One of the biggest advantages of living on a small tropical island is that you don’t have to worry about getting dressed up to the nines whenever you go out for the evening. Though on the other hand, one of the biggest disadvantages is that when that rare opportunity to get a little fancy does present itself, you are no longer prepared for such an occasion and are left completely blind-sided.
I was recently invited to a fundraising event at Government House. My initial reaction was one of pure excitement – Finally! A chance to wear a dress! – though it was soon followed by the crushing realisation that I didn’t actually have a dress to wear, let alone the high heels that I would need to go with it.
Luckily, a fellow island girl helped me out and graciously opened up her wardrobe to me. We spent the evening getting ready together, which felt just as magical as when I was 8 years old, playing dress-up and reveling in all the pretty colours and fabrics to choose from – though now, the dress-up game was even more fun, as it was paired with cocktails.
Arriving at the event, I must say we felt pretty glamorous, stalking through in our heels with our dresses billowing out behind us. At least that’s how it felt anyway, though it’s more likely that the Beyonce-esque scene in my head was brought on by the aforementioned pre-drinks (an integral part of getting ready, obviously) and the fact that it’s been a very long time since I’ve gone anywhere in anything but flip flops.
Unfortunately, that sophisticated feeling I was enjoying courtesy of my towering heels, immaculate makeup, and figure-hugging dress was rather short-lived. Within 10 minutes of arrival, I could start to feel the foundation on my face slowly melting in the heat. A Caribbean night of zero breeze combined with a whole lot of fairy lights = inferno conditions! The beads of sweat trickling down my neck were deftly frizzing up my straightened hair in a hurry. But before I could panic, a quick glance around the room confirmed that at least we were all in this together. Every direction I looked, I saw women using their raffle tickets in desperation as makeshift fans, while the gents in their stuffy shirts and trousers could be found swiftly downing one cool drink after another.
After giving in and wiping away most of the makeup that was determinedly headed South in an effort to find cooler pastures, I powered on through the night, not about to let the island humidity ruin my big dress-up opportunity. I was having a great time making the rounds talking to friends and even having a little dance when disaster struck. That long forgotten feeling was back – slowly but surely, I could sense a blister forming on my heel thanks to my fancy shoes.
I was determined to not join the ranks of ladies who had already thrown in the towel and were sitting on the wall in their flip flops. For just awhile longer, I attempted to ignore it, thinking, how bad could it be? It’s been so long since I’ve worn any kind of footwear capable of inflicting pain on my feet, that I didn’t realize at the time just how stupid this line of thinking was.
At last came the time for me to admit defeat. As I removed those instruments of torture from my feet, I renewed my commitment to the flip flop, grateful for my island lifestyle that allows them as everyday wear. I vowed that I would never wear heels again. Well, alright… at least not until the next time I get the chance to play dress-up.
Want to stay connected to the Land of Coconuts?
We'll send you island mail, fresh from the tropics each week.