So some of you already know that I went – somewhat reluctantly, on my first cruise, ever. My reluctance will be shared in a future blog, but right now I want to focus on cruising’s “Formal Nights”.
First of all, because of my obstinate nature, I don’t like to be told when and how I should dress formal. Moreover, there was no official holiday or a birthday celebration to justify it. Out of the blue, someone decides for you that you should wear very fancy clothes! And, equally infuriating, is that I truly hate wearing formal outfits!
It began when I had children.
Before Children (BC), I didn’t mind wearing nice or fancy clothes. But, After Children (AC), it really was like clockwork – and all you mothers will identify with me: Here I am, ready for work in a clean outfit … looking reasonably professional … and out of nowhere, someone would barf on my shoulder. Now that’ll quickly cure you of wanting to wear your very best. It definitely cured me.
Then came all my years as a working professional, with endless consideration of what’s proper enough. Not too fancy, not too simple, not too tight, no cleavage, not too short and not too, too anything..
So finally I had an appropriate wardrobe that I would circulate through. And when my kids were still young, I would put my professional clothes on a second before I had to leave the house, and run like hell before they needed something.
And then there’s Los Angeles, the city which I maligned on another blog, but I actually love as well. One of the reasons I love LA is that informality is the norm, and the fact is that Jeans are fine almost anywhere and anytime. Jeans and t-shirts make me feel comfortable and un-constricted. Do I look best in them? Probably not! But, I’m used to coming home from work and immediately changing my work clothes, the ones referred to in the paragraph above.
And then there’s age. I think that with age there’s less of a need to impress, and more emphasis on comfort, and maybe feeling like you’ve already paid your dues. At least I feel that way! I’ve done the tight skirts, the high heels, the matching purse and shoes, all the makeup and the hairspray. And between you and me: It’s too much work. Been there, done that!
Bottom Line: I feel that I’m honoring my profession by dressing with care when I go to my office. I feel that I care for myself, by changing these clothes when I’m not there.
So obviously, when I was on my first cruise that was supposed to be my vacation, only to realize (a) we have formal nights and (b) there was an expectation that I will wear my finest … well, I had a fit. Well, maybe not a fit, but it sent me into a grouchy mood. Not a vacation mood.
To add insult to injury, we had THREE formal nights and I felt disenchanted after the first one, which made me tired only from wearing pantyhose and putting on eyeliner – and it’s not that the eyeliner is the issue, it’s remembering to take it off when you’re tired!
So, I decided to improvise and to stick to all-black and scarfs.
Speaking of fashion, in my opinion the caliber of clothing (with some notable exceptions) was pretty pathetic. There was a plethora of ridiculous combinations, and fashion-felonies at every turn. But one feels one must try to keep up, so it was still an imposition.
But hey, this was my first cruise and I’ve survived the learning curve! Next time it’ll be one formal night for me, my friends; and I’ll be the one in all black, and a nice scarf.
What, you may ask, about the other Formal Nights?
Buffet, or maybe room service, thank you very much.