Shopping for Prom

30 05 2013


I am dreading the words “Mom I’m getting married” to come out of my daughters mouth. Not because I don’t believe she will be successful in finding a worthy mate. The man who risks his life by taking on my daughter as a partner is going to be highly respected by me. She is a wonderful but head strong girl who speaks her mind freely and has no problem at all letting people know when they are not wanted in her bubble. I am dreading those words because I just finished enduring the marathon of her high school graduation year.

When I was in high school we did not have a winter formal, or the Gothchya Grad game, we had one grad campout not 10, and I do not remember the intense pressure of what to wear or how to do my hair. This past year has been the most stressful year as a parent so far. It seems like the festivities started the last day of grade 11. It was all of a sudden her graduation year.

The dress…. Apparently shopping on the island was not good enough. She had wanted to go to New York during spring break to choose her gown but thanks to the invitation by her father to join him in Mexico ona vacation I was off the hook and we were able to agree on a weekend trip to Vancouver.

I booked the hotel room, reserved the ferry and had planned the route that we would take along Bridal Row in New Westminister. I was actually dreading the weekend. My daughter knew what style she was looking for and I know how hard it is to have her decide on what she wants for dinner let alone pick out an article of clothing that will apparently define how her post high school life begins. I was prepared for it to be more painful than my first bikini wax which I still to this day remember with vivid detail.

We arrived in New West before the stores opened so we opted to go for breakfast first. The mood was lighthearted and full of a lot of laughs. I was optimistic that the shopping may go well with her current mood. We ventured to the first store. We walked into a buzz of activity. There were excited brides waiting for their first appointments to try on gown and nervous brides waiting to try on their dress after alterations. Then there was my daughter and I. We explained that we were looking for a prom dress and were quickly ushered to the back of the store and told to look around and hunt someone down if she was interested in trying something on. There seemed to be low priority on high school graduates.   I’m sure because the commission on a prom dress would probably cover a latte at starbucks but with the prices of wedding gowns the paycheque would allow the sales person to purchase the new designer leather boots she had had her eye on.

I knew we were in trouble after the first two racks. My lighthearted girl at breakfast had turned into a bit of a pit bull finding an issue with every single dress on every rack. They were too shiny, to heavily beaded or just too ugly. We lasted a whole 5 minutes in that first store. No one even noticed we were leaving as they were too busy concentrating on the clientele that brought in their bread and butter.

We walked across the street to “ The Bridal Gallery” There was the same buzz happening as the first store but we immediately felt that our sale mattered just as much as the brides. We were escorted up the beautifully appointed staircase to the second floor that housed all of the prom and bridesmaids dresses. The routine started again. Through the prom dress racks she flipped with lightening speed finding fault in every single dress she touched.  I started to sweat. It was worse than one of my peri menopausal moments when I feel like I am stuck in a pizza oven with no way out. I suddenly realized why all of my girlfriends turned down the invitation to join us on our dress hunting trip.

 The Manager of the store noticed my frustration and came over to save the day. She asked my girl what she was looking for. When she heard the words simple, no bling she suggested that she look at the bridemaids dresses as they tend to be more simple.  She escorted us over to the other side of the floor and supervised the agonizing trip through the first rack. Then the 6 words that would change the entire shopping experience came out of her mouth “Have you seen anything you like”? My daughter said no and then said “well actually I did see a dress  on the Sherri Hill website”. The manager turned to a junior associate and asked her to take my daughter to the computer and look up the Sherri Hill site so she could show her the dress.  When the dress was identified the sales associate took us to the change rooms told my daughter to get undressed and that she would bring her dresses that were similar.

I wanted to go and hide in one of the racks because as the first batch of dresses was delivered to the dressing room she called me over and said that there was no way that she was trying on the first dress because it was the ugliest thing she had ever seen. I quickly moved it to the back of the pile and passed her the next one.  “ Who in the world would wear this”  she called out to me? I took a look and said it isn’t bad honey” ( I was trying to use calming endearing words to try and soften the mood).  “ Well it damn well isn’t good”. I made the mistake of going out on the floor and choosing some gowns my self. Note to moms out there . Let the sales lady pick the gowns so that they have to endure the pure hatred of a girl who does not like the choices that they have made. At one point upon reviewing my selections I swear her head turned completely around like the girl from the movie “ The Exocist”.

I mulled over in my head it if was child abuse to leave my 17 year old daughter in the change room while I made a mad dash to the car and left her behind while I headed back to the ferry to take me home. I came to the conclusion that some type of charge could be laid so I decided to stick it out.

All of a sudden the sales girl appeared behind me and said “We just happen to have the gown that your daughter liked from the Sherri Hill site but in a different colour. Honest to god I felt a ray of sunshine come in to the salon and I heard the sound of angels playing harps over the sound system. My daughter was handed the dress and then it was complete silence for about 3 minutes. I was praying to every god from every church that I had visited with my friends as a child that this would be the dress.

The curtain opened on the change room and all I saw was my daughter with a huge smile! “ Can we order this in the jewelled purple” ? she asked because my best friend ‘s dress is this colour and I don’t want it to be the same. I held my breath until the sales girls returned and said that yes she could order it in the purple and it would arrive in time to do any alterations.

I was shocked and amazed. We had only been shopping for 90 minutes and we were done!!!!  We decided to head back home that day and all I could think of on the way home was if she knew what dress she wanted why the heck had we not looked for it in the first place in Victoria??????