Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why do I let TV do this to me?

Last night was the Prom episode of Glee.  I love me some Glee. I let last night's episode get to me a little bit.  Forgive me the whinypants post.

Of course, there was a sequence where all the girls were dress shopping and checking each other out.  Now, one of the many things I love about Glee is that there are two- TWO- girls on the show who aren't super skinny.  The character Lauren Zizes is one of the plus-sized girls (in royal blue over there) and has paired off with the hot football player, Puck, who likes her because "she's a bigger badass than he is."

Somehow, Zizes is able to shop for a prom dress at the same store as her regular-sized teammates and she has a choice of dresses to pick from.  That was soooooo not my experience. I was jealous.  I felt the tears start to run down my face remembering my prom dress shopping experience.

I wasn't horribly overweight in high school, probably on the high end of average with a tendency toward plumpness.  Shopping for my junior prom dress remains probably one of the worst experiences of high school and I've never really talked about it with anyone.

I had a date, an essential at my all-girls parochial high school.  We were not allowed to attend alone.  I had a boyfriend so that wasn't an issue.  I was also the co-chair of the Junior prom, held annually in the school's audinasium. Gymitorium.  Whatever.  The dress became an albatross and as it got closer to the big night, my mom, little sister and I hit the local mall.  I believe that I was wearing a size 12 or 14 at the time.

We must have went into every store in the mall that sold formal dresses. I tried on very few.  Some were marked my size but we couldn't zip up the back.  There were lots of slinky, fitted, ruched dresses that made me look like an over-stuffed sausage.  Dresses that were strapless were ruled out because I had way too much boobage even then to consider dancing in one.

Not too horrible, right? 
Store after store and dress after dress and hour after hour.  I cried.  A lot.  My mom was as supportive as she could be but still the feeling I had was that I was a hideous beast who shouldn't go to the Prom because I would need a circus tent to cover my fat ass.

We went into all the department stores with no luck.  With minutes until the mall closed we wandered into Filene's Basement.  If you've never been to a Filene's Basement, it's one of those Marshalls or TJ Maxx clearance store type of places where you have to sift through millions of racks because nothing is really organized.  I found a dress hidden behind a bunch of swishy track suits.

It was pink.  Not really what I wanted.  It was very simple and short.  Not really what I wanted.  It fit.  The mall was closing.  The prom was in days.  My mom bought me the dress.

I put the whole experience behind me.  I went to prom and had a fantastic night with my boyfriend and my friends.  We danced.  We went to the local diner afterward and to Six Flags Great Adventure the next day and I didn't think about the humiliation and hurt of dress shopping until the next year when it was time for senior prom.

Ooh, I guess I got wrinkled int he limo!
I tried to be smarter. Instead of even attempting another one of Jersey's 50 thousand malls, I dragged my mom to David's Bridal where I had several gowns to try on, gowns that fit, but it still seemed like I had to settle for what was there in my size.  I wanted a black dress.  Black!  How hard could that be?  Nope, I had a choice between royal blue, a weird and shiny olive green, pink and I think silver.  Other dresses they had to fit me came from the "Mother of the Bride" section of the store and they were not even remotely acceptable as prom dresses.  So I settled for the royal blue.

So, while I haven't been yelled at by Jillian in a few days (because my poor body needed a little time to recover and then I had some crazy busy-ness going on) I am remaining pretty true to my diet and achieving my life's dream, which ties ever so neatly back to my prom dress shopping experiences and this week's episode of Glee.

My dream is simple, and probably pretty silly to most, but I dream of going back to a mall.  Any mall, it doesn't matter which one.  I want to be able to walk into a store, any store, and be able to buy an outfit that fits me.


  1. Well, there are a few ways to talk about this one. I could tell ya that pink is "your signature" color and you would black list me for the rest of time. I could tell you that "royal blue accentuates your toes" and again, black listed. What I can tell you is that even the size 4 dresses of that day were more respectful and tasteful than what some of these freak jobs wear now, and no matter what you felt you looked like in any dress, you always had enough hair spray to make it all work out. Those were the 90s! LOL! I look back on my prom dresses and want to barf, too. One was a dress that I believe one of those four year old's from "make my kid J.B. Ramsey" wore-totally a jaw dropper and an instant "put me in the back of the room" category placers. I can also tell you that my senior prom dress was scary red and made me look like Garbo, since my dress was sort of tuxedo-ish on the top...and my boyfriend at the time was more interesed in wearing his Pearle Jam t-shirt than his tux so we both looked the part of "ugh...this itches...badly."

    Glam dresses are made for us to look back on...what is it now...almost 20 years for us?!...and think WTF...mostly outloud.

    Maybe we should have all went as Furbies. That would have been fun!

  2. I think Prom is one of the many double edged swords in life. As girls, we live to be able to go to event that we can dress in a gown. Then emotionally abuse ourselves for being overweight, underweight, having straight hair when we want curly and vice-versa. I was the girl who begged God every night to give her curves as most pictures under review look more like a twelve year old boy. I spent as much as I could on bras that would pad, push up, and hopefully do something to accentuate my non-existent breast. I frequented tanning salons to try and overcome the pasty white tone of my skin. I envied my friends who looked like real life Barbie dolls.

    Now I long for figure of my past (okay perhaps I wouldn’t want to be that skinny again) but you get the gist of what I’m saying. I’m looking forward to those golden years ahead when I can (hopefully) be the posh-dressed woman with salt and pepper hair that doesn’t care what the scale says. It seems like maturity is the one thing that can truly bring a self confidence in which we are happy ourselves and not what we think others want to see. I’m getting there slowly but surely. I am surrounded by beautiful women in my life. I see not their sizes but the love in their eyes for those around them. They are truly visions of beauty and far better looking than any man-made plastic doll.