Debutante in the House




  1. young woman making her first appearance in fashionable society


Interesting that I could sire one of these.  In the south, this is tradition.  In Raleigh, apparently, you don’t have to have a prominent father to be one.  Her mother was, however, a deb although a few years before my time.

DJ made her debut last weekend at the 90th annual North Carolina Debutante Ball.  It was a hoot.  Great fun was had by all.

DJ brought a gaggle of friends from George Washington University to view.  Two were from North Carolina; they understood.  One was from the British Virgin Isles – she sort of understood.  One was from New Jersey and gay.  He did not.  In fact, although he was excited to come south, he wanted to make sure that we would let him into our state.  We assured him it would not be a problem and coaxed him with a promised trip to Bojangles.  From my vantage point, he was the funnest person at the event with perhaps the exception of Uncle Jesse who wore black basketball shoes with his tux (dad, I know funnest is not a word).

I’ve learned a few things through this process.

There are not a lot of long dresses in Raleigh, NC, for young women ages 13 – 16.  Some stores have like one.  If I was shopping for great grandma, we’d be good.  But teens, not so much.

We finally found a killer gown (never, ever thought I’d be shopping for a gown) for Stephanie.  It was WAY on sale and was missing a hook, so they took another 15% off!  Whoop Whoop!  I was stoked.

Then, I took it to get the hook fixed and to get it hemmed.  It had several layers.  The alterations cost more than the damn dress.

Like it cost $8 to get my pants hemmed, with a cuff.  And there are two legs.  So I was thinking it might be $15, maybe $20 for this little ditty simply because the material looked more dainty and complicated. Nah.  Try $80.  Un.

At one point in the weekend, DJ came downstairs to ask me which earrings to wear to our father/daughter luncheon.  She had one in each ear.  The left had a gold hoop.  The right had another gold hoop.  “Which one looks better?” she asked.

“They are the same.”

“Dad, one is thinner but a bigger hoop.  The other is thicker with a smaller hoop.”

“I don’t see why you own both of those.  They are the same.”

It was like me going upstairs to her room and asking if I should wear navy pants or dark blue pants.

She went with the thicker which looking back on it was a good decision.  Made the outfit, and everyone’s afternoon was better.

Did you know that high heels could make your toes bleed?  These were not parties that you could easily toss your shoes off.  There were like people with hose and stuff there.  So DJ kept her stilts on all night and when she returned home, the damage was done.  Jesse had the right idea, tennis shoes.

I also discovered that it takes three people to get a long dress zipped.  Of course, the wearer, who has to hold her arms up and suck it all in.  Then there is the zipper puller upper who also has to hold the bottom of the dress tight so there is tension for the zip.  Finally, there is the dress holder togetherer who grabs the two unzipped pieces of dress and tugs them toward each other so the zip puller upper can do his/her job.  Once everything is tightly secured, the pieces all seem to drop right back into place.  It is truly amazing.  It is like putting up the walls of a house.

I wore white tie, or full evening dress, to the ball.  This included gloves.  At first I thought perhaps they were going to make us play handbells.  Our church bell choir always wears gloves.  We did not play bells.  I’m not sure why we wore them.  It was not even cold.  Very inconvenient.  Do you know how hard it is to text with formal, white gloves on?

Regardless, we had a blast, and now my oldest daughter is available for marriage.  We already have her wedding dress.

Next week’s post will be about her dowry.  Please be thinking of eligible dudes.








I Made a Strapless Bra!

strapless bra

I turned a regular bra into a strapless model.  Not intentionally.  The stinkin’ straps fell off in the wash.  I mean, I went to pull a load of laundry out of the machine and this cantankerous garment had wrapped all around itself and around its peers.  I put 25 small articles of clothing in and pulled out one.  One large knotted up blob.

As I pulled the pieces apart, I realized that the bra was the culprit.  Who knew its strap was 108 inches long?  In the end, it had ripped apart and put the strangle hold around the yoga pants and the St. Mary’s t-shirts.  Poor things.

At the bottom of the machine, I found a half-moon shaped, curved piece of metal.  It looked like a piece of my car engine.

How the heck did that get in there?  “Girls, have you been messing with the carburetor?”

In fact, it wasn’t the carburetor at all.  It was a piece of the bra.  Who knew there was metal?  I always thought they were made of silk and girlie stuff.  Nah, they are reinforced up under the lace with the same thing they use to make grocery baskets.  Mr. T couldn’t bend it.

A told a lady at work about my problem with intimates.  The next day she brought me a bra bag.  She told me to wash them separately.

Like who does that?  With three daughters, that could be 12, 15 bras a week.  Imagine?  I’m gonna have to quit my job.  I can’t do 15 loads of laundry every few days just because this finicky underpant doesn’t get along well with others!

Imagine, dig them out of the laundry basket, put one in the zip lock mesh bag, wash it, dry it, repeat – 14 more time.  Consider what they’d say at my funeral:

Well, he didn’t do much for our community, but his girls always had clean bras.

My boxers love their friends.  Nothing makes them happier then to go swimming with buddies.  They’re so easy.  You can wash them with jeans, sweaters, sweatshirts, dress shirts, socks, dish towels – it doesn’t matter!  Hot, cold, warm!  Dry til your heart is content.  And they last for decades.

Why can’t they be more like a guy’s clothing?

If I was a bra, I’d be thankful I had a good job and stop being so picky.



Quick Change

black sabbath

It was like a Laurel and Hardy film.  Slapstick.  Lucy and Ethel.

Last Wednesday I woke the girls up as I normally do.  They don’t like fanfare.  I simply go into the room, turn on one lamp and yell out some silly, made up gibberish, “Boodi boodi,” or “Ep non duppi duppi,” or whatever combobulation of syllables happen to enter into my head at the gosh awful hour of 6:30 AM.  I am incapable of forming coherent sentences before 8 AM and even then I’m slow.

On this particular day, DJ fell back asleep.  I didn’t realize it until she darted by the kitchen bar at 7:43 with the crease of her pillowcase still embedded on her left cheek.  She was dressed in the same clothes she was wearing the night before when I last saw her – light gray yoga pants and a pink t-shirt.

Apparently, not long after she got to school she remembered she was to stand up in front of a group of people for some presentation.  She was specifically told she should wear something nice, and not have dried droll on her face.

Pondering her options, she walked into her student government adviser’s office and noticed an open Fed Ex package on the table.  It was an off white dress with bright birds printed all over.  This teacher is a bird nut, and DJ had found the dress online and suggested her favorite teacher make the purchase, “It looks just like you!”  The teacher had indeed followed her suggestion and ordered the item.  Unfortunately it did not fit, so she had it on her desk as a reminder to toss it back in the mail.

DJ grabbed it and headed to the bathroom.  It was an inexpensive outfit, DJ figured she could pay her back.  Unfortunately, it was awfully short on my 5’8″ daughter, more blouse, less dress.

Being an all-girls boarding school, she ran to a friend’s dorm room and nabbed a pair of tights to help cover her booty.

DJ’s car is similar to a Wal-Mart.  Along with cheese puffs, there are a plethora of shoes to choose from.

As she headed into her important meeting, she got a text, from Stephanie.

I forgot to dress up today!  I’m supposed to eat lunch with an important man who supports the school.  Do you have any clothes in your car?

DJ responded.

Meet me in the bathroom after 4th period.  Find some shoes.

Stephanie did.

At noon, DJ entered the bathroom in the bird dress, and Stephanie entered in sweats.  Three minutes later, DJ came out in Stephanie’s pullover; Stephanie was in the fowl frock.

One girl stopped Stephanie, “Did you and your sister wear the same dress today?”

When lunch ended, they met again to return all items to their rightful owners.

My brother and I didn’t enjoy this sort of wardrobe co-opt.  I was in a collard Izod; he was in a  Black Sabbath tee.  Neither appropriate for an all girls leadership event!

Awkward and Beautiful


Sometimes you gotta do stuff you don’t particularly want to do. For my ninth grader, it’s shopping for underwear with her father.

I don’t rotate mine as often as I should.  I just get so attached to them.

Perhaps it is my bad example that puts us in the panty pinch.  I have a specific test for tossing my intimates.  When jogging, it sometimes feels like my shorts are falling off.  If I look down and my pants are intact, I realize it’s my boxers that have gone south underneath my sweats.  Although preferable to the alternative, I’d rather the inner layer slide down while running down Ridge Road than the outer, this sensation is my signal:  this pair must go.  Elastic is such an important part of the underpant.

Stephanie came to me last weekend with an urgent need for an undie upgrade.  She reluctantly chose to hit the mall immediately, rather than wait for her aunt or another viable female to schedule a trip.

As we walked through the doors of Crabtree Valley Mall at 8 PM on a Tuesday night, she grabbed my hand, “It is so embarrassing to do this with your dad.  I so hope I don’t see anyone I know.”

“There are other things I’d rather be doing too, like digging or welding.  But baby, we’re just making memories.  Twenty years from now we’ll remember this night – our first trip to Victoria’s Secret.”

They had a sale, 5 pair for $27.  Finding her size and the style she liked was a challenge.  Although there seemed to be designated slots for each type, it looked like an underwear tornado had touched down on that table.  They were all mixed together.  It was like trying to find a specific pea in a crock pot of vegetable soup.

Men’s boxers are in packages, sized by waist.  Women’s aren’t.  Some mediums would have barely fit over my head (no, I didn’t try).  Others would have fit William Howard Taft.

“Stephanie, I think you need to try these on – we need a baseline.”

You’d have thought I’d suggested she run naked through the store.

“Dad.  I’m NOT trying on underwear at the store!”


I held each pair up, opening the waist to see if I thought It would fit.  In the end we bought ten.

I actually cherish these moments – the ones that other dads don’t get to experience.  They’re awkward, uncomfortable, funny… and beautiful.

I love some Michael Coors


It’s that time of year again.  Time to find the costume for the Winter Formal.  It’s in two weeks.  Both DJ and Stephanie have dates, which is no easy feat at an all girls’ school.  Appropriate clothing may be a more difficult challenge this year.

I took Stephanie to six dress stores last weekend.  If it had arm and neck holes, we tried it on.  Salesclerks give me the oddest stares.  I know they wonder why this dude is the sole adult with teenaged girls in their boutique.  I want to wear a sign across my chest:  Wife died, shut your pie hole.  Instead I try to act like I know what I’m doing, like Clinton from What Not To Wear:



“Fit IS everything.”

“A line, much better than the B line.”

After a frustrating Saturday, I sent DJ on the prowl.  Within 30 minutes of their departure, I got a text with a pic of THE dress.  I thought Stephanie had it on backwards because the zipper was in the front.  Why would you need a zipper in the front?  It’s not a jacket.  You ain’t gonna need to get it off in a hurry!


This weekend we tackled shoes.  I took her to a store I thought was called DWI – but it’s actually DSW.  There were so many shoes there it upset my stomach.  I was overwhelmed.  I felt dizzy.  I didn’t know where to start.

I felt like a bird; I headed for sparkly shoes.  That’s what she used to like.

“Dad.  I haven’t worn sparkling shoes since I dressed up like Snow White, Halloween of 2004.”

Although she told me, I kept being drawn to shoes with jewels on them.


I pulled boxes off the shelf,she tried them on.  I then took pictures and sent them to DJ.

She responded to my first text:  “Put them back now!  They actually made me throw up a little bit.”

They weren’t that bad.

We finally settled on two pair, both returnable, both by Michael Coors.  I liked that cause he makes beer too.

When we got them home, I was told one pair looked like a 50-year-old lady and the other like a Hay Street prostitute.

“Well she must be good because these puppies were expensive.”

The crazy thing is that when DJ returned from her first dance at St. Mary’s School, I asked her if her feet hurt.  Her response?  “Oh no.  We took them off the minute we walked in the door.”

I’m gonna send her behind in bedroom slippers.  Shiny bedroom slippers.

Bra Issues, Again

Victoria's Secret

We’re having bra problems again.

It’s prom weekend, and DJ found a pretty bright pinkish dress at a fairly reasonable price. I was excited that I wasn’t going to have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it.

But there was one hitch. The back of the dress had some holes in it which made it difficult to brassiere-ize, and she is not one who can go without.

I learned last year that they make these bras that aren’t really a bra at all. They’re like a bumper sticker that you put on your boobs. And…they cost $53!!!

I offered other more reasonable options:

“If you’re not going to get a real bra, couldn’t we rig something up? We could buy those face masks that doctors wear and tie them together. A pack of 25 for only $4.99 – and you’d be set for dances well into your sophomore year of college.”

She didn’t like that idea.

“I could fold my Dr. Scholl’s inserts, not these – I’d buy ones that haven’t yet been used, and hot glue them in a cupish sort of position.”

She just doesn’t have vision.

“Your sister can make incredible stuff out of Duct tape…”

We were getting nowhere. So I succumbed. We headed to Victoria’s Secret. The secret is they charge you $53 for a large band-aid.

After going to two of their franchises to find the right size, we got it home and she tried it on. And the damn thing fell right off. It was like making a jock strap out of a dish towel and attaching it to your body with Scotch tape. Sir Isaac Newton could have told us that wasn’t going to work. Nothing just cannot hold up something. And to make it worse, the sales clerk at the classified undergarment store told us if we removed the tape we could not return the bumper sticker.

Well we’ll see about that! I’m gonna go in and if they give me a hard time I am going to find the most endowed employee and insist that she go put that dag gone thing on and prove to me it can hold those items in place! It’s defective. It simply DOES NOT WORK.

And tomorow, I may have to buy a new prom dress. But that will probably be cheaper than the bra!




Daddy Vogue

jcrew tennis shoes

I don’t know if I’ll ever get remarried.  Perhaps in time, but I guess I’m not in a rush.

My mom says that she’s not going to die until I do.  If I want to keep her around, I should probably not – it might give her incentive to keep on trucking.

I have dated some.  The girls reaction has been funny.  They are supportive, but they find it difficult to believe that anyone would actually, without being under some sort of duress, would want to go out with me.

Me:  “DJ, I’m going out to dinner on Friday night.  Can you babysit?”

DJ:  “I guess.  What are you doing?”

Me:  “I have a date.”

DJ:  “Seriously?”

The seriously isn’t framed as I’m upset you’re going out.  The tone behind the word clearly conveys Poor, poor pathetic woman.  To be desperate enough to go on a date with my dad – even if he is paying.

Someone told me to try online dating.  There may be a day that I get to that – but it sure isn’t now.  I did, however, wonder what my profile might be:

Nearly 50-year-old widower

Skinny with slight love handles

Three teenage daughters (now that’s a selling point)

Works for a nonprofit ($$$)

Will always love his deceased wife

Might write a tell-all book about you at some point in the future

I mean, who wouldn’t be into that?

A few weeks ago I was heading out and went upstairs to give instructions to the troops.  DJ looked at me.

“Dad, are you meeting a woman?”

“Yeah.  Just a friend for a drink.”


She continued, “Dad, I like your shoes.”


“I also like your pants.”

“Thanks baby.”  I am so very, very cool.

“However, I don’t like them together.  Go change.”

I began my defense, “These are cool tennis shoes and J Crew cords!  We’re just going to a bar!  It’s casual!  Uncle Jesse has shoes like this!”

“No.  No he doesn’t.  This situation,” she pointed to my lower extremities, “is not working.”

I wasn’t about to let a 16-year-old dictate my wardrobe.  I’m a confident man.  She couldn’t tell me what to wear!

As I walked through the kitchen, I complained to Michelle, “Can you believe DJ told me to change my shoes?”

She glanced down from the iPad and down at my feet.  “Thank God.”

As I slipped on my boots I was disgusted with weakness.

I really haven’t dated that much and am in no big hurry.  It is difficult to find time.  But it is nice to occasionally hang out with females who aren’t married to my friends or whose primary concern isn’t acne.

Sit and Wait to Die


Once each beach trip, we make the dreaded trip to the Tanger Outlet Mall at Myrtle Beach.  Each family takes their own car because we never all want to return to the beach house at the same time.

As I was riding back to our beach house, my mom called.

“Hey honey.  There is a store here called Vanity Fair  They have all kids of clothes at good prices.  Especially underwear.   Training bras and stuff.”

“Mom, I don’t like that term.”

“What term?”

“Training bra.  You don’t train them.  You just put them in and they sit.”

You train a dog.  Maybe a show horse.  But I don’t think you train boobs.  They’re more Goldfish than Labrador Retriever.

You just put a fish in the tank.  There he sits, just waiting to die.  You don’t tell him to roll over.  There’s no “go fetch.”  The bosom is the same way.  No special tricks.  I guess it sleeps but that’s 95% brain and only 5% body part.

Why would they call it a training bra?  There’s no training jock strap.  It’s just a jock strap, size small.  Why do we put our daughters through this agony?  Now they think they’re supposed to do something miraculous.  They are not.  They just sit and wait to die.


Holes, Those Comfy Holes


I had a crotchial blowout on Monday.  I’m not sure what happened.  I just picked them up and there was a huge hole.  Perhaps I saw it coming and just didn’t want to accept it.  They are so special to me.  They’re my favorite drawers.  They’re comfortable.  They don’t bind me at all.  I feel so free in them.  The elastic is just right – loose enough not to leave a mark, tight enough to grip even on a man with a derriere deficit.

I don’t understand.  I remember buying these boxers when I got married.  I thought I needed some underwear without holes in them.  And now look what happened.  Only 18 years old.  They just don’t make things like they used to.

I asked my mom to patch the hole, but she refused.  Something about stitching not working on rotten material.  What if we’d have given up on her at age 18?   We didn’t throw in the towel just because she’s aging!

I thought about taking them to the tailor, she hems all of my dress pants.  There is a language barrier though, and I was afraid she’d think I was getting fresh.  Plus, her husband is big, and I was afraid if I handed his wife my underwear he’d hit me.

I just like comfortable clothes.

This is my favorite t-shirt.  Lisa forbade me to wear it.  She told me if she caught me in it she would throw it away.


Can wives do that?  Throw your stuff away even if you still need it?

I’m not sure, but I was too afraid to call her bluff.  I thought about putting it on to run a couple of errands and then keeping it in my briefcase so that there was little chance that she could toss it without my knowledge.  But that just seemed too cumbersome.  I did hang it on the back of the closet door right beside her robe.  It was sort of a warning:  Don’t mess with me … I’m a man.  I can put it on if I want.

And then, as I was putting on my favorite lounging pants this morning, my foot got stuck in the small hole I’d worn in the knee – rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiippppppppppppppppp.


Dag gone.  I was gonna keep the boxers and wear them with those pants – the pinnacle of comfort.  But now I’m afraid there is just too little material and too much Danny.

Seriously, I put those three articles of clothing on and it’s like warm milk from your mama.  It just feels right.  That ensemble is more comfortable than being naked.

Big Bliss

Every afternoon of my childhood, I’d come home from school and watch an episode of Gilligan’s Island.  Who didn’t love that show?  Ginger and Mary Ann were easy on the eyes, and Mr. Howell was my idol:  old, rich, and Lovey was hot for a 70-year-old woman.

Now a days, my kids are watching reality TV, and there is plenty to go around.

There is this one show on TLC where they take really, well, ugly people, and they make them beautiful.  It is amazing!

First they make them look in this HUGE mirror so they can really see how very unattractive they are.  The mirror encircles them.  They can see every single nook and fanny of their body.  That’s the sad part of the show.

Then they make them throw away all of their crocks and black socks and t-shirts that say “I’m with Stupid.”  It can be very emotional, these clothes and the ugly person have been together for a very long time.

Then they give them $5,000 and take them shopping in New York to buy some decent outfits.

These people are bad off.  They always cry in the store because they don’t know what to buy, and they can’t get the image of the big mirror out of their head.  But eventually, the hosts of the show come to their rescue.  It’s all up hill from there.  And every single time, without exception, they end up beautiful – I mean stunning!

I have a hard time sitting through the entire hour, but I make the girls promise to find me when they get all the ugly out.  It’s just intriguing.  I  think everyone should go on that show.  The world would be a much more pleasing place to live.

There’s another series where a bride-to-be comes in and picks out her wedding dress.  Everyone in her family accopanies the bride, and they fight about which gown she should choose.  It’s called Say Yes To the Dress.  And, it has a sequel for big women – Say Yes To The Dress, Big Bliss.  I wonder if the larger ladies know they are going to be broadcast on a show that emphasizes their enormity.  I would not go on Say Yes To The Tank Top, Tiny Biceps.

I have learned some things from TLC.  The other day Stephanie tried on a pair of shoes with a new dress I had bought her.  My reaction when she walked out of the dressing room?

“Those really make that dress pop!”  (That means they make the dress look even prettier).

I also pointed out that she might want to try layers if she wanted to look taller (Don’t ask me, that’s what Stacy and Clinton said).

I could probably be one of the hosts of these fashion shows, but I’d rather be drinking a beer with the Skipper.

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