Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Flop Dress

In my mom's closet, there hung a spectacular, sleeveless gown, white and beaded, perfect for Cinderella.  As a very little girl, I'd visit the Cinderella gown and wonder when I'd get to wear it to the ball.  One day, I asked, "Is that the dress you got married in?" "No, honey, that's Mommy's Flop Dress."  Wait a minute.   That wasn't the right answer. It didn't sound like something out of a fairytale.  "What's a flop dress, Mommy?"  "I wore it to the opening night of Daddy's Broadway play. The play flopped.  So we call it the Flop Dress." The Flop Dress hung in my mom's closet for many years.  I'm not sure if she ever wore it again. I have no idea what happened to it.

At some point, Cinderella's gown disappeared altogether.  But the Flop Dress, as it's known in my family, taught me so much about life's crazy ups and downs: I learned it's important to look incredible for all important occasions, and to celebrate the moment with all you've got, because here's the deal.  Even though you might not know it at the time, that moment may never come again.  In my dad's case, one day you've got a play on Broadway -- a huge accomplishment, don't you think? -- even though the audience howled, the critics panned it -- bastards! -- and the next, you're packing up to go home.  Sometimes the dream is just getting there, getting to a coveted place you may never visit again.  So you might as well enjoy it while you can.

I'm pretty sure everyone has a Flop Dress hidden in the closet, a fab garment that takes on symbolism the longer it gathers dust. I've worn some pretty spiffy outfits in my time.  Some of them, I kept, some I gave away, but they're still hanging in my imaginary closet, reminding me of all the moments I still treasure, hit or miss. (4-9-13)


  1. Mine are Flop Suits, the ones I wore to my previous weddings. Mercifully, they've disappeared. Right. Both the brides and the suits.

  2. That's what I'm talking about. Everyone has a version of this!