The Dress

I hate the maul (sic). My mother loves the maul. She loves shopping at the maul and she gets things that she tries on, buys and then still returns.  I’ve seen other people do this too. It boggles my mind. I hated going the first time – why would I possibly buy something I suspect I might return?

So like I said, my Mom loves to shop. And she takes forever to make a decision. She took six years to buy living room furniture.  I kid you not. We went to so many furniture stores when I was young– with repeat visits on Sunday! – That I would name all the ceramic animals; then make up stories about them. I dread spending hours in a store.

So of course I married the slowest shopper in the world. He loves to comparison shop and spends hours looking up prices on-line and then he goes to the stores (avoiding the maul too) for hours as well. It was torture for me to go with him for big ticket purchases. I’d be dragging my feet within 40 10 minutes and whining to go home. So now he does all the ‘preliminary’ shopping and lets me know when he has it narrowed down to three items at which time I concede to go to the store(s) to go look.  Sometimes.

I can’t help it – I hate shopping….hate it, hate it, hate it. I hate shoes, nail polish, manicures, pedicures, gold jewelry, eyebrow waxing and visits to high end salons.  I also hate egg salad.  But I like a good non sequitur…

Anyway I digress…

This is a story about ‘The Dress’

My cousin, in Brooklyn, got married in 1986. If you are at all familiar with Catholic Italian Brooklyn weddings, you probably know that it’s a no-holds-barred-full-on-two-year-planning-freak-out-event.  Luckily, I was just a guest, as was my mother.  However, she had to buy a dress. And apparently, every single store in Tucson, Arizona had substandard dresses.  EVERY SINGLE STORE.  Do you know how I know this? I know this because I got dragged to every SINGLE store with a dress department. She was convinced that everyone in New York would be able to find a better dress than she could find in this Not-New-York state.  It was complete torture.  No matter how much I whined, I was dragged along so that I could watch my Mom try on endless dresses, give my opinion and go back for the next size. That was my role. Her inability to make a decision about this dress took over our lives for over a year.

Eventually she settled on 72 dresses – ok, not 72….more like 6 – but really, what’s the difference? She brought home all 6 dresses and proceeded to spend HOURS trying them on and making everyone within a mile radius give their opinion…which she didn’t listen to…but we had to be there to look.  Sometimes I’d ask her to hold up a color/fabric swatch for the couch she was buying next to the dress (she didn’t seem to find the humor in it that I did).

Eventually she was able to settle on 2 dresses. One was an electric blue sequin slinky dress (this is the 80s)

This is how my Mom looked in the dress, except much less ‘headless’ and slightly less alabaster.
Photo credit: Ebay Vintage 1980s dress

and the other, well, I can’t remember. It was probably black, because that’s the standby… and really, the best dresses are always black.  As was mine.

And of course getting shoes for both those dresses was just another kind of the torture. Tons came home so they could be modeled with each dress.  It felt like it was never going to end…but eventually it did. Then it was time to go to New York for the WEDDING…

She brought both dresses because she still was not quite sure which one she wanted and before the turn of the century, you could bring clothing on a vacation without being charged for brining clothing on a vacation.  Eventually, after much angst and worry that she’d not be in style, she chose the electric blue sequin dress (and I must say, she looked fabbo – my mom is a Hot Property).  So the first event was the hour long wedding service…. I’m sure you can see where this is going…

Yup, someone else wore the exact same dress.  She was beside herself with a NEW and DIFFERENT worry and couldn’t even see the irony of the situation. That being there is no difference between a Tucson dress and a New York dress.  I would have thought she would feel validated – but I was wrong… she was horrified. However, my Mom lucked out. After the (never ending) service but before the (caterers-got-me-drunk) reception, my Aunt (Mom’s sister) threw a little cocktail hour at her brownstone. So Mom was able to change into the ‘backup dress’ -disaster averted. See…it’s always the Black dress that comes through.

Can anyone guess the moral of this story?


About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
This entry was posted in Childhood, Family, Humor, Random Thoughts, Story and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to The Dress

  1. Pingback: Life in the Furniture Store | The Mercenary Researcher

  2. Gretchen Cole says:

    I finally found a shop with consistent sizing–because I hate returning stuff bought on-line–so I do most of my clothes shopping on-line. I love bookstores, kitchen stores and grocery stores–and I love shopping for, and with, my grandkids and great-niece!

    • I think book stores, grocery stores and a kitchen store (like Table Talk) are ones I love – especially to do alone.

      I know what you mean about on-line buying of clothing and sizes – it’s great to have found something consistent b/c it’s crazy that sizing is not uniform.

  3. Oh, we are kindred souls! I also HATE shopping of any kind, with the exception of grocery shopping when I am hungry. Also, I could have written this line:”I hate shoes, nail polish, manicures, pedicures, gold jewelry, eyebrow waxing and visits to high end salons.” In fact, I’ve never in my life engaged in any of those things, except for shoes, which are necessary to prevent frostbite in New England.

  4. indytony says:

    As a teenager, I loved to “cruise” the mall imagining all the “chicks” were staring at me (I had a very active imagination). Where I live now, the mall is the best place to walk for exercise (for free). To make it bearable, I walk around with a voice recorder and record ideas for fictional stories. Now “chicks” (as well as others) really do stare at me.

  5. Fresh Ginger says:

    I so completely hate shopping. is my favorite way to accomplish purchasing anything. Click, click, BOOM — it’s at your doorstep. My husband and my mother do not approve. Moral of the story: I will not make you go shopping with me.

  6. robincoyle says:

    Hey . . . I’m headed to the mall. Wanna come with me?

  7. MissFourEyes says:

    The only reason I go to the maul is to make fun of everything there. You gotta say there is a LOT of stuff deserving of ridicule. And the people. Maul people are so much more fun than regular people.

  8. Reblogged this on The Mercenary Researcher and commented:

    I’m doing my a Monday Re-blog-a-thog!

  9. Pingback: A Shave and a New Scar – 2 Bits | The Mercenary Researcher

  10. Pingback: The Other Dress | The Mercenary Researcher

  11. I hate shopping too but I’m too vain to not do it. What did you wear to the wedding?

  12. Storkhunter says:

    And that’s why I love the internet

  13. I like shopping but I live out here under a rock so it only happens like twice a year. I have two sisters- one is a professional shopper. She has no kids and goes all the time and always finds the best sales. She is fabulously adorable. But she’s FAST. Like in and out and in a hurry and I can’t keep up. I shop with the other sister who, like me, moseys all over the place. We have to pick up every little thing and wander every inch of a store. She and I could be lost in Target for days. You would hate us. She and I are the reason they sell hot pretzels and coffee.

  14. I hate the mall, I honestly do. Even worse, I hate buying fancy dresses. They’re so uncomfortable, and you regret your choice when you look back a decade later and see yourself in photos.

  15. My mom and I have the same tolerance level for shopping. Hit maybe up to three stores and then we get too tired. But I completely understand your mom on the being horrified to be wearing the same dress! I bought a dress for our winter formal a year before it happened – figuring it’d be a year out of style now.
    7 other girls were wearing the same dress!!

    So for prom my junior and senior year, when we had a trip that found me in San Francisco, and Seattle, I used the opportunity to shop so I would be getting something from somewhere different. Looks like I lucked out though – could have had the same problem as your mom only without a back-up dress! =D

  16. saradraws says:

    I thought the moral of the story was if I get you drunk, you’ll take me to New York.

  17. I love this post! I read it via e-mail so I was picturing classic Dynasty/Dallas chic sequins!

    I actually like shopping, and always have. I suspect my own mom didn’t because we rarely went, and when we did go she would tire quickly. However, my grandmother ALWAYS took us shopping. We’d have a half day at school, she’d take us to lunch wherever we wanted, and then we’d shop for a few hours. And my grandma was just… so cool.

  18. unfetteredbs says:

    I felt your pain.. and the ongoing theme looks like we all pretty much hate shopping but are for some reason, drawn to shoppers? why do we torture ourselves?
    You are a good daughter.. and evidently a good wife 🙂 .my husband loves to shop but I am forbidden to go and ruin the experience for him and my daughters– how sad(RAD) is that? I get to stay home gloriously ALONE why they all get to go shopping.

    • We are gluttons for punishment! You lucked out getting to be left behind to NOT SHOP.

      I thought I might implode when we (husband & I) went shopping for our first ‘new’ car. Thank GOD I was preggers and had an excuse to not go -and his father is a car-guy. They could shop until they dropped. I just puked a lot.

      • unfetteredbs says:

        preggers+puking+ shopping(plus bad smells)= HELL

        • Yup – I had a complete breakdown in Costco once – at 8 months preggers (so November!) – it was pretty ugly.

        • unfetteredbs says:

          haa Costco– bulk puke?
          I puked in Quincy Market– right out in the garbage can in front of everyone. The smell of the food in the market.. I went dashing for the closest can. Ohhh the memories… I still cannot go there

        • ha ha ha – that is priceless…No, I didn’t puke there (wonder of wonders)…I was looking for someone to help me in some department or other and everyone just ignored the big fat pregnant psycho looking woman and eventually, I was overwhelmed with hormones and just started crying and throwing all my items OUT of the cart. Scott zeroed in on me, extracted me from the cart and cart items and got me home immediately. It wasn’t pretty.

        • unfetteredbs says:

          laughing pregnancy and hormones are good practice for menopause haaa

        • Another joy in the merry-go-round of hormones… I realized I was getting close to perimenopause (sp) when I found myself simultaneously sweating and freezing.

  19. lexiesnana says:

    My mom is a SHOPPER for anything.I had my knee replaced this summer and she dragged me into every store in Michigan all the while hollering at me to” bend that knee”.I could hardly keep up with her and she is 74.She loves to shop and I hate it.

  20. becca3416 says:

    I hate shopping too. All that dressing and undressing is exhausting, the salespeople are either rude or obnoxious, and I never end up buying what I intended to buy. I’ll go in to buy a new top for work and come out with ten pair of toe socks and a picture frame. What is that about?!

  21. Oh jeez, this reminds me of my own wedding, where I went to exactly one dress shop and bought the one dress I liked. Meanwhile, my mom went to every store in town, shopped her way through the US, and finally settled on a dress only because she could customize it to her satisfaction. She also has the renovation problem; they’ve been picking out new countertops for 8 years. My husband just spent two days making me watch and sunglass shop with him. So I can relate… every time someone says they need something I develop a small eye tic.

  22. Anita Thorstad says:

    Things never change. I’ve been to all the Tucson furniture stores so far to find a family room couch and today I have to return some swatches that I borrowed from one of the stores. Thank goodness nobody is getting married soon, I would be beside myself!!! I didn’t get the wrong daughter, I got the perfect one. Great story!!!

  23. Lisa says:

    But you and I always have a fabbo time shopping at Savers! Am I not supposed to drag you to Savers when I come back to Tucson??

  24. The Waiting says:

    Oh, the maul. I’m not a fan either. And shoe shopping is the ninth circle of Hell. I don’t understand why some women totally get off on shoe shopping. I would rather have my teeth drilled.

    • Me too – My Mom’s Mom had hundreds of pairs of shoes (and matching purses) and NOTHING ever fit right. I know many women that have more pairs of shoes than I could ever imagine… I think I have 6 pairs of shoes – but I prefer bare feet.

      I was totally the ‘wrong’ daughter!

    • I used to not understand shoes. Who cares? I’d just buy whatever was cheapish and cute until I started having problems with plantar fascitis. I spent an entire year wearing nothing but tennis shoes or Birkenstocks. Then one day I went to Nordstrom and the women noticed my Birkenstocks. She asked if I needed to be wearing orthopedic shoes. I said yes. She pointed out several pairs of super CUTE orthopedic shoe brands, and a shoe fanatic was born. Now there is nothing I appreciate more than a shoe that is both comfortable and cute. However, I’m really careful about buying classic styles because I pay through the nose for each pair.

  25. Brother Jon says:

    Oh, the mall is the worst. The good thing is either one we go to is at least 45 minutes away.

  26. Once again, I hear ME in this entire story. The story of my life with both my mother and my husband. And I hate shopping too. Really REALLY hate shopping. 🙂

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