Sunday, September 18, 2011

What Would You Do?

The Situation:
After church today, Jeff and I (with Sam, of course) went to MensWearhouse so that he could get fitted for a tuxedo for his brother's wedding.  When we got there, the "tuxedo fitter" (I don't know what I should call her) was already working with two men, so she asked us to have a seat and wait for a few minutes.  Sam was asleep, and Jeff went to the restroom - so with little else to keep my attention, I took to simply awkwardly staring watching her interact with the two guys before us (like you wouldn't have done the same thing).

She was a cute girl, and I noticed her dress right away because it reminded me of one I have that I haven't pulled out since pregnancy (note to self).  I also noticed - to my horror - that one of the buttons on her dress had come undone right below her belly button (my eye-level) and was gaping open. 

The Internal Dialogue:

I would want someone to tell me if I was exposed.  (Trust me, I think about this a lot... It is frightening being a woman and standing in front of teenagers all day.)

I should probably just mind my own business. 

But, what kind-of woman would I be if I just left her in this shop with all these men and her dress gaping open?

I will embarrass Jeff if I say something.

Jeff wouldn't understand... It's like "woman code."  I have to tell her.

But how???

The Big Mouth:
She motioned to the men to follow her back to the fitting rooms and I saw my opportunity to "save the day" fading... So, with no real planning on my part, I just blurted out: "Ashley, I'm sorry, one of your buttons is unbuttoned on your dress." (Note: I only knew her name because I heard her tell the other men... We did not know each other.)

The Reaction:
I'd imagine she blushed, but I don't know because I couldn't look her in the eye.  But, she looked down at it, said that it "just [wouldn't] stay buttoned" like she knew it was that way all along (which, kind-of made it awkward for both of us), and then walked away saying to the guys - "Well, that was weird."

...And I was the mortified one.

For the next ten minutes, I just sat there sweating and re-playing the scene in my mind.

In my defense, I really had her best intentions in mind.  I genuinely tried to be discreet (although I don't think I was successful in this because I panicked) and kind.  I truly would have wanted someone to tell me - even if it was embarrassing, at least I wouldn't notice it in the bathroom later and wonder how many people had seen my belly all day.

As it turned out, she didn't end up helping us - but a co-worker instead.  Coincidence? Probably not.

When we got in the car, Jeff told me all the things I did wrong... Mainly, "calling her out in front of a bunch of 'dudes.'"

Now we are home, and I feel terrible about it, and I want to know...

What would you do?

Do you tell someone when they have food in their teeth or toilet paper stuck to their shoe?  And, maybe even more importantly, would you want someone to tell YOU if the roles were reversed.

What's done is done now.  I can't change it; and, I'm fairly certain going back in and apologizing would only make matters worse. But, I can learn for next time...


  1. lol.... well, I would have told her. I once was in Dillards, saw a woman who's pants zipper was completely unzipped, turned around, essentially chased her down, and told her. She was grateful (I think).... so.... you had to! Although I must say I did laugh at how you ended up telling her - but what else were you to do? :)

  2. I think you did the right thing! The only other way I might have handled it differently was to call her name, then walk up and tell her quitely, instead of just saying it in front of the men.

    This actually reminds me of a situation I was in. (sorry for the novel I'm about to write!) My husband and I were eating at Chipotle and were doing some people watching. (it's a build your own burrito place where you walk down the line and order in case you're not familiar with it) This mom and daughter were going through and ordering and the daughter had on EXTREMELY short shorts, like with each side step she took I could see her cheeks hanging out! I was so embarrassed for the girl and figured she had rolled up her shorts without her mom knowing. I'm talking with my husband about it and I'm like, "If I can see her cheeks, MEN can see her cheeks, and if I were a mom, I would want someone to tell me about it.. it's our job to protect our daughters and watch their wardrobes!"

    So, after building up my courage, I send the hubby out to the car and approach the mom, who is now sitting with several other friends and their daughters are at a table next to them. I say hi, sorry to interrupt, just wanted you to know I saw this, I figured you probably didn't know her shorts were that short and I thought you might want to know.. (thinking I am doing such a nice thing! ha!) The mom's kinda laugh and they're like - Oh! We just came from gymnastics so that's why she's in those shorts... I guess we just don't even notice their clothes any more! Oh well!

    I felt 1. super dumb because the mom didn't even care that her daughters shorts were that short and 2. super angry that a mom doesn't even care that her 12 yr old daughter's cheeks are hanging out in a public place! Plus, the girl had on an ankle brace and didn't even look like she could do any gymnastics with it on!

    So, all that to say, sometimes people just don't care about stuff like that like they should care! I think you did the right thing by telling the girl and the girl probably wasn't too worried about the modesty issue or embarrassment of her belly hanging out around men since she knew it pops open yet still chose to wear it to work, where she obviously interacts with a lot of men.

    Keep speaking up with things like that... eventually someone will appreciate it!

  3. I would have told her but then again, I ALWAYS get in trouble for not knowing when to keep my mouth shut so I'm probably a bad person to give advice on the matter!

  4. I would have told her! I would definitely want someone to do the same thing for me. Don't worry about it - you did the right thing!

  5. Okay it's people like that that make good hearted, kind people like you too embarrassed to say anything. THEN some of us perfectly innocent people walk around all day with spinach in our teeth or our skirt tucked in our underwear and nobody says anything! Ahem.

    You absolutely did the right thing. Any sane person would appreciate what you did, in front of dudes or not.

  6. I would have told her too! Reminds me of the time we were at our Church small group Christmas dinner and I can out of the bathroom with my skirt tucked into my red and green striped THONG! There are no words for the embarrassment when the pastors wife informed me but oh... I can't IMAGINE how much worse it would have been if she hadn't!

  7. So I was thinking about this when my students were working on their assignments today (is that weird?) Any way, I think the only thing that would have weirded me out (if I were her) is that you used her name. It always freaks me out when people call me by my name and I don't know them (like when I had to wear a name tag at work when I was in college.) Other than that, I would have done the same thing!

  8. I think it's always best to tell someone something like this in a whisper, but I would most definitely want to be told! Once someone told me my zipper was down, and it was embarrassing because they said it when I was on a sort-of group date, so I would have appreciated a whisper - but I probably would have panicked to see my opportunity fading and done the same thing as you! I think she could have handled it a bit more graciously.

  9. This reminds me of the other weekend, when Caleb and I were talking to his aunt and uncle and I noticed that Caleb's zipper was ALL the way down. I was consumed by the situation and could hardly contain my news, but waited until they were distracted by something else and quietly whispered to Caleb "Your zipper is down". Of course, that was an easier situation because it was my husband. For the "tuxedo fitter", I really think I wouldn't have said anything at all(unless the "right moment" had occurred). You did fine, and trust me, she was WAY more mortified than you!


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