Pearls and Muscle Cars

I spent the first 13 years of my life growing up literally in the middle of an orchard in eastern Washington State. I was around nature worshippers, migrant workers, and Germans who wore lederhosen in the Bavarian sister city Leavenworth, a couple miles from my house. 

My family moved to eastern Tennessee when I started high school and they remain there to this day. There, I was around guys similar to the Duck Dynasty boys or something out of Varsity Blues. Whereas some of the girls went on to be college cheerleaders, models and debutantes. I'd say overall, we were more red-neck than Southern Belle, but there was a bit of both.


And now I've lived in DC for the last 10+ years, where the currency is power and connections, and everyone drives a Mercedes, Audi, or BMW and likely has a career in government/politics. 


I'm a hybrid of all three places now. 

Being in DC, particularly in the Republican circles, means I'm often around what my friend R and I refer to as: Pearls.


A Pearl: A girl with perfectly coifed hair, preppy clothes, and a constant string of pearls. You can't walk around Capitol Hill or the White House without running into a quintessential Pearl. They know which fork to use at dinner, and they would never do something like Tough Mudder for fun.

Nothing's wrong with being a Pearl, some are very nice, and occasionally I play the part of a Pearl myself. And you can look and act like a Pearl, but still have...edges. It's the real Pearls that don't appear to have edges, that I have a feeling might be secretly horrified by many things about me, such as the fact that:

-I like dirt
-I sang in a rock and roll cover band
-I shoot guns
and
-I like Muscle Cars

I also really enjoy irreverent humor, sarcasm, and I flaunt my embarrassing moments like some people flaunt Ivy League degrees (because, come on, wouldn't you rather hear about someone splitting their pants open than hear about someone's Ph.D from Yale?...)

And I also find it fun to display the Washington Hippie or Tennessee Redneck sides of myself in doses, along with the more-formal Pearl side. Which can backfire or be hilarious -like the time I showed up to a fancy Department of Homeland Security event and had my car valeted in front of the nice hotel where it was being held. My car? A Mustang. As I was standing around with former political officials, one of them spotted the car off to the side and blurts out in disbelief "who brought the muscle car?!?"

When I proudly informed him it was mine, we both giggled for awhile.

Life doesn't have to be so serious, you guys.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I attended a recruitment event for The Junior League. And it was in Georgetown, (AKA the preppiest part of D.C.) which made me feel like I probably needed to channel my inner-Pearl. 

I brought reinforcements.

My friend Cherilyn is also from the south and also assumed we should lean debutant-esque for the day. And as she gets in my car, she's on the phone with another friend and laughingly explains that, she's now "sitting in a Mustang...in pearls." and we both giggle picturing ourselves pulling up to the Junior League in this car.


We arrive at the event, and at one point I glance over and notice not one, but two Louis Vuitton bags down the row I'm standing in:



Ah, Georgetown...

Cherilyn and I start walking around and looking at the building, and we glance out the front window and see the Juicy Couture store across the street. Cherilyn jokes that she bets no one in this room shops at Juicy -

"well, except you..." she clarifies, since I had just exclaimed that I wanted to stop in there for perfume on the way home....

We start giggling and feeling out of place again. 

But things turned around and we met a lot of lovely, nice ladies at the event. We even met one girl we instantly clicked with because -- 

she had edges.

She irreverently informed us of how she accidentally ended up with her husband:

"Well, I first met him in a bar. I thought he was married, he thought I was white...."

She also immediately blurted out that she thought we were going to a strip club when we mentioned "Frozen Hot Chocolate" (as in, the dessert we planned to consume at Serendipity after this event.)

We love her.


We eventually leave and continue our Debutante Day in Georgetown by strolling in a paper store. Yet, instead of fancy, calligraphied note cards that a self-respecting Pearl would send out to thank someone for attending her political fundraising gala, we end up with?

A package of pop rocks and a Star Wars thumb-wrestling kit.


We are sucking at being Pearls right now.

Later, as we were strolling by the pub where JFK proposed to Jackie (The Pearl), I realize I'm outside an iconic Georgetown establishment, wearing appropriate attire, but holding Pop Rocks and a Juicy Couture bag. I feel like this is the perfect diagram of my personal life in D.C.:


One part Pearl; nine parts Hot Mess.

We jump back in my Mustang and head back home to take off our lady dresses and get in sweat pants. I love playing Georgetown for a time, but then I need to go makeup-less and laugh until I snort unattractively at something. 

As we ended our day, we crossed the bridge leading out of Georgetown and came across an accident where two cars had hit each other.

...They were both BMWs.