Last week I was shopping at the mall, when out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of something amazing in the Juniors section of Macy’s department store. I was there with my daughter, aiding her in a search for women’s suit vests, when I saw it and it stopped me in my tracks. Flowing down impeccably from a rack in the prom dress section was an exquisite sky blue gown of such unique and distinctive design that it beckoned to me. I mean… really beckoned to me!
As I approached, captivated by its simple elegance, I felt something come to life inside of me. It didn’t matter that my own prom was over three decades ago. All that mattered was that this dress stirred up the dormant princess in me, and I…. well… I kind of wanted to try it on!
I would have done so right then and there, but the 17 pairs of slacks I had just tried on at JC Penney had used up all my patience. I knew I was not in the mood for another dressing room excursion, so the dress would have to wait. “Besides,” I asked myself, “where would I wear such a glamorous gown?”
Several days went by, and yet I couldn’t stop thinking about that dress! It was continuing to call to me, wooing me to come hither. I mentioned this to my daughter, who had admired it with me, and she immediately reminded me of a formal gala that was on our calendar to attend later in the month. “You could totally rock it there!” she suggested with excitement. She was right. I totally could.
Not wanting to risk the dress ending up in the hands of a novice teenager, we returned to the mall the very next day. We waltzed straight up to my princess gown, which was hanging innocently amidst its lesser neighbors. After no introduction at all, we invited two sizes to accompany us to the nearest dressing room.
Since this was a juniors dress, and I was practically a senior, we decided we better start with the larger size. After my daughter had settled every last fold of fabric onto my fifty-one-year-old figure, I turned to look in the mirror. Ooh-la-la!
The sheer floor-length chiffon that poured over the strapless mini dress brought out my blue eyes, the delicate lace matched my blonde hair, and it hugged my body like a second skin. I felt young and vibrantly alive. There was one thing I knew for certain… I had never looked this good in high school!
My daughter and I deliberated over what kind of shoes I would need to go with it. More importantly, we agreed that there was no way I was going to leave the store without it! Armed with this delightful resolve, I put my clothes back on.
We carried the dress carefully to the sales counter, where we were learned that it was actually 40% off the marked price. As I gladly forked over the cash, one of the sales associates remarked that my dress was her favorite prom dress in the store. “It’s my favorite, too,” I replied. “But, I’m not wearing it to prom.”
All of a sudden they stopped what they were doing and looked up at me in surprise. “I thought this was for her,” one of them said, pointing to my twenty-year-old daughter. “Nope!” I declared with sassy assurance. “It’s for me!”
Then, the other saleswoman wanted to know where I was going to wear it, as if I had no business being a princess at my age. I told them. Then, I walked away, carrying the dress that had begged me to say yes, not even phased by their bewilderment. Princesses, as you know, simply don’t concern themselves with such things!
Note: this story appeared as a newspaper column in the Mail Tribune. Read it here.