I’m attending a convention in November and the theme for the Saturday night banquet is “the Prom”. I’ve been to my share of themed-parties, but a prom? The idea of satin and crinoline is kind of exciting even though I’m sixty-three years old. I haven’t been to a prom in nearly fifty years! Where in the world am I going to find a proper gown that doesn’t cost a couple of hundred bucks on a dress that may get worn for three hours, tops?
I need to call in the troops – my girlfriends! They’ll know where I can find a suitable ball gown without taking a second mortgage on our home.
“Go to the Good Will store, Gerri.” Now, that’s a novel idea; capitalize on someone else’s couple-of-hundred-bucks-dress-that-was-worn-for-three-hours for a fraction of David’s Bridal price tag! Piece of cake, right?
Wrong. Who knew the challenges of shopping for a prom gown at age sixty-three?
I have until November to find my prom gown, and traveling in our RV affords me a great selection of Good Will stores. I hit my first one in western Carolina, early-August. I suppose the high school prom queens haven’t yet headed for college, and Mom still needs to clean out their closets. No worry; we’d be heading east in a week or two and that meant lots more second-hand shopping. I still have three months to find the perfect dress.
We moved the RV closer to Charlotte and found several thrift shops on the same day. The first one had a limited selection, drab colors and Barbie-doll sizes. Sixty-three year old prom queens have boobs; high school prom queens haven’t sprouted theirs so good yet and are still too young for implants. Sheesh!
Onto the next store, a few miles away. Here I found a dreamy, lacy coral-colored floor length in my size. Be still my heart! It was gorgeous, and off I headed to the dressing rooms to check it out. What’s going on; the zipper won’t go up! I mean it, beyond snug; it was several inches shy of fitting. Could someone have sewn in a smaller size tag? Oh God, did I gain weight?
Time to put out another call to the girlfriends. Not being a connoisseur of Good Will stores, it never occurred to me that gowns are often altered to fit like a glove. Oh whew! I don’t need to go on a diet. Also, gown sizes run small. Really? Thank you girlfriends, for more insight into prom gown shopping.
Trying on anything at age sixty-three has its challenges, especially when one has lost in excess of one-hundred pounds; there’s the added consideration of loose skin. What used to support excess fat now jiggles unsupported. Add that to my irritation at Mother Nature’s idea of a joke (gravity), some of the stuff which used to be up around my thighs now kind of droops around my knees. I do want to kiss the sweetie-pie who invented control top panty hose, however!
So now it’s September and we’ve moved onto Virginia. We were returning to Lexington from a day-trip to the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA and found some more Good Will stores. The first one was a dud – just a few cocktail type dresses but the second was pay-dirt; an upstairs ‘boutique’! I found several nice dresses, but the one and only fitting room was occupied with a bride and her entourage in search of the perfect wedding dress. It was apparent that it would be a considerable length of time before my turn. Sitting nearby on a rather dilapidated folding chair sat another mature shopper like me. Her scowl confirmed that she was next and don’t even think about sneaking in front of the line.
I wasn’t in love with any of my five potential selections and really couldn’t see waiting while the bride stalled us out with indecision and the bull-dog face growled in my direction. I gave up and left.
We’re now in Williamsburg and drove over to Virginia Beach for the sand-art festival. Along the way, I spotted not a Good Will, but a ‘Habitat for Humanity’ store. “Stop”, I exclaimed, startling my poor husband, who feared that I had seen a traffic hazard that he had missed. He didn’t share my exuberance but being the sweetie pie that he is, Dave circled back and parked.
There was a plethora of pretty dresses, several in my size! I could hardly contain my joy, finding a creamy pale green strapless floor-length. The size was a bit larger than what I wear, but remember, the girlfriends say that the sizes run smaller. I gathered it up, heading for the fitting rooms, which were not in an obvious place.
“There’s a large mirror over there.” She pointed to a corner of the store.
“No, I mean where are the fitting rooms?”
“We don’t have fitting rooms – just try it on over your clothes.”
She obviously didn’t notice that I was wearing jeans. Okay, if I want to see how this dress looks on me, I’m going to have to put it on over my jeans. Dave helped me, and even with my t-shirt, the zipper went up with ease. If anything, the dress was going to be a little big but using a little imagination, I liked what I saw, even over the top of my clothing.
I’ll have to find a wrap of some sort, and maybe some higher heels. All the jiggly stuff that accompanies being sixty-three is fairly well concealed, I don’t have to go on a diet and maybe the twenty dollars I paid for my dress will go toward a nice house for a homeless family. I’ve got my prom gown. Bring on the prom!