Author: Rikki Endsley

Dressing the Part: My Slacks-and-Blouse Costume

Because I work at home, my everyday wardrobe is dominated by t-shirts and jeans. But a few times a year I travel to conferences for work, and each time I have to wear a costume: my professional one. To me, the words slacks and blouse are cringe-worthy. They aren’t as offensive as moist, because slacks and blouse are missing the dreaded oi combo, but I still feel compelled to say the words in a nasally voice, making it clear that these articles of clothing — if not the words themselves — are undesirable. A few years ago, as I squirmed uncomfortably in our conference booth, tugging at my collar and re-tucking my shirt, a male colleague pointed out that I wasn’t required to dress so formally. Many of the other conference attendees and exhibitors wore t-shirts, and wearing one of our company-branded short-sleeve shirts was always an option. I explained that I didn’t want anyone to see my tattoos, one of which now goes from my left shoulder to my elbow. “Why do you hide them?” …

How I Became an Empty Nester at 43

When I was busily raising a human being, I didn’t have time to consider she would eventually be raised. And here we are. My 16-year-old daughter, Cleo, will live in India for a year and attend her senior year of high school while staying with a host family. When she returns, Cleo will head off to college. Well-meaning friends and relatives ask me what I’m “going to do” when my daughter leaves. I’ll be alone for the first time since I married her father when I was 24. My answer: I don’t know. When Cleo was a newborn, her father and I moved to Kansas “temporarily” so that we could live near relatives and I could start my career. When I pictured my future, I saw myself standing in fields by a picturesque farm. I envisioned living in a cute little white house with a porch swing, big garden and a pygmy goat named Piglet. Instead, I’m divorced. To be exact, I’m twice divorced. (Even worse, I divorced not one, but two bald drummers.) And …