My daughter will be confirmed in the Catholic Church next month. This is a huge milestone in her path to adulthood. It means she is freely choosing to become a full member of the Catholic church. It also means she has to buy a new dress. For some folks, this might not be a big deal. Perhaps the 13 year old girl in your life is perfectly happy to wear whatever delightful frock you choose for her.
And then there is my child. She is a beautiful girl. I know we all think that about our daughters, but mine is certainly very attractive. And her figure is a clothing designers dream. Anything she puts on looks like it was made just for her. The fashion world is her oyster so why does she gravitate towards the Hannah the Hooker line? Yesterday we went to the mall and we walked for two hours! We went into every single store that sold anything remotely dressy. And without fail, every time, she gravitated toward the most inappropriate thing in the store and begged me for it.
She and I did not share a unified ideal of the perfect dress. I pictured something demure and feminine, befitting a bride of Christ. She pictured something racy and glamorous, perfect for an acceptance speech at the MTV video awards. The middle ground between the visions was non existent. At Jessica McClintock, surrounded by lacy, white frocks, she tried on a dazzling, extremely tight, gold sheath, cut to the navel and shirred up the sides. And then wondered why I didn’t think it was right for Confirmation! I have always wanted to be featured in a “People” magazine story, but not as the mother of the girl who wore a racy dress to Confirmation and caused the Bishop to keel over on the altar and die. In my mind, I pictured the scene unfolding: MA’s name is called; she steps forward and announces her saint name (Teresa, the Little Flower who probably never thought of wearing a gold dress); the bishop looks at my daughter; his eyes glaze over; his staff clatters to the ground, followed by his body; and my daughter not only doesn’t receive Confirmation, she is excommunicated from the church and given the name Jezebel and stoned. Needless to say, I stood my ground and nixed the gold dress.
At the next store, it was a strapless, shirred royal blue number cut high up the leg. I had a pounding headache. Even the friend she brought along was rolling her eyes, wondering what MA was thinking. I nixed the blue dress too. This caused her great pain because she had developed a bond with the dress. That is exactly what she told me and every dress thereafter was measured against the blue dress and found lacking. We went to a trendy store aimed at girls her age and found the perfect dress. It was a simple white sundress with tiny pastel flowers on the hem and pink straps. Logan and I both exclaimed in delight, convinced we had found the perfect dress. MA however, did not agree. She dug in her heels and refused to try it on but I finally bribed her into it.
When she came out of the dressing room, she had a pout on her face. She hunched and rounded her shoulders and thrust her stomach out, scowling at us. She looked like an Armenian washerwoman coming off a bad drunk. She refused to acknowledge the perfection of the dress. Instead she moaned “why can’t I have the blue one???????????” Logan and I looked at each other in despair. This was not getting any easier.
We went to Macy’s where MA immediately gravitated toward a display of slinky gowns in jewel tones, perfect attire for an evening at a strip joint. She fingered them longingly, drooling over the rhinestone studded straps. Finally, she found a simple gray dress with actual sleeves and said “I like this one ok.” I whipped out my credit card so fast it sparked. The dress was not perfect. In fact, it was a bit boring. But boring trumps slutty any day!
On our way to the food court, we stopped in one final store. In fact it was White House/Black Market, a very expensive store. Everything in it is either black or white….hence the name!! There was a lovely gay many working and he asked what for what occasion were we shopping. I told him Confirmation and we were looking for something that would not cause the Bishop to swoon. “I have just the thing,” he said and led us to a rack of dresses. The first one he picked up caused MA to swoon.
“How much?” I asked. He showed me the price tag and I swooned. Never in my life have I spent that much money on a garment. Never. And yet, I let her try it on. And of course, it was perfect. Mind you, if you’re a size Zero, everything looks perfect, but that’s not the point.
Reader, I bought that dress. But I did not pay full price. In this economy I was smart enough to look at the kid, not the salesman and say “It depends on how much of a discount he’s going to give me.” The resulting discount was 25%, and while it didn’t completely eliminate the gasp factor, it lowered it enough to make it bearable. Besides, we had been through every single store in the mall and this was the only thing we had both agreed on. Sanity can be purchased for a price. So we have the dress, but we still need a shrug and shoes. I am setting up a PayPal account on this site and we are accepting donations for the Confirmation outfit fund. Please give generously because my insurance severely limits inpatient mental health stays.