Dressing girls to attend bar/bat mitzvahs is hard work – not a job for the feeble or impatient Ninja parent!
Let’s face it – most Mutant Ninja Teenage Girls are completely preoccupied with how they look: they need to have a pretty – cool dress that their friends will approve of; they do not really care about what their parents think – save your breath – as our taste is outdated! Some of their greatest fears include: negative comments from their peers, dirty looks or even a greater faux pas – showing up with the same dress as another girl. Both of my daughters also believed that they had to have extensive dress collections; I stressed with increased quantity, there would be decreased quality (less expensive). These comments were met with rolling brown eyes! I also insisted that they could wear a dress a second or third time, but they were very concerned that they would be ‘seen’ in the same dress even 6 months later. Pretty much all I said was met with a scornful comment about how I did not know anything. (P.S. – After battling the whole bar/bat mitzvah season and with a few parties left, my daughters would end up sharing and trading dresses and shoes with their girlfriends!)
Shopping for the ‘right’ dresses was also extremely challenging because teenage girls do not want to have little girl dresses and they do not usually have the body size or shape for adult dresses. Not many stores carry dresses with these perfect sizes – thus, easy to end up buying dresses at the mall that other girls also bought (yikes). MN Teenage Girls are also not very nice to their mothers when they go shopping and yet we Ninja Moms persevere.
Mini short skirts and skimpy tops – also a battle item! We never saw eye to eye on what was appropriate, but I refused to let my daughters out of this house looking like 13-year-old prostitutes (sorry to be so blatant and tacky). Skinny girls (my daughters) get away with so much more than chubby girls (I was one of those and I can honestly verify that this is an accurate statement), but no matter the shape of your daughter, you and she will rarely agree on tightness, length or coverage! The more inappropriate a girl dresses, the more looks she gets from drooling 13-year-old boys and the more comments that are made by her judging peers and the carefully observing parents who are also at the bar/bat mitzvah. These memories definitely stick around – no one forgets a slutty dressed thirteen-year-old girl.
Footwear – Teen girls usually want to wear shoes that (1) have ridiculously high heels that they look inebriated walking in; (2) half way through the night are off their feet so that they can run and dance barefoot; and (3) make them so tall that they dwarf most 13-year-old boys. After the last bat mitzvah party, my daughter returned at 11:30 pm and actually asked me to massage her very sore feet. When I have refused to buy my MN Teen Daughter high heels that she really wants, she without missing a beat, has gone and purchased these painful and silly high heels with her own money. I remember how long my mom made me wait to get my first pair of corkeys (1978)! I also remember how excited I was and they were only an inch high platform.
Purses – My daughters always wanted to borrow my designer hand bags which I thought inappropriate and a really bad precedent. While I always stuck to my guns, other mothers saw nothing wrong with a 13-year-old adorned with their old or not so old Channel clutch, Prada or LV bag. I usually had two argument with my daughters: (1) other mothers may think it is okay, but I am not ‘other mothers’ and (2) you cannot have everything that you want! Each episode resulted in them wearing one of their ‘boring’ or ‘ugly’ purses that had no brand name or expensive sticker price attached to it. And no matter how many times, we argued, before each party, they would try each time to get their hands on one of the bags that I had said ‘no’ to before. I am always curious with parents who let their 13-year-old borrow an expensive designer purse – and even some who outright buy these bags for their daughters – what they are thinking? The message they are giving to their daughters and the other girls in their community about being entitled to very expensive material items that they did not earn nor are appropriate for their age!?!?!?
BOYS (A SHORT SEGMENT) – Once you convince Mutant Ninja Teenage Boys that they cannot wear jeans to temple, you have to lead them to the store and strategize with the salesman about the most appropriate suits for their size and build. Boys do not need a closet full of suits, but they need more support getting the suits put together with shirt, shoes and tie. Some boys have nice leather shoes but I see many that wear their sports shoes (Vans or Nike). Half way through a bat/bar mitzvah, boys usually end up with their shirts falling out of their pants, their jackets slung on a chair or thrown on the floor. I have had the blessing of friends with tall sons and even one with tall twin sons who have shared their handy-me-down suits with my boys and this has been very successful in quantity, quality and savings. Advice: Leave a large hem that can be let out as boy shoot up around this age!