dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author

Harry Potter can keep his Invisibility Cloak. I’d rather be seen – and not stepped on.

I’m only 5 feet 2 inches tall, and I don’t make out well in crowds. I can’t see, and people tend to push me around. With my family leaving on Saturday for a vacation at Disney and Universal Studios, I am starting to plan my packing – and I well remember the lesson I learned on our last visit.

We visited Disney in 2005, and I recall that the first couple days of the trip were a misery to me. I was stepped on, pushed aside, elbowed out of the way – and mostly by men. Yes, men. It didn’t matter that I was obviously a mom with 2 small children in tow, and my husband’s presence didn’t help, either. It didn’t matter whether the man looked like a CEO on vacation with his own family or a Hell’s Angel who wandered into Disney by mistake – I was invisible.

I did try to make myself known. I squealed when they stepped on my feet. I protested when somebody pushed past me. “Excuse me!” or “Hey! Watch it!” At best, I would get a look of contempt: You are an obstacle in my way.

By the morning of the third day, as I tallied my bruises, I wondered: Is chivalry dead? Or only for the nondescript? I decided to try a little social experiment.

This is what I wore on the first day:

This is what I wore starting on Day Three:

Do you see the difference? Yeah, I bet you can. For the rest of the trip, men held doors open for me. They waved me ahead of them in line. They smiled at me. My husband, observing from a distance, laughed and laughed. He didn’t think it would make a difference (‘cause he likes me no matter what I’m wearing), but it did.

It’s a SAD, SAD testimony to life in America, folks. But I learned my lesson. In packing to face Disney this year, I am going to remember the Three C’s of Crowd Wear: Comfortable, Cool, and Cleavage.