The Man Repeller

The dress. AKA the MAN REPELLER

Last week I was sitting in a cafe, keenly listening to a couple of schoolgirls at the table next to me, as they discussed their school formals. As I inhaled my caffeine fix for the day, my mind drifted back to a simpler time……

The year was 1987 and I was a Year 10 student. A boy from one of the local schools took a fancy to me, despite me being a full head taller than him, and asked me to his Formal. I was at an age where boys were beginning to be mildly interesting and I was fairly sure I was ready to do some full tongue pashing with an object that was NOT my pillow, so I gleefully accepted. 

I told Mum that we needed to get cracking on an outfit. She told me…. get this…. she told me that I could wear my older sisters formal dress!


My older sister Mrs Ryan, was not a fashionista. She has designed her dress based on a pattern picked out of a big book from a fabric shop, them proceeded to select the most god awful materials to go into the dress. The whole thing was made up by Mrs Gascgoine, a lady in our suburb that owned a sewing machine. I think Mrs Gascgoine charged $35 to make the dress.

I refused to wear the dress, so Mum said I couldn’t go. My hormonal urges far outweighed my fear of public humiliation so the evening arrived of the formal and I was going, in the dress.

Mum’s friend was “good at makeup” so volunteered to give me a makeover. I was thinking a little electric blue mascara and some frosted pink lipstick, but she had other ideas.

She styled herself according to the Jackie Collins Book of Glamour and gave me the works. I had the brightest purple eyeshadow ever seen, which she swept up under my eyes, as well as on the lid, until they met at the corner of my peepers in a dramatic flourish. Teamed this with a popping orange lipstick and some pink blush. My hair was done in a “french roll.”

The doorbell rang. It was my date. And his mother. I took one look at his crestfallen face and knew I had blown my chances of getting a little “over the dress” action. Because no one wanted to touch that dress. Let alone be seen with it.

I spent the evening sitting at the table, watching the girls in their white strapless dresses, pashing their partners on the dance floor, thinking “That could have been me….”

But there was one fella sitting at my table. He too, was watching the dance floor pashing. Namely HIS partner leaning down pashing MY partner with such ferociousness, it was alarming to say the least.

My lesson was quickly learnt. Do not wear a dress that doubles as a chastity belt.

Tell me about YOUR formal?
And spare no details about the dress!