Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Perfect Dress

Matric dances mean different things to different people.

For many teens it is the night to get drunk or take drugs. Some chops do both. For Frank and his mates Silas and Mondli in Confessions of a Virgin Loser, it's the night you get to pop your cherry.
But for Teen1, her matric dance is all about The Perfect Dress.
And so it is, that on a fine summer’s day, months before I've been approached by Mr Steve Vosloo of the Shuttleworth Foundation about writing a cellphone story for technology crazed young adults, Teen1 and me go looking for The Perfect Dress.
We find lots of dresses. Hundreds of dresses. In dozens of boutiques in countless malls. But they don’t fit right. They don’t look right. And they don’t agree with the limit on my credit card.
I tell Teen1 you can wear one of my dresses. Just like I wore your granny's best church dress to my matric dance thirty years ago.
Teen1 says you must be mental.
And so we find Louisa the Portuguese dressmaker in Bez Valley and ask her to make The Perfect Dress. She has nimble fingers and ruined eyes and says a girl who wants to wear The Perfect Dress must have coo-rage. And Teen1 says she has it. Coo-rage.
So Louisa sends us to Chamdors in Edenvale for red taffeta and we come back with red taffeta. And Louisa sews.
Then Louisa sends us to the Oriental Plaza in Mayfair for black lace and we come back with black lace.
But we also come back with a furry thing which is not black or lacy from the petshop next to the place where we buy the lace.
Hello Raisin you cute Oriental Plaza petshop kitten

And we come back with her sister.

Hello Otis who we couldn't leave behind at the pet shop

So Louisa makes The Perfect Dress. And I buy Teen1 a hairdo, ear-rings, bracelet, ring, underwears, dancing shoes, make-up and an after-party-dress to match The Perfect Dress. But no matching bag. I put my foot down.

Teen1 wears the The Perfect Dress with coo-rage.

What a perfect dress

And goes to her matric dance with a boy who meets her on the pavement outside the house and wears shorts with a dinner jacket. Weird.
She stumbles home in her skimpy after-party-dress with The Perfect Dress stuffed in a garbage bag with the shoes that give her blisters.

Next year I'm getting The Perfect Dress dry cleaned and flogging it on Gumtree. Along with some ornate French pillars I didn't use on my stoep, and some old textbooks I have no further use for. And the dancing shoes which look good standing still. 


  1. Bwahahahaha.
    Raisin is the perfect name for a cat. and otis' paws are a thing of wonder.
    and that really is the perfect dress. we never got to have after-party dresses, i'm quite jealous! We got just the one dress, with extra shoulder pads.

  2. Shoulder pads - you spoilt rotten thing you! I never even got a dress, just this beige crocheted thing of my Mom's. And we didn't get boys either - I went to a girls school so the matric dance was girls only - just in case we had sex or had fun or something.

  3. No boys! Unacceptible! Torture!

  4. Edyth. I think I am falling for you. It's the way you and yours keep rescuing animals. Look at Raisin's Friesland spots. Look at Otis's long beige socks. My heart is mush.

    Paige, we couldn't bring (male) partners to our matric dance BECAUSE we were a co-ed school. We were told we had to shut up and go with EACH OTHER. We grumbled, but it was fun. I made my own dress (I can't sew). The skirt was still okay, but I sommer slung two strips of fabric over my top and tied a halter-neck.

  5. Hecate, my carpets smell. But those kitties make my heart mush too - especially Otis's left orange leg. It's weird, it looks like it's been attached to her body. We loved her for it because Olive, her predeccesor was all ginger and it was like a sign...yes, we do get rarher weird when it comes to our cats)