Studies among women in their 40’s show that finding a dress for a Mardi Gras ball only ranks two anxiety points lower than finding a swimsuit for summer. Well, it does for me and I’m the only one in the study. I’m in my forties, so I rank somewhere between Britney Spears and the Golden Girls. I’m slender, but I have to be careful like everyone else. I have a c-section scar, and if the dress fits the wrong way, it looks like my stomach is smiling. As of right now, I don’t have THE dress yet, but I’m sure it’s out there….on another planet.

I went to an upscale women’s resale store (say that five times fast) on Saturday. Immediately, I spied a beautiful satin sheath-style dress with a halter neckline that crossed in the back. It had jewels around the waistline and was a champagne color. Bingo. This was MY dress. Gorgeous and fifty bucks. Right before trying it on, I met the sweetest, well-dressed lady. My mother-in-law was with me, and they had gone to high school together. I didn’t know it at the time, but she and her husband own a very prestigious business (i.e. very successful and she could be shopping anywhere). She was the epitome of put-together.

My mother-in-law stepped outside (to stroll baby boy). I went into a dressing room (no mirror) and proceeded to navigate this blasted dress. It was a halter-style neck that was actually connected at the back of the neck (no zipper, button, or anything). By the time I got my head squeezed into the neck hole (the size of my wrist), I had to find the armhole for my right arm. I’m thinking, “Gosh, whoever wore this must have her arms connected to her torso like a Barbie doll.” So I get the right arm in (it was rough) and put my left arm in the other hole. Then, I go to pull the dress down and zip it on the side.

Y’all.

I couldn’t get my boobs up into the dress. The previous wearer of this torture device has to have boobs right under her neck. It was like a bad mammogram. So now I’m thinking I put it on wrong. Okay. It happens. I’ll just take it off and try again.

I couldn’t take it off… I was stuck. I knew if I pulled too hard, I would tear the dress…..so I’m standing in this dressing room, ponytail half up/half down, all messed up, the dress hanging weirdly on me, my black socks showing under the dressing room curtains, and I hear this sweet voice ask if I was okay. It was the well-dressed lady. I assured her I was alright and literally snaked my way out of the dress… first, my head, then the left arm, and finally the right. It was a work-out.

No luck there, but no worries. I spent the better part of Saturday night googling dresses. Now, before you judge… the reason I googled “prom dresses ” is because when I googled “formals”, it looked like a Golden Girls reunion. I’m not trying to look eighteen, I’m trying to avoid looking ninety. Here are just a few dresses that I saw…

The bra pads are a nice touch.

I’m forty-five and I’m still not allowed to wear this.

Is it a Halloween mask?

And last, but not least (well, maybe least)…I could always go as Glenda, the good witch.

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