The other day I decided to make a new recipe for spaghetti and clam sauce. I took 7-year-old Eli with me into our small village to get clams. I parked in front of the frozen yogurt store and saw my friend Callie* in the window. I went in to chat with her briefly and then headed to the fish store. After gabbing with the friendly guy behind the counter, I bought my clams. Next, I took Eli to the grocery store to get chicken nuggets, because he’s mildly allergic to shellfish and can’t eat the clams. I saw a few people I knew in the store, nabbed my nuggets, and left.
When I arrived home a few minutes later and walked into the house, my 10-year-old son, Aden, startled me, yelling, “MOM!”
“What?” I said defensively as he looked at me with mouth gaping open.
“What happened to your pants?” Aden cried.
“What do you mean?” said I, looking down at my blue cotton capri pants. They looked fine to me.
But Aden was pointing to my behind with wide eyes and a goofy grin. Now Eli was in on the action and started pointing too. I craned my neck around and saw what looked like a rip in my pants. I reached down to discover a giant gaping hole!
This wasn’t a split on the seam or small cut on the pocket. It was air conditioning. I had a tear in my trousers that put my derriere on display!
I don’t know how I didn’t notice it because now all I could feel was the air rushing through fabric to my skin. As my charming children burst into a fit of giggles, I ran in horror to the mirror to look up close.
Then I started to remember all the places I had visited in town, all the people I saw… and panicked about whether they had witnessed my wardrobe malfunction.
“Eli, did you see this hole when we are at Kings?!” I shrieked.
He couldn’t remember. First he said yes, then he said, no. I was comforted by his uncertainty and ran through all the possible ways the rip could have occurred.
I have a wire back support attached to the driver’s seat in my minivan. I convinced myself that the pants got caught on it as I was exiting the car. Surely I would have noticed this behemoth break in my britches if it happened in town.
Now, with a reasonable explanation to allay my fears, I proceeded to make my spaghetti and clams, still wearing my holey pants. I wanted Wilson to get the full effect of my folly when he got home. Just telling the story would not do, he needed the visual.
(I can’t tell you how much I loathe posting a fanny photo, but it really enhances the story.)
Meanwhile, at a party a few days later, I ran into Callie. Just to be sure of my theory, I casually asked her if she happened to notice a gap in my pants when I saw her at the yogurt store.
” Oh, yes! I did notice that, ” she said looking slightly worried.
I was mortified.
“Why didn’t you say something?” I implored, still in a mild state of shock. Now the truth hit me like an ice-cold bucket of water over the head. I really had pranced all over town, chatting it up with friends and strangers, with my haunches hanging out. There was no denying it.
The only thing to do was laugh.
Although my lining was ripped, I found some silver in it. I’m grateful I didn’t discover the split until I got home. How would I have found a graceful exit to any of the stores I visited that fateful day once humiliation set in? It was hot out. I had no sweatshirt to tie around my waist, no blouse to untuck.
And, my story has brought smiles to the faces of many. My friend, Rebecca, says she was washing dishes and found herself chuckling aloud at the thought of me and my holey pants trotting down Main Street, completely unaware. I’ve shared the story many times with friends who’ve howled with delight.
I like to think I’ve created my own Sisterhood of the Unraveling Pants.
Don’t leave me out here, practically naked, all alone. Tell me your most embarrassing story in the comments!
(*not her real name to protect the innocent….and/or guilty!)