Now that I am divorced, I get invited to bunches of fancy parties. So many of them, in fact, that at each invitation I find myself belting out “Popular” from Wicked.

Who am I kidding? It’s actually a phenomenon I’ve nicknamed “The Inclusion Illusion” where the Hostess with the Boastess surrounds herself with Plain Janes (like me) so she’ll appear totally hot in next day Facebook photos.

I have six kids (and the body to prove it), so why shell out big bucks for extravagant formal apparel I will wear only once? But hold the credit card! I’ve found something on the Internet that changes everything.

An online Dress Rental concept promising to save me mega bucks. Look out unsuspecting gal pals — a new and improved “Glam Me” will be on your next guest list!

Here’s a description of the 5-star gown I have my eye on from a site called “Frock On the Clock.”

2014 black, 2 Sleeve, V-neck, leather trim, 4-inch hem, anti-lock zipper, 30 MPH, shows pride of ownership.

30 MPH? I email to ask if I’m borrowing a dress or leasing a Porsche? Their response explains “Males Per Hour” means average number of guys guaranteed to check you out.

Next dress . . .

2013 silver, fully loaded, 4-button closure, ample legroom, clutch, comes with GPS.

Okay, this is getting downright absurd. I send another message questioning the clutch terminology and receive pictures of a matching tiny, beaded purse. Well, okay. But a GPS?  (See I’m way ahead of you here, envisioning a dress that directs me toward employed single men who don’t snore.) Turns out GPS actually stands for “Gemstone Positioning System.” Tiny sensors beep when the correct combination of bling is achieved. I decide to go for it and fill out an application. It looked something like this:

 Welcome To Our Closet!

(Please answer carefully before proceeding to checkout)

Date the dress is required, including exact time of return?  I imagine having too much fun at a wedding, (not mine, of course!) and losing track of time. At the stroke of midnight, I stand in rags with a few mice scurrying about. Luckily I love pumpkin pie.

Please choose Pucci, Armani, Dolce, Garavani, Versace, Cavalli, Schiaparelli, Giannulli, Biagiotti or Lancetti? Pasta? No thanks. I gave up carbs to fit into this friggin dress.

Add on insurance? No! I’m actually hoping to collide into Mr. Wonderful or get rear-ended because I’m wearing your sexy dress. But I’ll sign up for a “Bump Her to Hump Her” warranty.

As long as we’re back to comparing dresses to cars, there’s a few more bells and whistles I’m gonna ask “Frock on the Clock” to throw in for me.

Fuel Injection System — Allows me to eat normally while waistline seams automatically (and discreetly) loosen.

No Side Airbags – No more sitting between boring tablemates who talk my ear off about the latest additions to their wine cellar and golf handicap.

No Rear Spoiler – My dress looks as stunning backing out as it did entering.

Roadside Assistance – A man carries me to the parking lot when my 4-inch stilettos start to pinch my feet.

No Blind Spots – All body defects easily detected in rearview mirror. No rude surprises in bathroom stalls, overhearing catty women dissing my full-throttle chassis.

Shock Absorbers – His jaw won’t drop when I admit to having six kids.

Cruise Control – The ability to circle the buffet, taking in all my choices before shouting, “Fill ‘er up!” to the crème brulle.

 VIN # — A system to track the history of this size 8 beaded Dior. Has someone gotten lucky in this dress or did they starve to death trying to zip it up? Was this the same gown worn to the Oscars by Jennifer Lawrence and now I’m destined to trip on the steps while accepting my award for most Original Writer?

 I’ll keep you posted on my adventures in the fashion rental world. Meanwhile I’m thinking of economizing further by leasing a pair of low mileage Jimmy Choo pumps, then shifting into overdrive with four spritzes of Channel No. 5 at the local carwash. They just opened “Rent-a-Scent” you know.

 So my dear Party Hostess, you better steer clear of me!  Because at your next black tie gala, I’ll be the guest who cruises in from the pages of Vogue. Or maybe just the party “crasher” from Motor Trend magazine.


Stephanie Lewis


Stephanie D. Lewis is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post and pens a personal humor blog called “Once Upon Your Prime” at  Her writing has also been featured at In The Powder Room, Better After 50 and Midlife Blvd. as well as print magazines and newspapers in San Diego.  She is a single mother of six who went through potty training and drivers training simultaneously, comparing and contrasting her kid’s many accidents!  Full time housekeeper?  No thanks, she needs a live-in psychiatrist.


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  1. Misty Mennon Reply

    Bumper to Humper! This was a really funny comparison to car rentals. I use Rent the Runway and it’s been fun to get expensive designer gowns.

  2. There goes M/s ‘Watch me’ Stephanie
    Resplendent in that gown by Versace
    The diamanté clutch firmly grasped
    And her Jimmy Choo evenly matched
    Even Cinderella would exchange her shoes
    The glass slipper not a patch on those Choos
    With her hair in a sparkling glitter
    Her eyelashes give a flirtatious flitter
    Doesn’t she look a stunning sight?
    Please , please M/s Jolie no cat fight!

    Go get the star treatment Stephanie and strut your stuff!

    • Well if this isn’t the most delightful and talented comment. I am cracking up to have my name rhymed with Versace! And the rest is just too cute! Thank you for your time and energy with this!!!

  3. Funny post. Clothes rental might be a good way for men to go too. At least this man.
    Too much eating at party buffets requires room to put gas in my tank.
    Of course I need a suit with a lot of trunk space to fit my spare tire. 🙂

  4. MPH stumped me as I tried to anticipate what would roll in next. I was expecting the GPS to be for the mother of the prom attender, or (since you mentioned leg room) a way to be sure that you can find where you bling got flinged.

    The bells and whistles were as brilliant as a fresh wax job — legs or automotive. I’d say that the airbags alone are worth whatever the price of the dress comes to with shipping, handling, tax, more handling, customizing, insurance, and a security deposit (for their security, not ours).

    I was going to rent a dress once (from a bricks-and-mortar store), for a retirement party. I found the greatest dress that I’d NEVER buy that was absolutely fun to try on, let alone wear, and the price tag was many times more than I’d pay for a dress that I could keep in the back of my closet for another Some Day and eventually resell. So, I found one not-nearly-as-nice at a thrift shop for pocket change. When I got to the party, I found that most of the women were wearing polyester pant suits! My pocket was delighted with my sensible choice, but I still dream of that dress…

    Great bio update 🙂

    • Handling, lots of handling! And automotive and leg waxing– oh goodness, I should’ve collaborated with you on this piece! Yes, we are picky about what hands in the dark crevices of out closets, aren’t we?? The Thrift store finds seem to be the answer 9 times out of 10…. Go vintage! Thanks for commenting.

  5. Marissa Bergen Reply

    My mind is running at like 100 miles per hour thinking up all the word plays I could make for you in your tantalizing little numbers, but sadly all references are to ‘gas’ so I think I’ll just go the no comment route on this one!

  6. That fuel injection system should be a must for all clothing. Brilliant.

    As for the MPH, you’d be pulled over for speeding.

  7. Barb Benton Reply

    I really like how you point out all those Italian designers have names like pasta. They REALLY do. This was really witty. I may look into dress rental now that it’s on my radar.

    • Okay Barb this is our new inside joke…. You are my alter ego. (Barb is a computerless neighbor who came by today so I forced her to leave me a comment!)

  8. There is no doubt you would look off the charts. A few misplaced or missing letters in the name of the rental company and you could be in for a whole other adventure. I like that warranty where can I apply. Like the spoiler comment as well which is handy if you like the rear entry. That won’t void the warranty will it? I am having a party pretty soon and I would like to suggest the Emperors dress. It is a simple cut and I guarantee for YOU it will show of your best qualities.

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