I have a lucky pair of pants.
As lucky pants go, this pair has seen better days. But they’re my confidence-boosting professional pants I wear to interviews and traffic court appearances, and I seriously love them. I bought them at Lane Bryant – where the fat girls frolic and acceptance is free! – 100 years (and two stone) ago. A button popped off the top soon after buying them, thanks to some lazy five-year old in a sweatshop who never learned to properly sew — and somehow, the zipper came unhinged a year after that – but I didn’t care. They were my lucky pants. I would just keep them fastened with duct tape and the power of love.
Fast forward to last year: I have an interview for a highly reputable, fashion-centered company, so the pants are unearthed from The Briny Deep, aka under my bed. It’s that or the Costco fleece pajama bottoms. I realize, an hour before needing to leave, that no amount of Harry Potter magic will keep my pants up, so my boyfriend makes a run to the store for safety pins. “Big ones,” I say, not realizing I’ll be the fleshy human pin cushion to whatever he brings home.
Fast forward to my interview: I’ll be shadowing someone for 30 minutes, and then have a 30-minute interview. As usual, I’ve panicked to the point of insanity because I think we’re going to be late. I’m allergic to lateness and would rather arrive four hours ahead of time than ninety seconds late. We make it with five minutes to spare, and I glance over at an ex-employer’s business, which is located right next door to where I’m interviewing. I think to myself, Bet I run into someone I don’t want to see from Over There, which is pretty much everyone.
The exact person I’d like to avoid is the first person I see when I walk in the room. What is she doing at the interview besides ruining my life? She works there, of course. She always had, I’d just forgotten. I keep my game face on but know the game has changed entirely. Now it’s not about putting my best foot forward, but avoiding the giant boot she could potentially put in my ass.
I sit down to job shadow with a really nice gal, and immediately hear a ping! ping! I freeze. And then all of a sudden: STAB. STAB. The safety pins are now undone, and wedged about a half-inch deep into my torso. Dear God, why are these called safety pins? I wonder. A pin pricks you like a knife, sometimes making you bleed. What’s so safe about that? ‘Metal harbingers of doom’ is what they should be called.
I’m trying not to poop on this lady’s chair from abject fear, the kind that’s fueled by very real scenarios of me standing up without any pants on. I can’t fasten them because I’m surrounded by people and short, open cubicles; I can’t hold them because it will look too weird; and there’s no handy professional seamstress within my reach. I start praying for the building next door to catch on fire; nothing fatal, just lots of billowing smoke and a distracting evacuation. I figure when people rush to look out the window, I’ll quickly staple my pants to the lumpiest parts of my body with the full knowledge they’ll be surgically removed later.
Thankfully, I was wearing underwear – not that I normally wouldn’t, but that would have been especially horrifying – because I jerry-rigged my pants to them before standing up, and they stayed pretty well. I felt like my own horse-and-buggy, hitched up to myself like that. On the bright side, the pants malfunction kept my interview anxiety in check, because I was silently picturing my half-naked self as a hilarious work story for 100+ strangers. Plus, the interview questions were a cake walk in comparison, minus the cake and exercise.
Fast forward to a three days later: I don’t live in a world where I could pass a credit check, a background check, and a consumer investigative report, so I was nice to everyone as though it would have an impact on the outcome. I made sandwiches for my boyfriend, did the dishes, rubbed his back, said hello to my nasty neighbor — each good deed dragging me closer to the prize, or so I secretly hoped. I spoke positively, using work jargon and imitating Pollyanna, just in case the HR team had wired the house to spy on me.
I didn’t get the job, and I don’t wear those pants anymore. But I do have two pin scars on my stomach — “wounds survived during interview battle” is how I describe them now — from when those lucky pants finally ran out of luck. With me in them.
Next time I’ll wear a dress.
Guest Author Bio
Snotty McSnotterson is part of a species of animal known taxonomically as Homo sapiens. See also: humorist, storyteller, cake maker, crazy person.
Snotty’s creed includes Arrested Development, ice cream, and words that start with Z, mostly because she doesn’t know what ‘creed’ actually means. She takes nothing more serious than the telling of a story; besides that, she takes nothing seriously.
Snotty McSnotterson lives in West Seattle with her lawyer and a part-time preteen. She is currently working on [talking about working on] a book.