I was not in front of 35 million people, and Justin Timberlake wasn't mauling me, but I did have more of an audience than I would have liked when I experienced my own "wardrobe reveal" and "wardrobe malfunction."
The "reveal" took place in a Wal-Mart. On my lunch hour. Unlike Janet and Justin, I didn't need four rehearsals. I'd been to the craft department numerous times already. It was at the back of the store.
I was feeling especially swell and, like Ms. Jackson, I was singing - but only to myself. I'd worn a skirt that day, and pantyhose that had no runs. Just as Ms. Jackson had sashayed across the stage, I swayed down aisle after aisle, looking for those most magical of craft supplies: pipe cleaners.
I didn't notice any drafts.
Suddenly, I heard a "Ma'am? Excuse me - ma'am?" I turned to see a lady with a very concerned look on her face.
"Hello," I said, thinking perhaps this lady was lonely and wanted to make a new friend. That's when she said, "Do you know you have a 'whoosh'?"
"A whoosh? What's a whoosh?"
"Your skirt is tucked into the top of your pantyhose," she said.
I dropped my fistful of pipe cleaners and reached my hand behind me. Instead of feeling my skirt, I felt my nylon-covered thigh. I craned my neck around and noticed that a wad of my skirt was stuck into the top of my pantyhose. I was having a "wardrobe reveal."
Face redder than bad salmon, I rearranged my clothes and decided I could do without pipe cleaners.
A wardrobe "malfunction" is technically different from a wardrobe reveal. Here's an example of a wardrobe malfunction.
I'm a writer. It's a solitary profession often done in pajamas and mismatched outfits or, as in my case, braless.
On the occasion of receiving an assignment from a national publication, I decided to go out and celebrate. Humility cast aside, I was dying to tell a few strangers about my promotion into the ranks of national writer. So I popped out of my chair, grabbed my purse, and headed to a large local bookstore where I smugly walked up and down every aisle perusing books, magazines, calendars, and jigsaw puzzles.
I made a small purchase and, while at the checkout, told the cashier I was now writing for the Chicago Tribune. To my chagrin, she didn't give me much of a reaction until I was walking away, when I heard a snicker.
Feeling my oats and not yet ready to return to my computer, I decided to stop by the supermarket where I also walked up and down every aisle, filling my cart with celebratory Ding Dongs and Diet Coke.
As I stood in line at the checkout, a lady approached me. "Ma'am?" she said.
My heart skipped a beat, as the word "ma'am" conjured up a traumatic experience. I turned and looked at her. "Did you know you have something hanging from the back of your pants?" she said a tad slowly, as though she were talking to someone who might be one tool shy of a complete set.
I immediately turned my head around like a dog chasing its tail, reached behind me with my hand, and, lo and behold, grabbed my bra that had been hanging like a tail through two huge stores and countless aisles.
That was a wardrobe malfunction; said brassiere should have been worn inside my outfit, not outside. Of course it wasn't a lovely, dainty new bra, either.
Trying not to appear flummoxed, I pulled the bra free - it had been stuck to my Velcro pocket flap - wadded it into a ball, and put it in my purse. "Well," I said to the shocked lady, "some days are better than others."
So, as you can see, wardrobe reveals and malfunctions are not just figments of Janet and Justin's imaginations. Even the best of us can suffer from overexposure.