We're not permitted to look at the dresses until we're assigned a consultant, someone who inquires with eyebrows raised about color and size and price, of course. "Ask my daughter," I say, pointing. "I don't pay for prom."
Technically that's incorrect: My husband and I kick in a hundred bucks towards the occasion. But between up-dos and nails; shoes and makeup; flowers and a limo; tickets and alterations for a made-in-China gown costing between two- and twelve hundred dollars, our contribution is laughable.
We select an armload of dresses and are directed to the bank of rooms at the back of the store. Our consultant misspells my daughter's name on a pink sticky note in the shape of a heart and affixes it to her dressing room door.
To my left, a little girl in a white Communion dress examines herself in a three-way mirror. She smiles, revealing two missing front teeth, as her mother puts a veil on her head.
A toddler toddles by in a pair of high heels.
A woman hands her mother a teal gown through the dressing room door. She looks at my eldest. "Are you here for your wedding or your prom?"
"My sister's prom."
"Just wait," the woman sighs deeply. "Prom's a piece of cake compared to planning a wedding."
Up three stairs, on a raised platform in the center of the store, are three dressing rooms. On the opposite side of the wall, three more. This space is reserved for the brides-to-be. They try on gown after gown, emerging from the dressing room to ooohs and aaahs and the teary-eyed smiles of their sisters and mothers and friends.
A great handbell is rung. A cheer goes up. A bridal gown has been chosen.
My daughter tries on countless dresses. This one is too low; that one cut too high. The color is off. The price is too steep. Another has cutouts that expose hipbones and sides, designed to, according to one store: allow you flaunt it if you’ve got it.
A dizzying two hours later, we emerge, empty-handed and frazzled.
* * *
I see that my daffodils are emerging from the warming soil. No one rings a handbell. There are no great shrieks of joy; no wild clapping to usher them in. They easily go unnoticed.
My daffodils don't lord it over the crocuses and the hyacinths. They merely stand, silent and still, arriving without fanfare, doing their their work in quiet majesty, announcing spring.
Any idea what the average person spent on prom last year?Kelly Garriott Waite on Google+