It hung behind the check out counter of Hot Topic, made entirely of back crinoline and splashes of lace. If Cyndi Lauper and Marilyn Manson had a baby, it would be this dress. Straps slightly wider than spaghetti comprised the arms and a corset-like midsection bridged the gap to the tutu skirt. I stood with Libby, staring at it while we waited our turn in line, making a conscious effort to ensure my mouth was not agape. I knew this was a moment, actually this was “that moment” – one of my daughters wanted to purchase a garment which was slightly… well shocking.
My inner dialogue began, actually it was more of a question and answer session, throughout which I did deep breathing exercises before allowing myself to respond:
Q: Is this worth spending relationship points for Farrah?
A: No, it’s not. It’s just clothes, which for most teenage girls and women are an expression of ourselves, to reject this, could be perceived by Libby as a rejection of her.
Q: Would you have wanted to wear this in High School?
A: Heck YES! I just would have never had the guts to ask, and so would have worn it behind my parents back, changing in the bathroom before classes began.
Q: Why are you really afraid of saying yes?
A: Ok, to be really honest, I am afraid of what other parents will think of me for letting her wear it.
I tend to be a little “free spirited”, which I assumed would make me immune to the opinions of other parents from influencing my own parenting decisions. But alas, the Joneses have a powerful pull.
My silent self-therapy session complete, the line to the register dwindling, decision making time was imminent. “Where and how do you see yourself wearing this Libby?” I inquired. “I will wear it everywhere with a shirt on underneath, or a hoodie over my shoulders, and jeans or leggings on.” There it was, the perfect compromise, requiring no effort on my part or heated negotiations at the Hot Topic counter. I was relieved, and slightly embarrassed for having forgotten how sensible my children are.
Libby wore the dress the very next day back to school. When I picked her up she was glowing. “A lot of people complimented me on my dress today” she reported. The Inner Voice urged me, “Do you see? Your daughter felt truly beautiful for an afternoon, truly adored by peers. What is that worth? Where are the Joneses now?”
Post script for the Joneses: The dress looks much more lewd in the photo than it does when worn with a shirt and jeans underneath. Just wanted to make sure you knew.