Don’t Worry About Dresses



When I was a very little girl – before preschool – I liked to play Cinderella. I have an early memory of waking up, scuttling downstairs and reenacting every scene from the Disney movie as though it were happening to me. I would pretend to prepare and deliver breakfast for ugly stepsisters with a tray of books, to sing for make-believe birds and mice, and to transform into a beautiful woman. I would sport my favorite dress at the time and imagine myself attending the ball. And then I would call it a day…when you’re five, it’s less about prince charming.



Truth be told, I have never stopped dreaming about magic come to life. As a young woman, this often takes form in fashion, which is inherently fantastical and therefore, dramatic. And while most the time, it’s harmless, some of the time, it’s troublesome, as the discrepancy between vision and reality may lead to disappointment.



I fell victim to this absurdity during Rice University’s Centennial Celebration, the evening of the grand final.


I assumed the occasion would be formal. It was not!

Vivian Vance and Lucille Ball strike a pose in burlap, poking fun at fashion as they should.

My senses steered me boldly astray, here. I never questioned this assumption. Instead, I went shopping! And from here, things get hazy. I blame the dresses themselves. I was dazzled amongst gorgeous dresses and apart of me still doesn’t regret the day I spent inside the Tootsies dressing rooms.

It just had nothing to do with the event at hand.

I was told, “I heard some people are wearing what they wore to the tailgate that day…”

Having nixed the full length gown idea, I ended up wearing a new cocktail dress for all of five minutes until the zipper broke! The dress I ultimately wore was an old favorite, and soon-to-be become the world’s worst wine stain, when five minutes into the party, a friend embraced me while holding a full cup of red wine.

There are some evenings, you dream about looking a certain way, and feeling like, well, Cinderella. This was not a night to fulfill that old fantasy of mine. I imagine there will be others but perhaps the best night of all, the night I feel most beautiful, will likely be the night I planned to be no such thing at all. Spontaneity is kinder to the unassuming…and the humorous.

The best lesson is learning how to laugh off a wine stain, because  Cinderella never lasted longer than midnight, but a tenacious sense of humor lasts forever.

“LAUGH” I did, alongside old school chums nearing the end of the Centennial Finale.

In this spirit, I share F. Scott Fitzgerald’s telling list of things to worry about…and things NOT to worry about, given to his daughter, long ago. The advice is timeless and speaks for itself.

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about…

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:


(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?



I would add one thing: don’t worry about dresses.