Vicki Wentz: Trying to address the dress codes
I read a newspaper column recently that bemoaned the … uh … slutaciousness of the clothing on young girls nowadays, and I was thrilled that someone out there is actually awake! And, upon this subject I must expand.
I am a teacher – not sure if I’ve mentioned that – and the outfits in which our children come to school today are so appallingly hussy-fied I sometimes don’t even know where to look. You moms and dads out there: Do you have ANY idea what your child is wearing? And, if you do, let me just ask: What. In. The. $%#!@. Are. You. Thinking?
As the parent of teenagers, I could always find clothes they could wear that wouldn’t give me, say, an aneurysm, and today is no different. If the that’s-all-there-is-out-there fantasy my child was spinning were really true, and I couldn’t find one single pair of jeans on this earth that weren’t too small for my daughter or too large for my son, and there were no blouses that actually had sleeves wide enough to hide a bra strap, plus everything from the waist up was see-through, and all the sweaters and skirts were too short, small and tight to … well … keep any secrets, if you know what I mean, then I would be calling, emailing, writing and haranguing loudly on a street corner for something to be done. (Or, if I could work a sewing machine without copious blood loss – and without resulting outfits that always bring “Heidi” to mind – I’d make outfits for them myself, and force the kids to wear them under threat of confiscated iPods!)
But, that fantasy is not true. It was used by a teenager one day, upon returning from the mall with an outfit her parents assumed was for her Barbie:
Mom (small frown, tsk tsk): “Dear, you could get a sun burn through that blouse, and you seem to have forgotten the other half of your skirt.”
Dad (spluttering, slack-jawed, face turning several shades of a chartreuse-like color): “B-b-…I-I-I-…di-di-…buh-fuh-duh-…”
Daughter (wide-eyed and whining): “Mo-o-o-om, this is all they sell now, I swe-e-ear! I couldn’t find one pair of shorts that covered my rear, or a single dress that would be acceptable anywhere but Hooker Street! I’m no-o-o-ot ki-i-i-idding!”
And, her parents bought it, and that one day changed the course of parental history. From that day on, it became acceptable for a young girl to wear clothes that are not only too revealing, too small and too skanky, but also are really ugly (and I am a veteran of the bellbottom, elephant pants years, so I know ugly); and, for guys to wear pants that are so insanely large that they must hold onto the crotch as they walk – NOT because it’s cool, but because otherwise the pants will literally fall to their ankles.
From there, things began spiraling out of control. We saw not just purple hair, black lipstick, “goth” garb and cigarettes (although, at least the cigarettes could be smoked — uh ... I mean taken away ... by their parents). We also began to see tattoos. Not just tiny butterflies hidden on the back of a shoulder, either. I’m talking big honking skulls, snakes and bizarre designs, along with various cute little adages like, “Die, M---F---!” and “Kill the B---!” Charming.
Then came the piercings. One or two – or seven – holes in the ear, on the nose, above the eyebrow, through the tongue (which, please, just shoot me), beside the lip, and who knows what-all is going on beneath the skimpy clothes. These will come in handy when they have children of their own, because they give babies something to look at and play with (grab … rip out) while they’re having a bottle.
Being a Gaga now, I naturally find myself wondering what it’s going to be like for these kids when they’re my age, and their grandchildren are gazing at that huge, cellulite-dimpled devil tattoo on Grandmommy’s thigh, or the jiggly barbed-wire ring around her upper arm, or, God forbid, the rose-petal on her breast that is now … well … long-stemmed. And, don’t forget Grandaddy’s lovely indelibly-inked phrases, which his grandson is forbidden even to say. Makes you think, huh?
On the other hand, when you’re walking down the aisle on your father’s arm, girls, how great will it be to have a nose ring chained to an earring under that veil (surprise!) or to talk so funny around your tongue piercing that no one’s sure if you said “In sickness and in health” or “Id tickbut ad id helf”?
Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her website, www.vickiwentz.com.