The Layered Look Only Works When You Wear Layers.


Very honored that this piece was selected as one of BlogHer's Voices of the Year for 2015.

Very honored that this piece was selected as one of BlogHer’s Voices of the Year for 2015.

The butt of a backpacked dad poked into me, uncomfortably adjacent to my face. The taekwondo studio was packed, the stench of unwashed feet drifting over the waiting parents. I mentally high fived myself for snagging one of the four coveted comfy chairs.

It was roasting. I turned to the mom next to me who, like most mothers of kindergartners, could have been my daughter. She was crammed knees up on a barely padded backless bench. “Is it super-hot in here this week or am I just having a hot flash?” I asked.

She laughed uncomfortably. “I don’t know. This is our first week,” she said, as though if she had been there the previous week she could have made an intelligent judgment about whether the studio’s or my body’s temperature had increased. The young mother stared straight ahead, pretending she could see her kid punching and kicking through the crowd, actively disengaging from me.

“Weird,” I thought. “I wonder why she doesn’t want to talk about my hot flash?”

I tore off my coat, simultaneously cracking my head into her shoulder. I attempted to swivel around to press my cheek against the window behind me, but Backpack Dad’s girth blocked me. I scanned the room for an escape route, but the pulsing mob of parents obstructed all means of ingress and egress. I tugged my phone out of my pocket and waved it in front of my face like a fan. I was burning up.

This called for drastic action.

This called for clothing removal.

I was wearing the stylish outfit I’ve been wearing every day this winter: Leggings, whatever t-shirt I step on when I get out of bed, and a $15 snap-up Target flannel shirt. I love that damn shirt. Easy on, easy off. The perfect layer when the temperature rises unexpectedly.

I gripped a shirttail in each hand and yanked them apart. With the rat-a-tat of an automatic weapon, the snaps flew open.

And I realized, too late, that I had not donned my usual t-shirt layer.

A Dramatic Reenactment (rated G)


Just at that second, class ended. Backpack Dad bent down to find his kid’s shoes. The sea of parents obscuring my view suddenly parted.

And there I sat, essentially topless, except for a nude-colored bra. Which, from afar, looks just like nudity.

The young mother next to me let out a gasp. Parents and instructors averted their eyes. Children stared.

On the plus side, I was much cooler.


About Cindy Reed

I hate pants.
This entry was posted in Inappropriate Behavior, Posts about Underwear and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to The Layered Look Only Works When You Wear Layers.

  1. I can’t stop watching the dramatic reenactment.

  2. wcdameron says:

    The reenactment was the piece de resistance of this riotous post. If I were there, I probably would have high-fived you.

  3. Cris says:

    When I was a kid I went on my first overnight trip with my class. A whole week at a nature camp. The first night, I changed into my brand new PJs, tan with white snowflakes and found out that the “tan” was so close to my own skin tone that I looked like I was naked from across the room.

    I think you should reframe that nude bra as a tan bikini top and just go with it. 😀

  4. Sarah Buchanan says:

    I was once at my sister-in-law’s house in the summer. Her kids, our kids and a bunch of neighbor kids were doing acrobatics on the lawn while parents chatted in the driveway. I suddenly got the urge to prove to the young-uns that I, too, was flexible and could do a cart wheel. So, after announcing my intentions in my loudest Tiede voice (which, as you recall is about as quiet as a 747 taking off), I did my cart wheel, my shirt flew up, and I flashed my sister-in-law’s entire neighborhood. You and I can share the special bonding that comes with embarrassing your child on that extra special level. Go us!

  5. I am laughing so hard I’m practically in tears. Thank you for the video as well. Happy New Year!

  6. Nancy says:

    Oh my god I cannot stop laughing. Thank you so much for sharing (and for not wearing a tee shirt, and for being both hilarious and an amazing writer). 🙂

  7. Stacie says:

    Love the reenactment! You look so so mad, ha! Isn’t perimenopause fun?

  8. outlawmama says:

    I love you for all of this, but mostly for using “ingress” and “egress.”

  9. OMG…..hysterical!!! You made my year and it’s only the 6th!!! 😀

  10. Vanessa D. says:

    Hilarious. All of my layers are usually pull-over layers, so as long as I remembered the fabric softener I don’t have to worry much about revealing my jiggly spots.

  11. Did you ever read The Heart of Darkness?
    “The horror! The horror!”
    Anyway, that’s what this post made me think of.

  12. erinific says:

    I never watch videos that are embedded in blog posts (I’m super lazy), but something told me to click on that play button and I am now eternally grateful that I did. Amazingly awkward story and fantastic reenactment to go with it!

  13. When my temperature skyrockets at the gym and I mention I’m having a hot flash — all these young men turn and stare. Maybe they are waiting for me to rip my shirt open? You are too funny.

  14. Mama Kautz says:

    I would have chatted about your hot flash….we could have compared notes.

  15. jenbrunett says:

    omg! ha ha ha ha

  16. Smart to go for the G version of the re-enactment. The studios just won’t release anything rated NC-17. But you could include a Director’s Cut in the DVD version.

  17. kimpugliano says:

    You are forever changing my life. Seriously. I have the underwear (on) to prove it. I’ll be 43 in a few weeks. My BFF is a month older than me and in menopause. I understand (but haven’t actually asked my psych) menopause is worse in people with bipolar.


  18. Omg! So funny and the re-enactment is priceless!

  19. Lala Rukh says:

    Lol That was hilarious !! I can’t stop watching the video Lol Amazing post 😛

  20. Calamity Rae says:

    haaaa! Okay, first, you get a really loud HELL YES for making that hysterical video. Your face, in the static view before hitting play, is priceless. But secondly – hot flashes. OMG. Now typically, I should not be old enough to know what hot flashes feel like except I’m going through surgical menopause due to a full hysterectomy a few years ago and let me tell you….one will do just about anything to cool down before that ratatat noise from your flannel is from an ACTUAL automatic weapon because you’re so darned hot that you feel like you’re in a constant state of RAGE. I used to travel with several gel ice packs. Until I got hip to that “cool frog” thing that comes in a water bottle.

  21. Rachel says:

    You are officially my favorite person (other than my little Ethiopian – who I have to say is my favorite because she’s my daughter and all). I feel so normal and among my peers when I read your blog. Please never stop.

  22. Karen says:

    The dramatic reenactment – priceless!

  23. When I Blink says:

    OMG – your face, and your fedora, and your snap-shirt… the dramatic re-enactment is killing me. Priceless.

  24. Turn that frown upside down! (And wear pasties next time.)

  25. Samantha S says:

    YES! I think the reenactment needs a fist throwdown and walkout at the end. Just sayin’. That’s some hardcore stuff right there. Awesome!

  26. I am sitting at my desk at work, fist-pumping your dramatic reenactment. I want to watch it over and over again. And, as someone who has had hot flashes for her entire life with absolutely no explanation, I want to say, I totally get it.

  27. Oh wow, just wow. I love how the expression on your face doesn’t change in the video at all. Did the new mom next to you ever return? Or perhaps I should ask, did you? Hahaha

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  29. hahaha!
    so now your someone who avoids wearing shirts as well. hahaha

  30. Marcy says:

    Loved the reenactment (and the hot flash repartee).

  31. mjaj74 says:

    This. Is. Awesome.

  32. This is hilarious and horrifying. I have this nightmare often. Of course, now that you’ve done it and shared it with the world, you pretty much lave a license to do this over and over again anytime you get a hot flash. You’ve broken the seal of embarrassment. For that I’m jealous.

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  34. Christine says:

    Cindy! This is hysterical, and mostly because I could see myself doing exactly the same thing. God, I love your sense of humor. I can’t believe I didn’t know you when you wrote this. I love that we’ve been thrown together. 🙂

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