Tutu Memories

In headline news today at Yahoo there was a story about a little boy in a tutu. Apparently it’s been going viral. The kid was adorable.  But headline news? viral? really? I don’t get what the big deal is. Who wouldn’t want to be a fairy princess!

I was a little jealous of his cute tutu, actually, and it took me drifting down memory lane to my first experience with this coveted wardrobe item. I must’ve been around 4.  All the other little girls had them and I wanted one too, in the worst way. Both my grandmother and my mother sewed very well, and I don’t remember whether it was my mother or my grandmother who concocted this particular custom-built monstrosity for me; a pathetic looking Pepto-Bismal-colored unitard with a padded, attached stuffed animal version of a skirt that flopped heavily halfway down my legs.  I’m sure it was well-made, as far as seams and fit were concerned, but it was a sad facsimile of a tutu.  As Nina Garcia of Project Runway might have expressed had she had the pleasure of seeing this walk down the runway, “It’s well-made, but I question the taste level.” But it was the only one I had, and I know I wore it at least once.

I finally got to wear a real tutu when I was 12.  I had been taking ballet at a dance school that had two big annual events. One, the annual recital, and Two, Picture Day. Picture Day was when a professional photographer came in and every little girl enrolled there was given a tutu-rimmed ballet costume to pose in, and then they charged our parents a small fortune to order a selection of prints in different sizes.

My father liked the picture. He told me I looked beautiful and graceful.  I thought I looked like a dork. So did my brothers, of course. But that picture stood in a prominent place in my parents’ home for many years, well into my adulthood.  Many people who have visited their home since have felt free to comment on the photo.  And “beautiful” and “graceful” are not the words they use.  Fortunately, that picture  has been packed away since my parents moved out of that house over 15 years ago.  Double fortunately, Facebook was not around back then.

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