Just Call Me Janet Jackson

Who? Me.

What? My dress.

Where? Senior Prom.

When? Seriously, stop asking me so many stupid questions.


(obnoxious harp music indicating a flashback)


I still remember finding that dress in the store. I think it was at a likely-defunct little cheesehole called 5-7-9. It was white. It was lacy. And it had the biggest sleeves I had ever seen.

I just had to have it.

So I grabbed two different sizes and went into the dressing room. They both worked, but one was a little tight and the other a little loose. Hmmm. Do I get the big one and risking making mySELF look bigger? Or do I vow to drop a few pounds and buy the smaller one?

Enter teenage dysfunction.

Duh. Crash diet. Plus whenever you can get a smaller size, you should get a smaller size. Right? Of course, right. I just knew I’d made the right choice as I gazed at my profile in the mirror, stomach sucked in tightly.

Flash forward to prom night.

I don’t recall what drastic measures I took to lose weight … or if I even remembered to do so. All I remember is my prom night itself. I put on my beloved white dress and inexplicably pink shoes then styled my hair. Thanks to my trusty hot rollers, it was almost as big as my sleeves. I looked good. (If we were speaking in person right now, you’d be able to hear the sarcasm in my voice.)

My date arrived and we took the obligatory pictures by the fireplace. I told my parents goodbye and headed out the door. On the way to the car, the heel on one of my (still inexplicably) pink shoes caught on something. I started to look down but my date stopped me … in an urgent kind of way. “Whatever you do, don’t … look … down.” He was looking directly at me and he seemed very serious so I obediently maintained my forward gaze.

“What is it?” I asked, curiosity getting the better of me.

“Do you really want to know?” he asked, fiddling with my shoe and tossing something into the bushes.

“I … think so,” I said, not really sure I was making the right choice.

“It was a frog,” he said. “A frog kebab.”

My heel had impaled the little amphibian.

I have no idea what I said here. I’m guessing it was something like “Gross!” Then, he wiped his hands on his pants (or the grass, I don’t remember) and we got into the car to meet everyone else for dinner.

The restaurant was packed with my friends and their dates. I think it was a Chinese place. We had a huge room and were all gathered around a big table. The food and the company were great. We were a page out of the Big Book of Group Prom Dates. Everything was going just as I expected.

Then something catastrophic happened.

Especially to a 17-year-old.

Maybe it was because it was the first time I’d allowed myself solid food in a while. Maybe it was because I (like every other girl there) was a social butterfly getting up and down to talk to everyone. Or maybe it was because I’d actually made the wrong choice a few weeks earlier at 5-7-9.

I could feel it starting to tear, ripping right along the seams in the bodice. The dress was two layers. Lace on top and thin silk-like fabric on the bottom. Silk-like fabric that now had two gaping holes in it that literally exposed my bare midriff. (I was so ahead of my time.)

I panicked. What in the hell was I going to do? After leaning over (very carefully) to confer with a few friends, we decided that the best course of action was for me to borrow another dress from the girl who lived closest to the restaurant. Her house was literally 5 minutes away. Mine was more like 25.

I fought the urge to cry (remember: teenager) and agreed to the plan. I don’t know what excuse we gave to everyone for needing to run to her house or if everyone just secretly knew behind my back. But, in any event, I was outfitted with a new prom dress, still white but minus the gigantic sleeves, within minutes.

But I was not happy.

THIS wasn’t the dress I had carefully selected … and purchased  inexplicably pink shoes for … and planned to wear all evening. And thus (confession) I spent some time crying in the bathroom once we arrived at the dance. (It’s a good thing my date and I had been going out a while. He was actually pretty understanding about everything.)

My friends finally convinced me to come out and take the stupid picture. They all took a really fun picture together as a big group. But I refused to participate in that one. Just in case I hated it, I didn’t want everyone else to have their own copy. So I just took one with my date.

And you know what? Looking back, I realize that the second dress I wore that evening was actually WAY cuter than the first one. Go figure.


Please pardon the Kelly Kapowski-wideness of my face.

Oh, and I still have that stupid ripped dress in a box in my attic. It never really got to meet its potential. Maybe one day I’ll use it as a Halloween costume.

Today’s post was brought to you by MamaKat’s writing prompt asking for a story about a wardrobe malfunction.

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8 responses to “Just Call Me Janet Jackson

  1. Oh my gosh, I’m glad that never happened at my proms but I’m sorry I couldn’t help but laugh. Even when I was a teenager I didn’t get the smaller dress, we knew it wouldn’t work between my large hips and small shoulders. Lol

  2. Oh my gosh! I also had a ridiculous white dress with very overachieving sleeves. I need to send you the pic!

    You looked adorable…in both dresses! Great story to look back on and laugh. And it sounds like you had a sweet group of girlfriends. 🙂

    Awesome post!

  3. I’d cry if that happened to me now, at 44, never mind at 17! I both cringed and laughed as I read this. I’m willing to bet that you never bought anything a size too small again 😉

  4. Pingback: 2014 – Best Pictures & Posts (According to Me) | OldDogNewTits

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