Bias at the Country Club

Recently I attended a beautiful wedding at the Silverado Country Club in the Napa Valley. The ceremony was held under the Oak trees near the golf course and the bride was gorgeous. Everyone was beautiful and happy and wearing their best. In my hand-me-down designer dress and borrowed designer shoes I looked like just another well heeled member of the club. No one could tell the only thing new was my undies, right?

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When I first arrived at the country club, I parked my old Honda next to BMW’s and Mercedes Benz and walked to the front door of the mansion/club house. Walking across the green lawn toward the tall front doors I felt several people staring at me. What, haven’t you ever seen a woman in flip flops and a “Drama Queen” apron? The staff directed me to the suit where the bride and her entourage were getting ready. As mom’s best friend, my job was to keep mom calm and hand her tissues as needed. I watched the bride and her bridesmaids be transformed by an army of professional stylists. Amidst the chaos, the bride sat happy and serene, completely in control of everything. Amazing this was the same girl I met when she was 13 and surly.

Sipping expensive champagne, I kept my apron on so I wouldn’t spill anything on my hand-me-down dress and felt utterly out of my element. What the hell was I doing there surrounded by such wealth? Their jewelry was real and their shoes cost more than my monthly grocery budget. Everyone was staring at me, looking down their noses, aware my necklace was from Cost-Plus.

Or were they?

Were these smiling women really treating me like “the help”? Or was I so insecure being in a world I couldn’t dream of affording I assumed they disliked me? Did I dislike them?

Actually, every single person there was kind and considerate. When I ran out of champagne three bridesmaids asked if I needed more. The bride and her new husband were happy to see me. Everyone from the staff to the wealthiest guest was genuinely thoughtful and interesting. Not a single person treated me with contempt. And I liked everyone I met.

I walked in to the Silverado Country club assuming I didn’t fit in and would be ignored. I decided before I arrived that the people would be rude and I’d have nothing in common. Instead I met interesting people who were there because they loved the bride and groom. Just like me. We cheered and toasted and laughed and told stories together. The only one who thought I wasn’t good enough to be there was me.

 

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