Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

April 5, 2013

Buying a prom dress is like pulling teeth

By Rebecca Todd

— A couple of months ago, my daughter Megan struck fear into my heart when she uttered the phrase, "Guess what, Mom! You get to take me prom dress shopping!"

"Oh, Lord," I replied.

She was less than thrilled with my response. She couldn't understand why I wasn't excited about the project. Apparently, most mothers squeal with delight at the thought of buying a dress and turning their little girls into Cinderella. But I've been shopping with Megan before. It's a slow, painful process. It's like getting a tooth extracted in slow motion with no pain killer. The dentist wiggles the tooth and gouges at the gums while the blood spurts and the bones crack and still the tooth won't come out and it goes on and on and ...

You get the idea.

Today was the day. I am currently lying down with a cold rag on my head, as I spent the day today at the mall and in several dress shops in pursuit of the perfect prom dress for my daughter.

The main problem was we had completely different visions of the perfect prom dress in our heads. She had to have one that was long, was of three predetermined colors, and had some beading but wasn't "over the top." I had to have one that didn't result in my husband and me taking out a second mortgage.

The dentist was leaning back the chair and grabbing the pliers.

According to Promgirl.com (See what I will go through to get accurate facts for readers? I actually went to a website called Promgirl.com), the average prom dress costs between $100 and $400. I found this out after we went shopping, so I went into the project with unreasonable expectations. I also never shop off any full retail rack. If it doesn't say "sale" or better yet "clearance," it doesn't go home with me.

Do you believe that there are no clearance racks in prom dress and bridal stores? Trust me, I know, because I searched high and low for one in every store. I did find one in the mother-of-the-bride section of a bridal store. Try as I might, I couldn't get Megan interested in even one of the dresses.

The dentist grabbed the tooth and started to tug.

So on we trekked through store after store, hour after hour. That store didn't have anything. That store was too expensive. That dress was too tight. That dress showed too much cleavage. That store was for losers. That store was for tramps.

And the dentist kept yanking on that tooth.

I gave up for a while and decided to take a break. I left Megan trying on dresses and headed to the food court. I collapsed on a table and began to doze when suddenly my phone buzzed. A text popped up that said, "I think I found it!"

"How much?" I asked with trepidation.

"It's not bad!" she replied.

Elated, I ran through the mall; in slow motion, of course. The theme from "Chariots of Fire" was playing.

The dentist was saying "The tooth is out!"

I caught up with Megan and the dress was indeed in good taste and well priced. I was elated. We paid for the dress and Megan smiled and said, "Now we need to get shoes and jewelry!"

And the dentist said, "Now let's get started on the next tooth."

- Rebecca Todd is a freelance writer and the author of the book "What's the Point?" available at booklocker.com. Contact her at btodd@tds.net.