Lip Gloss, Spit And Toilet Paper: How To Solve Your Most Embarrassing Work Event Disasters
11:00 am, March 24th | by Amy Tennery
As you might have noticed, I work here at The Jane Dough. Before that, I worked as a trade reporter. This means lots of work events for me, lots of time on my feet and many, many personal disasters. What do I mean by “personal disaster?” Well, for starters, my clothes falling apart, my shoes rubbing my skin raw and my general grossness. You’re on your feet. Things happen.
And as much as I tried to prepare for the worst, problems often sneak up on me. During my early days I decided that I was a “genius” for packing dental floss for an all-day conference one time. In retrospect this seems hopelessly naive — and ill-prepared. I have had among the most embarrassing, bizarre gaffes you could imagine at fancy networking cocktail parties and award ceremonies. And I will now obliquely reference some of them for your benefit.
You need an arsenal to survive an all-day conference. But you don’t have one. So follow some of my weird, hopefully helpful tips for getting through any work event.
Problem: You’ve popped a button on your blouse.
What You Wish You Had: Another button, a safety pin.
What You Might Actually Have That Could Help You: Bobby-pins, a paperclip, hairspray.
First, head to the restroom and ask if anyone has a safety pin (they won’t) and then get down to business. I’ve found that, while conspicuous, bobby-pins are the most practical in this situation. While safety pins are more pliable, they’re not as long or as ‘claspy’ as a bobby-pin and are prone to slipping off (especially if you’re wearing a silk blouse — lord help you). Use the buttonhole, slide that bobby-pin into place and you’re good to go.
If don’t have either of those, a very temporary fix is hairspray. Liberally apply it (I mean coat that sucker) to the pieces of fabric you’d like to have stick together, compress and then blow on it until dry (yes, I’ve done this in public). The sticky nature of hairspray will hold you together for a little bit.
Problem: You have a blister/sore spot on your foot.
What You Wish You Had: A bandaid. My kingdom for a bandaid.
What You Might Actually Have That Could Help You: Lip gloss, toilet paper, spit.
High heels are the devil, so I rarely chance it at major work events. But on the rare occasions that I get too big for my britches (who do I think I am, Dame Judy Dench?), I almost always pay the price.
It is a universal truth that no one anywhere ever has a bandaid. I have no idea why because we almost always need them. In desperate situations. But I’ve jerry-rigged a solution that works.
(Full disclosure: This is about to get a little gross.)
Grab a square of toilet paper and fold it until there’s enough space to cover the afflicted area, with extra room on the sides where it will adhere. Spit on the part of the toilet paper that will touch the blister/raw spot, leaving the surrounding area dry. This will make it stick to your skin and the spit will naturally help disinfect your wound. Then, take some lip gloss — the stickier, the better. Apply that generously around the spit-spot, you gross, spiting person, and stick the square to your foot. The gloss will help keep the square in place and you should feel some temporary relief.
Note: I have not cleared this with a medical professional, so please don’t hold me to this. But any person who’s been in a high-heel-blister scenario knows this is dire stuff and, believe me, this works.
Problem: You smell.
What You Wish You Had: Deodorant.
What You Might Actually Have That Could Help You: Hand sanitizer.
Conventions, professional events — those places are lousy with hand sanitizer. It’s thankfully kind of trendy now. And what does hand sanitizer do? Kill bacteria. What makes you smell gross? Bacteria. Grab a bottle, run to the bathroom and do your thing. The plus side? It dries almost instantly, so your shirt won’t get wet. Boom. So fresh and clean.
Problem: Static cling.
What You Wish You Had: Bounce drier sheets.
What You Might Actually Have That Could Help You: Lip balm, hair spray.
Hairspray: Miracle product. A lot of people try sprinkling some water on the static, but that’s only a temporary fix (once it dries, you’re static-y again — not to mention that, until then, your clothes are wet). If you have hairspray, use that (it dries way faster than water). If not, turn to lip balm.
Take extreme caution with this. The tipping point between static-free clothing and a huge grease patch on your clothes is difficult to spot. Here goes: Take your stick of lipbalm (or pot of it, in which case be extra judicious) and rub it across your palms until they’re very lightly coated. Then put your hands on either side of the static-y fabric and pat (do not rub) the area. This should take the static down. (This works with static-y hair, also.)
Problem: You’ve forgotten the name of the person you just met.
What You Wish You Had: A brain.
What You Might Actually Have That Could Help You: A sense of humor?
I have no idea. You tell me.
Side note: It’s worth mentioning that most bartenders stock first aid kits — but caterers generally don’t. Weird, but it’s something I noticed this one time that my friend’s toenail fell off in Williamsburg. Long story. But, trust me, if you’re bleeding from your foot and your work event happens to be a happy hour, you’re in luck. Except for the part where you’re bleeding from your foot. Sorry about that.