Everyone was decked out and looking their best. As for myself, I was wearing a pinstripe three-piece suit with a gray satin shirt with a similar-colored tie. I would describe my date, Maure’s dress, but I am simply not the best at doing such things. It was red and looked quite stunning on her.
I am digressing. Everyone was looking their best and for many of us, we spent a good amount of time and effort trying to figure out what would “clean us up” with the most pizzazz. Did we want to go with the standard blue shirt that I think every guy has? Did we want to go a bit more colorful with a stripped shirt? Pull off a little pink? Did we want to go for a completely new look than our previous attempts?
In preparing for such an occasion, it helps us to recall many things. Why do we get dressed up? One answer is a very blunt and very human reason for doing so: to attract the opposite sex. We may have our eyes on a particular girl or guy and we wish to put our best foot forward hoping that whatever we are wearing will push us into that realm within the other person’s mind. We may not have our eyes on anyone but look with anticipation with finding someone to get to know better. In either case, we dress to impress.
With dressing to impress, that also crosses beyond the sexual attraction angle. Impressing a possibly employer, a parent of a boyfriend/girlfriend, et al. are all situations where attraction is a motivating factor in looking our best.
There are also other reasons why we look past the jeans and t-shirt. Putting the extra effort into looking good reminds us of the importance of an occasion and to indicate our level of respect to the person or the event. Why dress up for Sunday Mass? It is to show our respect to God and the worship of him. Also, it reminds us of the importance of the act we’re committing. While there is nothing “wrong” with not looking your absolute best for church, there is something quite laudable about recalling to mind the importance of the event and our respect for it by taking the extra effort.
There is yet another reason that I think of when reflecting upon looking all GQ. We have mentioned attracting and impressing others as well as indicating our respect for something. Next, we dress up to indicate to ourselves the importance of our own person. To use the expression, we are all beautiful children of God and Temples of the Holy Spirit.
By ensuring we are looking our best, we are constantly reminding ourselves in a physical way of the higher supernatural truth that exists in all of us: We are something that has a dignity by simply existing.
Not to mention, it’s just fun to get all fancy every so often.
There are events in our lives that merit remembering for a long time to come. While we have a common calendar system that exist simply because it must, we have an internal calendar system that exists to help us remember what we have been through.
It is not too often that you hear, “We began dating on the 22nd of November and we broke up on the 7th of July.” More often than not, we hear something like “We began dating right after Semi-Formal and broke up right after the 4th of July barbeque.”
We use special events as milestones in our lives; some are rather important ones: marriage, graduation, birth of childern. Some are rather minor: “the last La Fiesta Party”, dances, initiations, retreats.
Tonight was my third Lambda Semi-Formal and thus my fifth Lambda dance. I have no clue how many dances I have been to since I started going to dances. The after-party was one of countless parties I’ve been to in the past two years. Yet, each event had a special character that seperated it from the others. While a party here and there merge together to one memory of a “La Fiesta Party” or of a Crossing Place Party or whatnot, many of them do stand out.
Whenever one of these events take place, after the music fades and all is stripped away, I cannot help but think of how great (or horrible) was the event. Even though the event was only six hours ago, I wish I could make better use of the memories to record the little things that will be forgotten. I might remember the event for decades to come, I know that I will wish I could remember the small things. The food that was served, what exactly she was wearing, the glimmer of the dress as she danced, the funny comments made and the moments that made me think. It will soon, as all things in the past, merge together into a hazy memory with holes here and there.
In either case, I think it is important to remember these events for what they are: milestones. It may not be a Hallmark occasion but it still an occasion to remember.
Thank you Maure and all those who were at Semi-Formal 2004 for making it a great night.