Well, friends, are you sick of hearing about my ongoing existential crisis yet? I’m certainly tired of having it. But don’t worry—the cavalry is coming. Therapists! Doctors! Masseuses! Buddhist authors of self-help books! If I just pay enough expert professionals to help me solve my problems, it will all turn out okay. Maybe my ever-present headache will finally dissipate.
Meanwhile, I have received the annual communication from the school that arrives on the first warm spring day. This year, the new Assistant Principal tried to hit a light-hearted, funny, and gender-neutral note, but the underlying message hasn’t changed: Don’t let your daughters come to school dressed like sluts.
I mean, I get it. I don’t like to see 12-year-old girls wearing shorts that don’t cover their butts either. I don’t like it when I see grown men ogling young girls in butt-revealing shorts. I don’t like it that young girls view butt-revealing shorts as a path to peer- and self-esteem. I especially don’t like it when I take my own middle schooler to the store and find that butt-revealers are the only options being offered in the girls’ department.
Actually, though, my youngest is now the size of a skinny grown-up. She’s taller than I am. Her preferred warm-weather garb is a pair of knee-length cargo shorts from the boys’ department and a loose cotton t-shirt. I am glad, so very glad, that she hangs her identity on something other than the quantity of skin she can display.
It’s not because I forbade butt-revealers. She never wanted to wear them. She wants to be comfortable and she wants to have pockets to carry stuff. So you can stop lecturing me, Assistant Principal, because my daughter’s clothes are as modest as you could hope for in these debauched modern times.
And I can’t get all that worked up about the other girls wearing short shorts and spaghetti straps to school. Maybe we should stop attaching so much meaning to the bra strap showing under the tank top of a girl who wants to feel the sun on her shoulders. This is Seattle. They need the vitamin D, okay?