I was so excited when my daughter was invited to the prom by one of her best friends and the nicest guy on earth. She went with her girlfriends to buy a dress but came home empty handed. No big deal, there was lots of time and lots more stores.

Over the next few days she went to most of them. I started getting text messages. “Mom, they don’t have anything at Nordstrom. Where else should I go?”

“Try Macy’s.”

“We did already.”

“Lloyd Center has some good stores.”

“We’ve been to all of them. Nothing.”

I wasn’t bothered because I knew there were lots more places, and worst-case scenario we’d go to bridal stores or order something online.

Today I went with her to several stores. The problem isn’t so much a lack of dresses, although I’m not sure who’s designing these things. Who wants a dress that starts out light green on the top and progresses through several shades to dark green at the bottom? Since when is tie-dye associated with formal wear? We have lots of tie-dye stuff around here – my daughter went through a phase – but none of it is dress up, and all of it is ugly.

The other thing about these dresses is that they’re so revealing. Dresses for 17 and 18 year old girls are scooped out almost to the you know whats or plunging toward the belly button. Some have the mid-section cut out with see-through fabric. There are lace-up backs that look like something old west women of the night might have worn. And the gaudy fabric. Oh my gosh! It’s like a marriage of Wal-Mart and K Mart with not an inch of fabric unblemished by some shiny cheap glued-on silver stuff or woven-in sparkles.

This is what my daughter told me the dresses looked like, and I didn’t believe her until I saw them for myself. Even the really nice Nordstrom ones are super-revealing or else they look like something an old woman would wear to some kind of country club installation dinner.

However, there were a few darling dresses in my daughter’s size, and she tried every single one of them on. They would have been cute except for one structural curse that many women, especially in LA, have paid thousands of dollars to get augmented but my daughter got genetically. Let’s just say that when she looks down, she can’t see her feet. Her girls cannot be contained in a normal prom dress. She needs a size 12 on top and a 6 on the bottom. No manufacturer has the good sense to design like this, even though everywhere you look girls have amassed disproportionate endowment these days, so we tromped from store to store and dressing room to dressing room for hours with nothing to show for it.

At one point, frustrated, my daughter got testy with me, and I got testy back, and she said, “I hate the stupid prom,” and burst into tears. I wanted to say, “Don’t get mad at me, blame your dad’s side of the family. You sure didn’t get it from me,” but for once I had the good sense to keep my mouth shut and suck up my irritation and comfort her so we could press on. We came home with two dresses that will do if we absolutely can’t find anything else, but one is not a good color and the other would require alteration.

I just spent the last two hours browsing websites but since we only have a couple of weeks, I’m scared to order anything. I made a list of all the bridal shops in a 300 mile radius and I plan to gas up my Prius tomorrow and hit the road – and I’m not coming home until I have a freaking prom dress – or a bunch of them on hold all over the state so she can try them on.