If only we all could be as gutsy as Erin Brockovich. When I saw the movie based on her life—perhaps you’ve heard of it—at a midnight screening in Springfield, Va., applause erupted, whoops were abundant, and, yes, I believe that tears were shed. The story of Brockovich—the mother, the lover, the trashily dressed activist—was not only powerful enough to touch the hearts of those Springfieldians at 2 a.m., but also spurred another hard-to-believe-but-goddamn-if-it-ain’t-true event: an Oscar nomination for the toothy Julia Roberts. Brockovich—who, when speaking to Roberts at the Golden Globes, said, “You got it so right: the struggle, the courage, the cleavage”—offers women an important lesson: You can change the world just as easily in 4-inch heels and a dress cut down to…here. Those lacy bras may itch and your short skirts might ride up while you’re sitting through an endless deposition, but dammit, we all know that looking good is half the battle. As far as respect—well, that can come later. (True story: I once wore a halter top to my on-campus office job on a sweltering summer day, only to have my loving mother call me a not-quite-right-yet-definitely-not-appreciated insult that rhymes with “expot” as I walked out the door. I’ve since avoided (1) any job that would require me to look “office-appropriate” and (2) my family.) Erin, some people just don’t understand, but my hat—and my high-collared nerd blouse—is off to you. Brockovich will speak at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 10, at the McLean Hilton, 7920 Jones Branch Drive, McLean. $140. (703) 281-2657. (Tricia Olszewski)