When my sister invited me to go to a White House Christmas party as her date, the first thing I wished I could do was travel back in time and spend about six months living in one of those M.C. Escher paintings – the ones with the endless staircases. Because while I have no empathy for people who voluntarily use Stairmasters at the gym, if one lived in an M.C. Escher painting, she would have no choice but to tighten that ass.
But I live in Astoria and not in a psychedelic painting, and was left with two options: stay home and feel like a loser, or go to the party and still feel like a loser, but one who gets to drink a lot of champagne and meet President Obama.
I decided that the second option was marginally better, although I worried about the supposed “highlight” of the evening – an official picture taken with the president and first lady. I mean, that sort of picture isn’t something you hide in a drawer; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime highlight, a Christmas card. And it would also serve as a lifetime reminder of the 30 lbs I gained after a tough year.
I don’t know how exactly it happened. Maybe it was the anticipation of getting out of New York City and away from my problems for a couple days. Or maybe it was when I realized that I needed to purchase a meet the president dress.
But somewhere along the line, I realized there was nothing I could do. There was no miracle diet, no suck-it-in corset, no magical amulet that would make me lose my pygmy in time. So the only thing to do was embrace my body the way it was.
Instead of trying to hide my new-found curves in something black, or cover myself up in something tent-like and shapeless, I decided to wear something that expressed my inner bombshell. I got a pin-up girl style red strapless number that worked The Twins (that’s what I call my boobs) overtime. I painted my nails and lips red.
And then came the moment I’d been dreading: the picture. After being ushered through a line, we got about two minutes with the president and first lady. It was surreal. President Obama hugged me. And just as we were coming out of that hug, the photographer snapped the picture. I look a little dazzled (I was). And I have my back to both my sister and Michelle Obama.
It isn’t my best moment in a photograph. But it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
As we were walking away, Michelle Obama said “You girls are gorgeous!”
I don’t know if she meant it, but it’s really gone to my pygmy goat’s head.
You can read more from Sherry Parnes on her blog.