The experience was at once frustrating and deflating. One of those any-fool-can-do-this-but-me kind of moments. I'd studied the instructions and illustrations, watched the video, and yet still could not make it work. It was just a piece of cloth, for cripes sake, and yet it elicited terrible statements from me — words so frothing and foul, Boomer took shelter in the closet beneath the stairs. Since my very first prom, I'd cinched my formal collars with a clip-on bow tie as I was ...

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