The Ugly Dress

It was obvious I had made the wrong comment almost from the moment the words left my mouth. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Before telling you my story, there are three important details you must understand:

  1. I love her very much, but she’s only been part of the family for 8 months.
  1. I’ve never had a daughter before.
  1. It was Halloween, a detail to which I should have given a lot more consideration.

Here’s what happened…

It was around 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Bryson had just returned home from his very first day at a new job. He, Cindy, Gabriel and I were in the kitchen discussing the exciting details of his day when in bounced our perky, little blonde daughter-in-law, Victoria.

Now when I say “perky” and “blonde”, please know that I am in no way using either of those terms in a disparaging manner. Ever since she joined us in March, Victoria has provided a refreshing ray of brilliant, sometimes blindingly bright, sunshine into our lives. She rarely sees anything but the silver lining and for that we love her. We would not want her to be any other way.

When Vic popped into the room, our conversation stopped. She was all dolled up in a fancy hairdo, eye makeup, and a dress that evidently some folks might say looked a little old-fashioned. “Wow!” I commented without thinking. “That’s a really cute outfit.” And that’s when I had the first indication that I had said the wrong thing.

Have you ever had one of those moments? You know, the kind that seems like everything goes into slow motion? Awkwardness seems to suck all the oxygen from the room and people begin to clear their throats while looking in every direction but yours. Yep! That’s how it was.

Well, in typical Sonny Childs fashion, I totally ignored the giant pink elephant in the room, (My comment, not Victoria. Oh my, that could have been really bad if I hadn’t qualified my elephant remark!) and I stuck my foot even deeper into my mouth. Yep, I repeated the foolish compliment, but this time, just to make sure everyone in the room got the full effect, I said it with even more emphasis, “Vic, you look really nice. Is that a new dress?”

That’s when it happened. Cindy gave me the “look.” You know the one that every husband fears, the one that screams, “Zip it! You messed up in a really big way and, if you keep going, you’re liable to dig a hole big enough to bury yourself!”

Then Victoria started the lecture. First she glared at me. Then she did that funny little thing she does with her head when she’s about to put me in my place. Blonde hair bobbed back and forth, a pointy index finger jerked into the air and jabbed in my direction. “Sonny!” she said in a tone that made my name sound like a really bad word, “Bryson and I are on our way to a costume party and I am going as an ugly dress model!”



Now I admit it was a rookie mistake. After 31 years of marriage, you’d think I would have known better. Three things you never discuss with a woman: her weight, her cooking, or her outfit. But honestly, even after Victoria explained the costume, I still had trouble seeing it. Her nail polish was a little odd, but I thought the outfit really did look kinda cute. I guess that’s what a man gets for stumbling into that dark, forbidden zone known as women’s wardrobe.

I apologized for my thoughtless compliment and I’m pretty sure Victoria forgave me.

Moments later, she and Bryson headed for the door. “We better go!” she remarked. “We don’t want to be late for the party.” I waved, then from a heart bursting with a joy that only comes after being forgiven for a grievous mistake, I raised my voice in one last remark. “Bryson, I hope you and your UGLY wife have a great time tonight!”


James 3:2 (NIV) “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.”

At best, communication is a real challenge. Pay attention to the details! Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all.

Note: Sharing this Sonny Day Devo is a great way to open doors for conversations about God and His values. Just follow these simple steps: 
Print it off!
Pin it up!
Pass it out!
Prepare for conversation!

OnOurWayToHeavenThe story above was taken from the book, “A Funny Thing Happened On Our Way to Heaven” by Sonny Childs. In the spirit of those chicken soup books, this collection of 52 short stories is sure to inspire.

To purchase your copy, use the buy now button below.