Teen Daughter Dilemma: Finding the Right Dress for the Ball

winter ball, dress, date

photo by Julie411me

Wow, the dress and shoes are gorgeous! Perfect!


Mom really does know best.

Moms of drama queen teenage daughters get ready for an afternoon laugh! I (heart) this story more than I can say. It's a journal post from Julie411me and let me tell you, she is a great writer. It's about the trials and tribulations a mom goes through simply trying to make her moody teen daughter happy--in this case, shopping for her Winter Ball dress. It totally gives me a flash of my own dramatic self as a teen and the many unnecessary episodes I had with my mom. The only way to enjoy this is in its entirety--it's long but totally worth the read--so here goes...



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.  

Dress 1:
Mom:  Oh, that one is pretty.  You've never had a red dress before.
Daughter:  It's kind of childish. I don't know.
Dress 2:
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 her bottom.
"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."
"You're welcome."
"I love you, ma."
"I love you too."
Have you had a similar dramatic episode with your teen daughter? Tell us about it!
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