A little black dress

It all began in December 1989.

I was in Wollongong visiting friends for New Year’s Eve. Brad was in Wollongong for Christmas, on leave from the Army. Wollongong is his home town. I had friends there who I had been visiting for a few years, and had often heard about this Army bloke named Brad, but had not met him.

I drove from Melbourne to Wollongong on my own, and by the time I arrived I was exhausted. Too tired to go out, but my girlfriend Tina convinced me that we should go out. So off to Dapto Leagues Club we headed. A group of friends had gathered there, and I was introduced to a tall, dark and handsome bloke named Brad. We hit it off straight away. We spent the whole night talking, and he asked me where I was going for New Year’s Eve. Tina and I were heading up to Darling Harbour in Sydney for the night. I’ll meet you there, he said.

The next day Tina and I boarded a bus to head for Sydney. I looked beautiful! I was wearing a gorgeous black halter-neck dress, black stockings, black patent leather court shoes, and black handbag (did I mention that I am a Greek chick from Melbourne?). We arrived in Sydney and decided that drinks were required, so off to the nearest bottle shop we headed. We didn’t have much money, so thought it made much better sense to buy a box of chateau collapsible; nothing but the best for these party gals.

We walked around Darling Harbour administering shots of wine to each other. No glasses required. We were getting a nice buzz on when a bloke came up to me with a tub of Tiger Balm ointment and proceeded to wipe the burning ointment all over my face and arms. He then casually walked off. My arms looked like I had been struck with a stick. Nothing a few more mouthfuls of wine won’t fix though. Tina and I continued on our merry way. Further into the afternoon the Tiger Balm welts were still there, and then I got hit with the contents of a cyloom stick. One of those glow in the dark sticks had been emptied all over me. Now I was burning and glowing at the same time.

I had to pee. I told Tina that I was going to wait in the conga line for the ladies toilet, shuffling closer and closer to the porcelain. A very tall woman with a deep voice was in the conga line behind me, and informed me that I had a hole in my stockings. She/he then stuck her finger in the hole and ripped the entire stocking leg off my body. I walked back to Tina; glowing, burning and one black stocking leg missing. In my drunkenness, I didn’t think to remove the other black stocking leg. One black leg. One pale Melbourne white leg.

The night dragged on. My patent leather court shoes were hurting my feet. The shoes came off and were being carried with the handbag and the bladder of the cask. The box had long ago got wet and finally came adrift. No shoes girl then stepped in glass and blood was pouring from my feet. I needed First Aid. I told Tina I would go looking for help, and asked her to stay put. And ‘glow in the dark-Tiger Balm burning-one stocking leg-bloody feet-girl’ got lost. It was 10 minutes to midnight. I was lost in a crowd of 70,000 people.

I did the only thing a girl would do. I cried. I looked up only to see Brad standing there. My knight in shining armour was there! He took in the whole situation without commenting on my appearance and found Tina within minutes! I was reunited with my friend and I was seeing the New Year in with Brad.

The countdown began. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….and he kissed me! And just as we were kissing I felt something happening to the back of my dress. A bloke had grabbed the bottom of my gorgeous halter-neck black dress and had ripped my dress straight up the back seam. My dress was hanging off me like a hospital gown. The back was completely open, exposing my control-top single-legged black pantyhose. Brad and Tina, being the good people they are, found a big black garbage bag and tied it around my waist. I was glad it was black, because the rest of my outfit was black.

Glow in the dark, Tiger Balm burns, one stocking leg, bleeding feet, bladder of chateau collapsible, dress ripped open, garbage bag tied around my waist.

And he still married me….

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