The pantyhose had been an epiphany.
For years Liz had bought the kind that went to her knees. When you’re 5’3” and you weigh over two hundred pounds, the kind that go all the way up are next to impossible to get on. It had taken two years to lose more than half of that weight and discover the joy of wearing pantyhose that didn’t leave a crease around the bottom of her knees.
She stood in front of her closet in her bra and pantyhose and tried to decide what to wear. Her firm was interviewing for partnerships for the next few days; she knew from years of glowing reviews and stingy promotions that her appearance counted for more than her near-flawless record in the court room. The fact that her male counterparts could be the Pillsbury Doughboy incarnate and still be promoted was a double standard no one questioned.
Liz settled on a red skirt suit – it made her feel powerful. The skirt skimmed several inches above her knees, and the fitted jacket hugged curves instead of bulges. She’d recently graduated to stylish pumps from the flats her weight had required.
The mirror in her bathroom was a new addition as well. Before she’d lost the weight, she’d been happy with the small mirror on her medicine cabinet. She knew very well what the rest of her looked like; seeing it reflected a large mirror was not appealing.
She wasn’t sure about the hair. She’d always worn it long, but her stylist had recommended a short, choppy cut and Liz had agreed in a moment of excitement. Looking at it now, she had to admit it suited her thinner face and brought out the highlights in her sable hair. A little make-up to enhance her blue eyes, and she was ready to go.
“Liz! Wait up!”
Liz turned to see her assistant hurrying across the lobby to catch up, and paused at the door to the stairwell.
“Hang…on…” Carrie bent at the waist to catch her breath as Liz grinned.
“Do you need some water…oxygen?”
Carrie snorted and straightened. “Very funny! The partners are starting the interviews early. You’re meeting with Bryant in twenty minutes.”
For a moment Liz froze. All of her old insecurities rose like ghosts of cheeseburgers past, and she was once again the fat girl struggling to be taken seriously.
“Liz!” Carrie reached out and shook her arm.
“Yeah! No problem. I’ll meet you upstairs – just get my files together for me,” she called back as she started up the stairwell.
“I can’t believe you’re still gonna take the stairs!” Carrie called after her, and laughed as Liz flashed another grin back at her.
The elevators being what they were, she beat her assistant to her office and had time to drop her briefcase behind her tidy desk and sit for a few minutes to catch her breath.
An hour later, Liz calmly walked back into her office, Carrie close behind.
Liz sank into her chair and stared at her assistant.
“The honorable James Bryant and the esteemed Marcus Black would like to express their regret…”
Carrie sucked in a shocked breath and dropped into the facing chair.
“…that they have not recognized my potential before now!” she finished gleefully.
Carrie leaned forward and smacked Liz on the arm. “Don’t do that to me!”
“Was it the Klein case? Is that what finally did it?”
Liz shook her head. “No.”
The two women shared a look over the desk, and then spoke together, “It was the legs.”
This post is a response to the latest prompt from The Red Dress Club to write about physical beauty. Thank you for stopping by – comments and critiques are always welcome!