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Watching the red carpet with kids... and stifling the snark

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Sometimes kids can be an important reminder of how to behave.

My 10-year-old daughter, Violet, loves fashion, so for the past couple of years we have enjoyed watching a bit of pre-awards show red carpet together. Our commentary is nothing like that of Joan and Melissa Rivers. Usually we oooh and ahh over how pretty the gowns, jewels, and hairstyles are. We pick our favorites, and really, I do try to keep it relentlessly positive. I don’t want my daughter to witness me being a catty Cathy. Or to become one herself. She internalizes and eventually repeats everything I say, so it’s important that I choose my words carefully. I would hate for her to harshly judge female appearance, especially her own. We spend all of this energy trying to teach our daughters not to be mean girls, then we do the opposite because old reflexes die hard.

Last night, I had a hard time choking back my bitchy thoughts. I may have let a negative comment or two slip in front of Violet. I also, possibly, might have said that strapless gowns are unflattering on most women, especially when they don’t fit properly. Only Jessica Chastain’s was impeccably tailored, I thought as I sat on the couch wearing a super-alluring fluffy robe. People in fluffy robes really should not throw stones. Clearly, I am no style maven. Just the other night, I attended a party for the Montclair Film Festival wearing a 10-year-old Tocca dress with a deep v-neck that dipped a bit too low. And anyway, why waste brain power constructing clever insults when I could be using it to… not construct clever insults?

Luckily, we put Violet to bed before Seth MacFarlane took the stage and the appearance of a winner in a dress I deemed too skimpy led me to pronounce: “Fabric exists for a reason!” Unfortunately, our 12-year-old son caught MacFarlane singing “Saw Your Boobs” before we bundled him off to bed also. And then I may have written a critical Facebook comment or two. Not that I am proud of it. Except, I stand by the one about the orchestra playing live from a different building. What was that about?

Anyway, next year I hope to do better. Probably I should start now. Every time I have an unkind thought while watching TV, I should think about my sweet daughter. And stop… hopefully.

How about you guys? Do you watch either the red carpet or some portion of the awards with your kids? Are you any more aware of minefields here than during any other joint event watching?


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