My daughter and I visited a very trendy shop near the college
campus. She loves their clothing and funky accessories. When I was
young and still had a cute shape, I would have loved this store too.
But I can't tell her that. I would ruin it for her. And it's a nice
shop and the prices are surprisingly good. So, I kept quiet.
She wanted me to come with her to "check out this dress." Which is code for, "I hope you offer to pay." The
dress is for the "Winter Ball" to be held at her school this Saturday.
The attire is semi-formal. So, she is looking for a dressy dress, but
not a long one.
She quickly scooped up the dress she wanted, plus a few more, just
to be sure she didn't miss anything good during her pre-purchase visit
(ie: penniless), two days prior.
As I longed for the good old days when I could wear the cute little
tops and skirts that decorated the walls of the boutique, she
quickly changed from one dress to another, coming out of the dressing
room to show me each dress with a twirl and some comments. She was
saving the best for last.
Mom: Oh, that one is pretty. You've never had a red dress before.
Daughter: It's kind of childish. I don't know.
Mom: That one is great! It fits perfectly too.
Daughter: It's too much like the one I had last year.
Mom: What? That one was purple. This is black with gold sparkly trim.
Daughter, making scrunch face: Eh.
Dresses 3 through 8:
They were all rejects; too big, too small, too plain, too drab, too casual, etc.
Dress number 9:
This is the dress that we originally came to see and, I knew, the
one she'd hoped to buy, all along. The dressing room clicked open
and her hand emerged, motioning me to come and see. I peeked inside
for my first good look at THE dress.
The black dress was made from a clingy fabric that mimicked a
sequined-look. It was very, very short, an aspect that was enhanced by
the long legs of her six-foot-tall frame. It had a halter top and a
dangerously low-cut ,open back that was cut to also bare triangles of
skin around to the front of the dress, just below the bra line.
In short (no pun intended), it was too revealing for a high school
dance. I noted that, unlike her modeling of the other dresses, she did
not step out of the dressing room to twirl around.
With my head still inside the dressing room and my ample backside
hanging out, the argument began. We used our special whisper-yelling,
reserved for fights that are conducted in public places or that have to
do with visiting grandmothers or potential boyfriends while they are
actually in the house.
"I don't think this is the right dress for you."
"But I'm a senior!" (This has become a trite all-purpose whine.)
"It's...it's just too much."
"What? Money? It's only $22.00!" She looked at me as if I were insane.
"No, it's too much skin. There's too much going on. It's just not...good."
She grunted at me and rolled her eyes. "I love it. It fits
perfectly." she said, tugging at the hemline to pull it back down over
"It's just too revealing. It's not right for high school and I am not buying it."
"Everyone wears dresses like this. What's wrong with it?" she was
whispering louder now. For good measure, she added an exaggerated
eyeball roll to show me I was an idiot.
"Look, I could deal with the short length. I could deal with the
bare shoulders. I could deal with the open back. I could maybe even
deal with the cut outs on the sides. I could deal with any one or
maybe even two of these...features. But all of it put together is
just too much."
"Tons of prom dresses have these cut outs. It's no big deal!"
She mustered up the extra-frustrated sigh that I've used since before
she was born. She used it as if to say, "You are so stupid and
unreasonable. And old."
"It is a big deal when it has all this going on at once. I cannot and will not buy you this dress."
She gives me that "I hate you" look. We all know that look. Our daughters think they invented it. We think we invented it. Our
mothers think they invented it. It must be genetic.
She slammed the dressing room door shut and changed into her own
clothes while I looked at shoes. They really had some great
markdowns. Clearly they were still getting rid of their holiday shoes
and there was a really pretty pair of strappy gold sandals with
rhinestone trim, galore, originally $98.00 marked down to $22.00.
(What was it about that $22 price point that this store loved so
much?) I wondered if she would like them. If I pointed them out,
she probably would not. I kept quiet. She emerged from the dressing
room, dresses in hand, and the cashier came to help her.
"You didn't like them?" she asked.
My daughter grunted. Then she asked if she could see dress 1 and
2 again. She shot me a slightly less dirty look, (remember she still
needs me to pay) and went back to the dressing room. She tried on and
re-rejected the red dress. Then she changed into the black and gold
dress. It really looked the best on her. I could tell by the amount
of time she inspected it from all angles that it was growing on her. Again, I kept quiet.
"Mom, I like this one, but I don't have any black shoes." She was
on her best behavior, for obvious reasons. I asked her if gold would
work and showed her the gold ones on the rack. We discussed them way
more than any $22.00 shoes deserve to be discussed and she finally
decided to try them on. By some miracle, size 10 was still in stock. (Those of you who wear size ten know how hard they are to find!) We
joked about her height in them which was around 6 foot 2 as she fell in
love with the shoes. And that made her like the black and gold dress
even more. Hallelujah, the skanky dress was forgotten.
As we were walking to the car, she apologized to me. "I'm sorry,
Mom, for acting up like that. I guess I did feel a little embarrassed
in it. Thank you."
"I love you, ma."
"I love you too."
Have you had a similar dramatic episode with your teen daughter? Tell us about it!