When I took Daughter shopping for her prom dress we found her dream gown at the first shop. It was a Cinderella gown, a Belle gown, a “puffy” gown. It was a beautiful deep, dusky pink, my girly girl’s favorite color. If she had gone straight to the fairy godmother of all godmothers and had been allowed to design her prom dress herself, it would have been exactly what we discovered hanging in the middle of the rack that day.
Picture this in deep, dark pink.
When my daughter was a little girl, she acquired every Princess gown on the market; not only all the Disney ones from the Disney store, but every Puffy dress that came her way. Her dance recital costumes and her puffy dresses from thrift stores were the bulk of it, but it did not stop there. Even mall boutiques and big department stores would occasionally have a timeless, fairylike dress hidden among the I’m-trying-to-look-sixteen-even-though-I’m-six collections.
Growing up, Daughter loved twirling around in these swirly, puffy dresses. ALL. THE. TIME.
Everyone’s home for dinner? Daughter would run to get “dressed.” Hub’s and my eyes would follow her scrambling up the stairs, then glance over each other in our shorts and T’s, shrug, and wonder from what storybook this child had been delivered. She played fairy princess constantly, sometimes with neighbor kids and sometimes by herself. The child swirled and pranced through her entire childhood.
The girl might have been seventeen for senior prom, but she had not outgrown her love for Cinderella styled gowns. She beamed at herself in front of the full length mirror and then surprised the holy crap out of me when she turned around and said,
It’s pretty but…no.
Why was she hesitating you might ask?
Well, the gown was over the budget we had discussed. I had just gone back to work after six months of cancer treatments and there were unpaid medical bills. And since Daughter hasn’t a selfish bone in her body (don’t think for a second that this is not exploited on a daily basis by Teen Boy) she said no thank-you.
Since I could not convince her it is sometimes OK to throw a bit of practicality out the back door, we put the dress on hold. Hubs and I then spent a week explaining to her that we really didn’t mind spending the money. In fact, we WANTED to pay the extra $100 so badly, she would be doing us a disservice by denying us the pleasure. How COULD she leave us with the burden of guilt heavily cloaked over our shoulders when she had this wonderful opportunity to lessen the weight of our burden?
That was our thinking and although we were trying to be funny and dramatic in our delivery, it was the truth. She’d been through so much that year. She had been my rock through every step of the cancer treatments. And… Did I mention that for her senior year we had pulled Daughter out of the private girl’s school she had been going to and put her in the public school where I worked? Yeah we did. She actually volunteered to do it to help us out. It was huge and a financial life saver, but oh the guilt.
So Daughter. What’s $100 when you not only saved us $1,000’s of dollars in tuition, you also never complained even once?
Once she acquiesced, the dress was all she could talk about. It was the most beautiful gown ever, better than all the dance costumes, the Disney costumes, the gowns she had designed in her head. She was ecstatic.
We felt like the best parents in the world to be able to put that smile on her face.
When we went back to buy the dress she brought a friend with her. Daughter tried on the gown to show her friend (and also so I could take pictures with my camera phone to send to aunties in the Mainland). She smiled like a goddess and asked her friend what she thought.
The girl pursed her lips and in the most hesitant of manners told my daughter she wasn’t sure if she should buy that dress. Because “puffy” dresses were not in style, that everyone else would have on “slinky” gowns.
Daughter’s smile disappeared and was replaced by a look of utter confusion.
I told Daughter if she felt like a million bucks in the dang thing, then who cares if it’s not like everyone else’s?
Her friend kept it up; how Daughter will feel out of place, that maybe at her all girls’ school it would have been OK, but that she would stand out like a sore thumb at a big public school prom. In order to pull it off, she would need to WANT TO BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION. And possibly not in a good way.
I told my daughter she should not care what people will think and to get what would make her happy.
Easy for me to say. I’m not a 17 year old girl at a new school.
In the end Daughter took the girl’s advice, saying to me that even though she loved the dress, it was more important to her to fit in, to feel comfortable, and to have fun. She bought a slinky black dress for half the price but instead of being pleased at saving the money, I felt a little bit bummed and tried not to show it.
I think that if she could have pretended to be six, she would have asked for the slinky gown AND the pink gown, the puffy gown only to play dress up in around the house.
The day of the prom was such a great day to have a daughter. Hair. Makeup. Photos. She looked like a movie star and we had mostly forgotten about the puffy pink Belle gown. I drove her over to a friend’s house where 16 of them were meeting to catch a limo ride together. All the parents were there with their cameras.
Daughter disappeared into the house while I met and made nice with the other parents. Finally, the mom of that house hollered at the bunch of prom goers to come out and pose in front of the limo for us.
The parents gathered in the front yard and readied their cameras like a pack of paparazzi.
The kids emerged single file looking awesome in their tuxedos and gowns, their flowers and smiles.
As my daughter emerged through the door, she had a funny look on her face, but before I had a second to wonder why, her friend from the shopping trip came sauntering out of the house behind her…
The fucking bitch was wearing the exact puffy Belle gown that she had talked my daughter out of - the only difference was that it was in Cinderella blue instead of dusky Princess pink.
I couldn’t fucking believe it. I wanted to tear the dress off the little cunt and then whip her with it. Sometimes acting civilized is more work than it is worth, but in the end I did not make a scene because I knew my Daughter would not want me to.
My daughter has a lot more class than I do. She shrugged it off, never said a thing, and went and had a great time. Then she politely never spoke to the girl again.
Me? I would have made sure I accidently spilled my whole dinner and a cup of coffee on the snake.
For more prom spins, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.