Thursday, June 2, 2011

Uniformly Awful.

The weather has turned hot and humid here, and that means it's time to put all the sweaters and socks away and bring out the summer wardrobe.
Now, summer clothing around here tends to run the gamut from "slightly less fabric than in January" to "please enjoy my butt-crack!". LOTS of people have not realized that just because it's comfortable, that doesn't mean it's right. Hairy armpits and sweaty flesh should be covered at all times, I don't care how hot it is.

Thing 2's school has a dress code, which I totally understand: 14 year olds shouldn't be in charge of anything, let alone how they dress themselves. (Although, I do think it is the prerogative, nay, the duty, of every generation to look ridiculous to the one before them.) Their shorts have to be "mid-thigh" length, and halter tops and spaghetti straps are not allowed. Fair enough, as long as the rules apply to everyone, and they are clear from the outset.
Thing 2, as you can imagine, is not so acquiescent. She was sent to the office yesterday because her shorts are 2" shorter than they should be, and she would like to fire-bomb the school at her earliest convenience.

I told her that she should thank her lucky stars she even gets to wear shorts.....when I went to high school, in the olden days, we had to wear a uniform. Imagine the horror! For the first couple of years, we had to wear a blue and black plaid, acrylic kilt. We could wear black or navy blue knee socks or tights, a white blouse or turtle neck sweater and a navy or black sweater or jacket. Black shoes were the only option allowed. Later on, we could wear navy pants (YAY! No more blue knees in January! Although they did fit in with the uniform.) or skirts.

Thing 2 looked at me with incredulity and dismay. She asked me, in a whispery voice full of sympathy and admiration, how my classmates and I ever lived through such a thing, much like I imagine people asked Nelson Mandela how he survived 27 years in prison.

We did what I think most teenage girls would do: we wore our skirts alarmingly short and played fast and loose with the interpretation of the word "navy blue".

We also used to wear jeans or pants to school in the winter, because it we do live in Canada and there' no way I'm wearing an 8" long kilt outside in -20° weather. The problem was, we had only one girls bathroom per floor in which to change....let's see: 150 girls changing per floor + one bathroom the size of a fridge = everyone's late for class. So we changed in the put your skirt on over your pants, then drop the pants and Bob's your uncle. Repeat the process in reverse when going home. The administration did not like this manoeuvre, they thought it was unseemly to have 1000 teenage girls changing their clothes out in public every morning, but since they didn't want to build 100 more bathrooms, they had to put up with it.

The kilts were made from an indestructible acrylic fabric that I think NASA should look into covering the Space Shuttle with. It was kind of itchy, but not terribly so, and it held a pleat for freaking years. It didn't stain, didn't wrinkle and didn't catch on fire. (And believe me, we tried. When my friend Kelly's older sister finally graduated from our high school, she had a commemorative "kilt burning" ceremony on the beach up at the lake. We built up a good bonfire and tossed the kilt onto it. That thing would NOT catch fire, in fact, it lay there for a disturbingly long time, completely unscathed, and then it melted. The next morning, all we found was a black lump of disintegrated plastic.) They were hot, though, and about as unflattering as a skirt could be. They gave everyone false hips and had a nasty habit of getting caught in your underwear without being noticed when you went to the bathroom.

I still like a nice, white blouse, but I'm pretty sure I've never owned another item of navy blue clothing since.

Thing 2 looked at me like I had just told her I had spent time in a Victorian orphanage, and never owned shoes.

She doesn't complain about her dress code so much now, and she's dialed way back on her plans for retaliation. I just hope she keeps her butt-crack to herself.

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