The next Monday Susan Ellen had to get a chicken pox vaccination so I didn’t need to come in.
However I did get a call from Ted.
“Hi Becky. Susan Ellen called and wants to know if you can dress better when you come in tomorrow.”
I was stunned. Dress better? I had chosen the best of the best of the closet and it wasn’t good enough? Not only was this request insulting to my sense of style, it was class-ist and somehow anti-semitic. I’m not sure how yet. It just is.
“Yeah, Becky, if you could dress more professional that would be great because Susan Ellen is expecting some high profile clients.”
The next day I put on a dress and a cardigan.
The two and a half hour drive to Susan Ellen’s house was so uncomfortable with the panty hose I was wearing.
I arrived to her place and she said, “Oh my God! You look so cute! But, you know, you can wear jeans.”
“But Ted called me-“
“Oh, right. Yeah, by better, I mean, like you know, trendy.”
She looked away and changed the conversation.
Towards the end of the Susan Ellen tenure, we went to lunch and she confessed something to me.
“Do you remember when Ted called you about dressing better?”
“Yeah,” I said, still confused about the request.
“Well, I had asked you to dress better because that shirt you wore on the first day you worked for me was huge on you and every time you bent over, I could see down your shirt.”
The day I wore that outfit, Susan Ellen had me sitting on her couch leaning over her hip, low coffee table to type. If Mother Superior were typing like that you would be able to see her cleavage.
“So, anyway, I called Ted because I didn’t know what to do. You were such a sweet girl but I didn’t want to insult you. But, I didn’t want my husband walking in and seeing you dressed like that.”
Did she just turn me into a homewrecker? Or was she convinced that the presence of my cleavage would cause her husband to actually leave the basement for once and we would run off together where he would hunt squirrel and I would bake it for dinner?
Most importantly, she made me seem like a slutty dresser in front of the temp agency. Me! No wonder I was getting no other jobs. The temp agency didn’t want Jersey trash representing them at some topnotch production company. I would never have imagined I would be the inappropriate dresser. I used to wear the same sweaters the teachers wore when I was in high school! (Excuse me for looking really good in knit-sweaters with bunnies wearing Santa Clause hats!)