Thursday, May 12, 2016

Moby Dress — The Hunt For The Elusive White

My teenage daughter will graduate from high school one month from today. 

One. Month. From. Today.

(Can you tell that I'm freaking out?)

Between now and then, we have to negotiate Senior Project, Senior Prom, the Senior White Water Rafting Trip, Senior Banquet, Senior Awards, and then, finally, Graduation. We need to get her prom dress altered (temporarily shortened; it's  a loaner from dear family friends who are taller than my child). We need to schedule hair and nail and miscellaneous other appointments. We need to buy, borrow or in some other way secure the appropriate bling.

And, apparently, we need to find a white dress.

I questioned this at first. The "refrigerator letter" we received from the school (which was reinforced via email, snail-mail and a "mandatory meeting") encouraged girls to wear "dresses or skirts." Being a silk pants gal myself, this ruffled me a bit. Regardless, it didn't specify color — and that's saying something given that it was essentially five pages of very specific specifics. 

"Why white?" I asked, picturing all of the hardly ever or even never-worn dresses in her closet.

"Duh," she replied. "That's what graduation dresses are. White."

Okay, then.

You've probably already guessed that not one of the aforementioned hardly ever or even never-worn dresses in her closet is white. 

Of course not.

So, suddenly, we are on yet another mother-daughter quest. I readily agreed to this one, though, because I foresee a future in which our shopping trips will be few and far between. I cleared my schedule and we set out early. The plan was to hit the closest mall, find a dress and be home in time for her to drive a younger rider to the stable for afternoon lessons.

Our first stop was Burlington Coat Factory. (My sister, a New York-based actress, always does well there for audition clothes.) It's only a couple of miles past the mall, and I figured if we struck the jackpot, we might be able to avoid the mall altogether.

Sure enough, there were tons of white dresses! We found six or eight (or maybe it was ten) and she headed to the dressing room. The dresses were all similar, sleeveless, short, with A-line or "fit and flare" skirts, cotton knit with crocheted lace overlays.

I stood outside the dressing room and waited.

"Um ... Mom?"

"How is it?" I asked.

She reluctantly stepped out. "I look like Little House on the Prairie."

Now, I don't think she's ever seen Little House on the Prairie. I know she stopped reading the series about a quarter of the way through the first book, Little House in the Big Woods, because Pa butchered a pig.

Yet, the dress assessment was dead-on.

"Next!" I told her.

Unfortunately, the next one and the next — and the next, the next and next, next, next — were equally frumpy. I couldn't decide whether they were continuing the Ingalls Wilder look or if we had moved into Sister Wives territory. All she needed was taller hair so she could be closer to God.

We abandoned ship and went to the mall.

If nothing else, we were thorough and efficient. Macy's, American Eagle, J. Crew, Forever 21, Pac Sun, Hollister, Nordstrom, even J.C. Penney ... you name it, we hunted for that elusive white dress. Alas, no go. Most of them were just as frowsy as the first set. One or two were a little less shapeless, but that meant they were too tight to move.
So, we're doing what any self-respecting digital-age mother-daughter team would do. We're ordering white dresses online. Multiple white dresses. We'll return what doesn't work. 

But, the whole adventure made me wonder. Was this some sort of statement about young women's roles. Not virgin vs. whore so much. More like Laura Ingalls vs. Miley Cyrus. 

Neither really fit my daughter's personality.

And, I have no problem with that.

If you've enjoyed this post, I invite you to order the book Lovin' the Alien here.     


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