The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Seashell Test



Rain isn't the only showering April brings; it also floods us with sequins, glitter and ozone-killing amounts of hairspray. I went outside my house last weekend and saw a huge spotlight circling the neighborhood from Searcy High School. I knew that this could only mean one of two things: 1) They had really stepped up the Neighborhood Watch Program or 2) It was prom season.

My trip to Chili's for dinner confirmed my suspicions as girls sauntered in with their hair reaching the ceiling and blinding amounts of color and glitter on their dresses. Only 23, I couldn't believe how old I was sounding: "What are these dresses? I remember when we used to wear classic gowns; gowns that made us look like Cinderella." These girls looked like they had taken a pair of scissors and slashed their dresses up to their bottoms. I remember feeling like royalty; these girls look like they should try out for "Dancing with the Stars."

I ran across an article today that was giving parents tips on how to face the toils that come with their child going to prom. The first problem, of course, was the dress dilemma. The expert posed this scenario:

"You go dress shopping with your daughter and wait outside of the dressing room as she tries gowns on. "What do you think of this one, Mom?" You turn to see your little girl wearing a low-cut, tight gown that makes her look like she just stepped out of a music video. What do you do?"

His expert advice?

"You'll want to ask practical questions that won't make your daughter feel badly. Use phrases like, "Do you really want to show that much skin?" and "What is your intention with that dress?" in a fairly laid-back manner to start the conversation. Ultimately, it is her individual decision which dress to wear since she's presenting herself in a manner that she wants to be taken as. However, you should be able to say what you sincerely feel without making a judgment or defaming her."

This made me laugh; trying to picture Ronda Reely asking me, "Do you really want to show that much skin?" and "What is your intention with that dress?" is quite comical. I can guarantee you she would KNOW what my intention was with that dress and that my father would have cared less if I "really" wanted to show that much skin. They would have made me immediately discard it for a Victorian-era type get-up.

How do I know this?

The Sea Shell Test.

When buying a new swimsuit, my mother insisted on putting me through every test and trial I could possibly endure before purchasing. "Bend over like you are picking up a seashell," she would order.

"Mom...I don't even pick up seashells at the beach."

"Just do it. You never know." I would sigh heavily and then pick up this imaginary seashell that was in the middle of the Goody's dressing room area. If the swimsuit gaped open, it was returned to its rightful place for other girls to pick up; probably girls whose parents read articles like the one above and "talked it out" like it was a matter of life and death.

Modesty was definitely a battle during my junior high and high school years; it is still something that I am not perfect at. I have realized, however, that parents have to be that voice of reason for girls. This whole, "it is her individual decision which dress to wear since she's presenting herself in a manner that she wants to be taken as" is Satan's greatest form of deception.

Truth be told, 15-year-old girls don't know what they want to present; I didn't realize what my clothing choices said about me, and I was quite naive to the fact that my decisions actually did affect other people. That's when it is important to have parents who stick it out and pray that you will come to your senses. They stand their ground even when you don't understand where they are coming from.

I appreciate my parents deeply for seeing me through some tough, stubborn times. Honestly, I had no idea what 'Ashton' I wanted to present to the world; that's why I am so grateful that they knew later on, I would want to be looked upon with love and respect, and they demanded it for me when I didn't demand it for myself.

I may have had a swimsuit that could have doubled as scuba gear, but past the bad tan lines, was their message of deep concern for who I would be one day.

So, in lieu of bluntly stating, "Put some clothes on!" (Which I guess I kind of just did...) I would just like to encourage parents and teens alike to see past the here and now. Yeah, being popular is great. Having the latest style dress is fantastic. But a short dress now becomes a shorter dress next year, and pretty soon all standards are out the window in the name of fashion.

It's time to enact the seashell test; according to Ronda, you never know when you will have to pick up a starfish.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ronda said...

Love you..we are so proud of you.

April 28, 2010 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger Cole said...

You are wise beyond your years my friend. Great post :) I did have to laugh at how you relayed the original seashell test story... still a touch of humor in an otherwise more serious post. Well done!

May 19, 2010 at 9:43 AM  

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