MENTOR: Amy Reichert
MENTEE: Kimberly Emerson
TITLE: PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE WOMAN
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
WORD COUNT: 93,000
To save the charity she loves, Charlotte agrees to fake a relationship with an image-challenged businessman, and finds real love in the lie.
Deep in the recesses of every woman’s closet, in between the business suit and the basic black, hangs the Perfectly Acceptable Dress.
It’s easy to spot. It’s not too short, it’s not too tight, it’s not too sheer and it’s usually floral. Long, short and three-quarter sleeve versions all exist. Necklines can be jewel, turtle, square, vee, or boat, but absolutely not plunging. The wearer will hear she looks “nice,” but at the end of the evening no one will remember exactly what she wore, if indeed they can remember her at all. The Perfectly Acceptable Dress exists for the purpose of offending no one.
This was the dress I wore to my best friend Dean Lytle’s engagement party, and on which I dropped a marinara sauce-laden meatball.
Like I didn’t feel awkward enough already. I looked around. Nobody noticed, thank goodness. Dean’s mother had invited over a hundred people to this celebration, and most of them showed up, but they clung to small groups strewn around the great room and back patio, engrossed in their own conversations. Plummeting meatballs may be messy, but they’re quiet. I put the fallen hors d’oeuvre on a discarded plate nearby. If I could just do something about the marinara stain, none of Dean’s guests would have to know I had all the grace of a spastic monkey.
I scrubbed the spot with my napkin. The stain increased in direct proportion to my effort.
That did it. When I got home, this dress would go to the fiery grave it deserved.