Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wearing the Wrong Dress

Have you ever gone to a social function and found you  were wearing the "wrong" thing? I have. The worst such experience happened to me when I was in junior high school, seventh grade. The school held a Valentine's dance for the students and all of us were welcome to attend. I didn't have a boyfriend and had no intention of attending the dance until some of  my friends agreed that we could all go together, even without dates, and it would be fun. I was the only one who had doubts. 

I wore a white strapless gown with lots of chiffon. Mother had my aunt make it for me. When  I put it on and stood before the mirror, I thought it was the  most beautiful dress I'd ever seen.  Even now when I look at the photos made that night before I left for the dance,  I see a pretty girl in a pretty dress. 

My friend, who must have known something I  didn't, wore a dress in a fashionable length, with a discretely cut neckline, made of a shiny satin-like fabric. So did almost all of the other girls at the dance. In fact, it appeared they had all bought the same dress except in different colors.

The other two girls in our party were as improperly dressed as I was, and none of us were asked to dance. I couldn't  have felt more conspicuous if I had a bulls-eye painted on my face.
It was the most miserable night of my youth. I came  home and cried in my mother's arms. 

At that age, those things seemed far more serious than they do now. We are fragile and easily bruised and damaged when we are very young.  But we grow older, and one day we realize that being different isn't always the worst thing we can do. The young girl I was then wanted more than anything to fit in and belong. Being so obviously out of step with the majority left a deep scar on my psyche for many years. One of the perks of growing older is realizing those things really don't matter anymore. Mature people, intelligent people, don't judge others by what they wear. I'm sure no one but me remembers that night or that dress.

This incident came back to me when I read  this article on by Rose Mula. 

Do you have painful memories of when you felt you  didn't belong?  Do you relate to Rose's clothes dilemma? 


DJan said...

Oh yes, I think we all have those moments in school when we're growing up. Once when we moved from California to Texas, in high school, I went to school that first day to realize that in the entire school, I was the only girl wearing flats: everyone else was wearing suede loafers with white socks folded just so. I refused to go back to school until I had the right shoes! :-)

Anonymous said...

Because of my visual impairment, there were many times when I realized I was different, especially once I was mainstreamed into a public school in the fifth grade. Now of course, I realize that boys not wanting to date me or even dance with me wasn't a bad thing. It could have been worse. I could have gotten pregnant as a teen-ager.

Glenda Beall said...

DJan, what I have always wondered is, how do they all know what to wear, and how they all dress the same? Is it osmosis? You would think there would be a few who didn't wear the same shoes or, in my case, a few who wore different kinds of dresses. I guess I have never been someone who poured over fashion magazines or worried that much about clothes. It is all still a mystery to me.

Glenda Beall said...

I like your attitude, Abbie. Look at the positives. I think you have many friends now and with your writing, the Internet, etc. your vision problems don't make such a difference.