My secret weapons.

In twenty minutes, I will leave for my college's first feast of 2008, a Burns Night (Burns Eve One Night Early?) event to celebrate the birth of Scottish wunderpoet Robbie Burns. As I told you last night, this means that I am bringing the cost of my black evening gown down to £21/wear tonight. I tried to be cool and wait until 6:30 to start getting ready, but lo and behold, 6 p.m. found me in full preparation mode because this dress is simply. too. much. fun.

Especially now that I have a stick-on bra.

The only hang-up I had about the dress when I wore it a month ago (how is that possible?) was that I had utterly failed to find an appropriate foundation garment, even at that English headquarters of foundation garments, Marks and Spencer. But some canny web-surfing last weekend turned up (at M&S, of course) a curious contraption: a bra that tapes on with double-sided medical-grade tape, leaving it 1000% more comfortable than a regular strapless and with no back strap to show above the crazy-low back of this dress. What the hell, I thought. It's probably not going to work the way they claim, but it will be better than the crazy bra converter with which I made do last time around.

Now, it's still possible that (particularly during the raucous post-feast dancing part of the evening) I could lose this thing altogether, and if I do, I'm not quite sure where it will go. (You know that if it happens, you'll get that story tomorrow, because it's likely to involve some kind of acrobatic self-control.)

Which brings me to my other secret weapon: my Polish great-grandmother.

I give shout-outs to my great-grandmother on a semi-regular basis; lots of people know stories about her, particularly the one about how she told my mother that in her mind she was always 23, which made for a shock when she looked in the mirror at 90. "Martha," she'd say to herself, "what the hell happened to you?"

Not long after she'd moved to the big city, Detroit, from her family's farm in northern Michigan, she was walking down the street with her sister. Suddenly, she felt her petticoat give way. "My petticoat is falling off," she hissed to her sister. "What should I do?" "Step out of it and keep walking," her sister said. And so she did, leaving her petticoat behind her on some Detroit sidewalk.

My great-grandmother was that awesome.

She was also awesome enough that her favorite piece of love advice to my mother (besides "Don't have a June wedding; it's too hot to make love to a man in June") was "Stand still and let him chase you till you catch him."

This afternoon, I went out into town in search of a necklace to wear with this dress, since the one I bought last month managed to fall apart during the feast--and thus promptly went back to the store. I came up empty-handed, but on my way home, I realized that this was for the best: I'm wearing the one piece of jewelry I own that belonged to Bushia, a gold pendant with a flower and a tiny diamond in its center, on an extra-fine gold chain my mother picked out for it when she gave it to me years ago. It is, in many ways, the most beautiful piece of jewelry I own, and I don't wear it often because I usually wear silver. But tonight, I'm rocking gold and the only diamonds I own, and that means Bushia is my co-pilot. And that's a good thing for me, all around. Unless it means that someone's going to find a black stick-on bra abandoned on the dance floor later on.

You don't get any pictures of any of these stories tonight, for reasons that I believe are obvious.

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I have one post-feast word: hott. Even after a good two hours of dancing reels and strip-the-willows and waltzes (yup, we danced a waltz, and it was splendid indeed), this thing is still stuck like...well, like a bra.

And haggis? Yum.