NEWSWEEK: I Loved My Dress. My Fiancé’s Ominous Reaction Was a Warning Sign

When I was newly engaged in 1986, my grandfather sent a Christmas gift of cash. I knew just what to do with it. There was a strapless, red sequined dress with a chiffon ruffled skirt in the window of a Santa Monica boutique that I’d been eyeing for weeks.

After working my way up from receptionist after film school, I became the west coast production manager for a commercial and music video company on the legendary Sunset Boulevard. For a girl from Ohio, I was living the dream. This dress was my destiny. It was sexy and sparkly and sophisticated–everything I always wanted to be.

Unfortunately, my salary barely covered my rent-controlled apartment by the beach and the big-shouldered suits that camouflaged my figure at work. No way could I afford such Madonna-inspired splendor. But thanks to my grandfather, I could swing it for Christmas.

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