This column first ran in the Joplin Globe on April 25, 2004.

My wife and our 6-year-old daughter Emma had a fashion discussion the other morning.

Well, it wasn’t so much a discussion as it was a debate.

Wait, “debate” might not be the right word either. Let’s see, I’m searching for the most accurate word to describe the fashion discussion between my wife and Emma.

Oh I know… “fight.”

As I understand it, the fashion fight began because Emma rejected the dress that my wife handed her to wear to school. In my wife’s defense, this was the same dress that Emma had asked her to iron the night before.

But something happened to Emma between the time she asked my wife to iron the dress and the time the ironed dress was presented to her.

This was Emma’s reaction when my wife handed her the freshly ironed dress.

“I don’t want to wear that dress. It’s hideous.”

My wife’s reaction to Emma’s dress rejection, I thought, was fairly restrained.

“Fine. Go to school naked then.”

My reaction to Emma’s dress rejection?

“Well, at least she used the word ‘hideous’ correctly.”

Like most veteran husbands, I tend to stay out of mother-daughter fashion fights.

Most veteran husbands would rather get involved in the Middle East peace process than get involved in a mother-daughter fashion fight.

After the initial positions on the dress were established my wife and Emma exchanged several “I don’t want tos,”at least three “toughs,” 27 “fines,” and much stomping of the feet.

The stomping of the feet is the high point of almost all mother-daughter fashion fights. Here is the conclusion of  a typical mother-daughter fashion fight.

Emma: Why?

Wife: Because I said so.

Emma: But I don’t want to.

Wife: Tough.

Emma: FINE!!!

Wife: FINE!!!!

Emma: AHHHHHH!!!!! (STOMP. STOMP. STOMP.)

Wife: AHHHHHHH!!!!!! (STOMP. STOMP. STOMP.)

Me: Who wants waffles?

As it turns out the problem that Emma had with the dress in question was that it was “too puffy.”

Now, from a veteran husband’s perspective a dress that is “too puffy” is not a big deal.

But to a 6-year-old female person wearing a dress that is “too puffy” is like Britney Spears wearing a dress that is “too covery”.

Eventually my wife and Emma came to a compromise. Emma would wear the “too puffy” dress and my wife would let Emma wear sandals to school.

My wife’s decision to let Emma wear sandals to school was a major concession. Imagine if George Bush at least week’s news conference had said “Weapons of mass destruction? OK that was our bad.”

Emma had been wanting to wear sandals to school since…well since she had been going to school. But for some reason my wife had taken the position that Emma would not wear sandals to school.

I’m not sure why my wife didn’t want Emma to wear sandals to school. It’s possible that, at some point, my wife carefully explained her reasoning to me but it’s also possible that when I heard the word “sandals” I quit paying attention.

Veteran wives know that veteran husbands quit paying attention the minute a clothes-related topic is raised. Unless, of course, the clothes-related topic is lingerie. Then we’re all ears.

After resolving the fashion fight Emma came downstairs wearing her white sandals. As she watched me place a chocolate cupcake in her lunch box Emma politely asked if she could have two cupcakes.

Me: No.

Emma: Why not?

Me: Because I said so.

Emma: But I want two.

Me: Tough.

Emma: FINE!

Me: FINE!!

Emma: AHHHH!!! (FLIP,FLOP. FLIP, FLOP.”

Turns out it’s sort of hard to stomp your feet in sandals.