Poinsettia. And me.

Of course that made me laugh. It really was terribly, horribly funny, and in a clear sign that the lady and I would never be friends, she didn’t even crack a smile. She carried my poor potted plant as if it had the plague and walked to an elaborate serving table where she dropped to her knees and hid my red flowers behind the thick, white, table trestle.

I have to admit, my mouth hung open for a full minute, and then I started to laugh. I couldn’t stop laughing. My poor plant. I wanted to rescue it, but it was a gift. I had to surrender it to it’s place of shame.

I only ended up staying for a little while (shocker), but I did see a few old friends that made the outing worth while.

I don’t really know why I wanted to share that story with you this Christmas. Maybe it’s something to do with finding humor if you find yourself the red plant in a room full of white this Christmas. Maybe it’s to encourage you not to lose your sense of humor when people don’t know what to do with you and try to make you feel small. It will save you from so much offense if you can laugh and forgive. Or maybe it’s so that you won’t get so wrapped up in your perfection that you forget that you can’t have a party without people.

Or come party at my house. The floor is a little sticky at the moment, the decor is imperfect but happy, but I promise you at least one good belly laugh, and that’s worth the price of admission. Just don’t bring me a poinsettia. I won’t hide it in the corner, but I always forget to water them. They’re way too fragile for me.

Love to you and yours this Christmas season,

Comments 3

  1. Dear Tracy! It’s such a joy to read you! You’re talented and have the gift of putting the appropriate words in every feeling you express through the written word. May you be extremely blessed through this wonderful endeavor as a writer! Much love, Alice

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