The Homecoming Children needed dressing. Sadly neither of them was going for my "formal jeans" suggestion - no vision those kids. The Male Child did dig out his father's suits and give them a try but as it weighs about... I'm guesstimating here... 120 pounds (and it is around 5'10") that wasn't going to fly.
Now, I do get the need for dressing up. Where I grew up dressing up for girls started young and with a vengeance. There was First Holy Communion which necessitated an enormous amount of white tulle, a pair of pristine gloves, and some white patent leather slippers. A few years later there was quinzenera which meant even more tulle - usually blue or pink this time and sometimes augmented with a full hoop skirt - another pair of gloves (elbow) and tippy high heeled shoes.
Unfortunately I was culturally debarred from either of these and when we walked through Sears on our way to buy this year's pair of tennis shoes (blue or red - I got to pick! sometimes!) I would lust secretly after the racks of meringue fluff displayed temptingly all down the aisle. It was terribly frustrating.
So, as I said I do understand the need for dressing up, and I'm very supportive of it in theory but unfortunately in practice in meant I had to go shopping. Which, I must confess, I do not love. Buying I'm okay with, I do get the need to go a'buying now and then - but shopping? Voluntarily going to a mall full of hordes of teenagers and mall walking super granmas and just browsing in the hopes of finding something? Ugh.
But I love my Children. I do. So the female Child and I girded loins and stiffened lips and ventured in. Luckily it has the same approach to shopping for formal dresses as I do viz:
1. spend half an hour finding the ugliest dresses in the store (look! It's yellow! And shiny! HA HA!)
2. find three dresses that are bearable
3. look at the price tags and put your head between your knees for some deep breathing
4. find the crowded rack stuffed with off sizes and lip-stick stained satin that is marked "Clearance!" and spend another 20 minutes sliding the hangers back and forth
5. Whine (oh wait, that was just me...)
6. go back to the full-price area and find The Dress
7. go try on The Dress and realize it is more than just The Dress, it is THE DRESS.
8. remember that it is also THE DRE$$ and get very, very sad
9. Head to the next department store for another round
Fortunately we found THE DRESS again at the third store and not only was it marked less on the regular price, it was also ON SALE! which pretty much says the gods have spoken.
This was all about a month before the dance because the female Child is on top of these things. The male Child waited until two days before the dance to mention (just as we were heading to bed) that it had nothing at all to wear. Thanks Child. Fortunately it is indeed male so we managed to find it a shirt that had long enough sleeves (the male Child has a 6'2" wingspan. I know.) and was only twice as large around as necessary, a pair of trousers (on sale! at the discount store!), a belt (necessitated by the slightly-too-big-around issue with the discount trousers), and a tie, the afternoon before the dance. Total time in the discount store? 10 minutes.
And I have to admit.
They looked darn good.