Okay, now when you take into account that this was the eighties, I think I look okay. I think I look quite nice, actually.
My peers? Well, they didn't agree. They took one look and dubbed this a "Prostitute Dress". They teased me mercilessly for months and months afterwards. They'd sing the Sting song "Roxanne" whenever the semi-formal was mentioned and reminded me what an utter embarrassment I had made of myself.
When I think about this, even now.. I feel ashamed. Not of the way I looked or of my dress, but that I didn't stand up for myself more, and realise how baseless and unimportant all those mean words were. Almost-forty year old me wants to go back in time and give those nasty girls a real piece of my mind, and give sixteen year old me a hug and some badly needed emotional support.
When I see "best and worst of the red carpet" and other snark-based media articles in the news, when I see those sorts of "What was she thinking!" articles, when I see people inviting others to offer unsolicited critique on someone's fashion or makeup choices.... all I can think about is those mean girls.. and a vulnerable and awkward sixteen year old with a fragile ego who deserved a lot better from her peers.
I'm not sixteen any more and my skin is a lot tougher these days - but I vowed then that I wouldn't ever be one of those "mean girls" and, if I can, I'd ask you not to try and be one of them either.
We're all better than that, aren't we?