Make me better. Paint my fingernails and toes, and cut off the parts of my cuticles that always fray. Scrub away my calluses and my cracked heels, and pluck the single brown hair growing from my big toe that no one notices until I point it out.

Straighten my hair so you can’t tell there was ever a single kink in it. Put so much product in it so that nothing—not sun, rain, wind—can ruin its sleekness. Make sure it doesn’t smell burnt. The last thing I want is to smell burnt.

Whiten my teeth so they hurt and my gums bleed. Extract gunk from the pores of my face and fill the little holes with false promises and self-confidence dependent upon the validation of others. Dry out my T-zone with any chemical that does the trick. If my eyes get puffy, cover them with cold spoons.

Tape my breasts up and into perfect mid-sized dollops of fat and femininity. Put the best jewelry around my neck and my fingers and through my earlobes.

Force me into heels and teach me how to walk in them correctly.

Tell me I’m pretty. Tell me I’m the prettiest.

I don’t like this part of prom. ♦