I’m very happy being a wallflower, unlike my father who believed you should leave a lasting impression wherever you went. And he did. Sitting around a table sipping coffee with his buddies or standing in a crowded reception, he was the one people remembered.
“Don’t just sit there. Say something,” he coached when I complained about an upcoming dinner party. “Tell a funny story about yourself. People love that.”
The night of the event, I put on my new dress, picked up my borrowed evening bag and teetered out the door on my uncomfortable high heels. Within minutes of our arrival, my husband was whisked away to talk to some Very Important People. I waited next to the bar. With flawless logic, I knocked back a few vodka tonics to calm my nerves.
The dinner bell chimed and I weaved my way through the crowd. I plopped down in the only empty seat at our table. While I concentrated on chasing a cherry tomato around my plate trying to stab it without it shooting across the table, the woman at the head of the table shared her opinion that the current generation of teenagers was too sexually aware.
“Don’t you agree?” she said.
There was an awkward pause at the table.
My husband poked me in the side and said, “Answer the Chief Justice, Honey.”
“Well, Chief…uh…Judge…uh…I couldn’t agree more,” I said. I cringed at the impression I was making, when my father’s advice to tell a funny story about myself, popped into my head.
I laid down my fork and cleared my throat.
“In fact, I didn’t know anything at all about sex when I was growing up,” I said, checking to make sure I had everyone’s attention. “When I was in high school, a secret survey was passed around ‘Are you a virgin? Yes ___ or No ___?’ I had no idea what a virgin was…” I paused for dramatic effect. “But, it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to be, so I wrote NO!”
Hey, my father’s not the only one in our family who can make a lasting impression.