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Way back in time, just before I started first grade, my mom took me shopping. We bought red Stride-Rite buckle shoes because I wanted shoes like my friend Amy had. (Amy also had red hair, but I understood what was possible and what was not.) We bought dresses because that is what little girls were supposed to wear to school. I remember two of them, one I liked and one I didn’t. The one I didn’t like was plaid with a white collar and a bow. The one I liked was bright blue with a pattern of tiny oranges on it, white puffy sleeves, eyelet trim.

Then school started and I discovered a serious problem. On the playground in my dresses, my panties would show when I hung upside down. I’m not sure that I personally had an opinion on whether that was all right or not, but I do know that I was terrified of being teased about it. I asked for shorts to wear under my dresses because this was the going solution to the problem. My mom had a different solution: Don’t hang upside down. I learned from this experience and demanded pants when it was time for back-to-school shopping for second grade.

When I changed schools at fifth grade and suddenly had to wear a uniform every day, all the girls, including me, wore shorts every day under our jumpers. The following year when we were promoted to upper school and skirts, we wore our gym shorts underneath since the p.e. uniform was upgraded from an awkward one-piece jumpsuit thing to shorts and a t-shirt. We made fun of the new girl who wore a slip under her uniform skirt. And we envied the boys who got to wear pants, particularly in the winter.

I rarely hang upside down anymore, but I thought about all of this yesterday because I bought two skorts. Sure I could wear shorts, but that is not going to happen. I have my own personal fashion quirks and one of them is a law against shorts. There is something about shorts that convinces me even more than usual that my butt is roughly the size of the Great Plains. Skirts smooth that plain out, at least.

I like skorts. They’re practical and worry-free. I won’t have to think twice before bending to pick up dropped objects. I can cross my legs with impunity. My inner first grader loves it. That crazy woman on the bars at your local playground: probably going to be me.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
My little girl, who thankfully loves making energetic moves on the play structure, also inexplicably (*my* daughter?!) loves to wear skirts. So I make her wear shorts under them. Her father, who wrings his hands over all things remotely sexual, does not. Go figure.
Jul. 16th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
The most important part is that she loves to move. She doesn't choose shorts voluntarily? The playground may be a kinder, gentler place than it was when I was a kid. I loved wearing dresses and skirts (aspiring princess, but I've since recovered, mostly); it was my mom's intransigence that made me discover pants as a viable option. I like it that the little girls we were grew up to make coordinating dresses and shorts. And that we have expanded the role of princess from looking good and being rescued to more active pursuits.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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