Femme (Not Quite) Fatale

Law Firm 10 Columns, Law Firm 10, Lawyer

I’ve got a timely query, and I demand an answer.  I demand to know why I have been cursed with the following completely useless set of characteristics:  I’m too hot for the courtroom; I’m not hot enough in a bar.

I put a name to my conundrum on Sunday morning while I sat (thanks to the Cincinnati Bengals’ bye week) with little else to do than ponder the memories of the prior night’s Halloween experience.  As is the case in most American cities, Halloween transforms Chicago into a veritable coming out party for slut-utantes of all ages, shapes and sizes.  And my neighborhood is the epicenter.  It’s the Hôtel de Crillon for debuting all the exponential multiplications of slut-costume haute couture.

So, I figured that spending an evening sardonically mocking people with a few friends at a bar would be a nice boost to the old self-esteem.  Sounds pretty reasonable.  But unfortunately, I was visited instead by the ghosts of my failed Halloweens past.

I’m heaping the blame on two mid-twenty-somethings, whose costumes could best be described as Strawberry Whorecake and a Foot Locker Salesperson crossed with a Stripper.  As much as I wanted to shred them to bits, I couldn’t help but notice that both of them looked very (very!) good in their utterly ridiculous costumes.  Sure, they were forced to fend off douche-y guys masquerading (probably in their everyday clothes) as Jon Gosselin.  But they also seemed to be having a lot of luck with some pretty decent-appearing guys—and were being asked for their numbers.

This fish-in-a-barrel scene, which kept looking more and more promising for the slutty-costumed duo, called to mind the depressingly lackluster affect of my own past foray into this realm.  It was the year I was a first-year associate.  Back then, I hadn’t thought about dressing up for Halloween since grade school, when any hope of looking cute in a costume was annually dashed by my hideously (though, at the time, de rigueur) large glasses and the L.L.Bean parka my mom insisted I wear Trick-or-Treating.  Those two roadblocks ruined everything—except for Halloween 1990, when the glasses didn’t detract from my Dick Tracy getup, and the big, yellow rain slicker counted as both coat and costume.

Those experiences had mentally stymied me from dressing up through all of high school, college and law school.  Then suddenly, my first year in BigLaw, I felt reborn.  And bold.  I guess it was attributed to all the, er, attention I was suddenly getting from men, both at the office and while attending motion calls and status hearings in state court.  In hindsight, I should’ve realized that giving weight to the lascivious stares of sex-starved male attorneys was about as foolish as a new guy in prison mistaking the other inmates’ sexual advances as an indication that he could someday win the crown of Miss Tiffany Universe.

Armed with my newly buoyed sense of hotness, I had set about planning a low-maintenance slutty costume.  I already owned a youth-sized Carson Palmer jersey, so all I needed was a pair of those little, black cotton gym shorts from American Apparel, knee-high tube socks and some sort of teased pigtails—and voila!—slutty Carson Palmer, at your service.  To me, it seemed ingenious, cute, sexy, and destined to lead me to the man of my lonely, single-female-lawyer dreams.

Fast forward to the end of that fateful night.  First, picture a shot of Slutty Carson Palmer briefly making out with her dream guy (an i-banker dressed as Family Guy’s “Stewie”) on a back-corner couch at Beaumont’s.  Then cut to a shot of Slutty Carson Palmer moments later, abandoned outside the North Community Bank ATM vestibule at the corner of Halsted and Armitage.  Lest anyone be mistaken, please understand: The only thing that makes shameful behavior and rejection worse is a subsequent quasi-walk of shame in a half-heartedly slutty costume.

Remembering that night’s long walk, alone with my thoughts as I revisited my childhood Halloween baggage, the only distinction I see between myself and Saturday night’s more successfully slutty Strawberry Whorecake is that while I’m a law-firm 10, she’s a real-world 10.  In other words, I’m hot enough to stop a Redweld-toting, Men’s Wearhouse-clad schlump dead in his tracks when I sashay up to the bench in Judge White’s courtroom, but I’m lacking in the je ne sais quoi required to be a hit in a slutty costume on Lincoln Avenue.  Which totally sucks, and sheds even more light on why I’m still and always single.

Thanks a lot, stupid holiday, for staying true to form and delivering yet another bitter pill for me to swallow.  Helped out, of course, by the bag of fun-sized Snickers that I placed in a little bowl on my desk last week just as I was falling under the festive spell of the season and its beguiling, albeit deceptive, charms.

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