Tag Archives: Monday Memories

Monday Memories: Dress Codes

This week on Monday Memories we are writing about dress codes. I am not going to lie to you. This is a tough one for me because I never really had any dress code issues growing up. I do remember, when I was a kid, a big controversy over whether or not our school should adopt a school uniform policy. For a while that was all the rage in public schools across America. I remember my parents debating its merits and it’s disadvantages. I think, mostly, they didn’t want to have to pay for the uniforms. I thought uniforms would take away student individuality. Looking back on it, as an adult, maybe a uniform wouldn’t have been such a bad thing. I never had the clothes or brands that all of the cool kids had: dockers, esprit, jeans and shoes that weren’t from the boy’s department (my parents claimed they lasted longer). Maybe I would have been cooler and the uniform would have acted as a great equalizer. Probably not though, because I still had wild, untamed, frizzy hair, braces, and bad skin. Still. If everyone looked the same at least they’d have to rely on personalities and wit to stand out, right? Not that I would have stood out with mine because I was shy and my wit was reserved for the couple of people who had made an effort to get to know me well. Still, I like to pretend that a Catholic school girl costume uniform would have transformed me into a California-Barbie, popular girl-type over night. Sadly, that is probably every teenage girls dream.

As an adult I have donned many uniforms. Most of them included black pants and black shoes. That seems to be the go-to clothing choice for minimum wage employers everywhere. By the time I graduated from college and wormed my way into a professional job there were new rules to follow: no perfume, no sleeveless shirts, no open toed shoes, no cleavage. I worked with young children. I wore sneakers with dress pants and sweaters with cartoon characters. I had arrived.

Many people make jokes about the “mom uniform” which used to be sweatshirts and mom jeans, but now includes yoga pants and martini glasses. Sometimes you can get away with cute pajamas and fluffy slippers. No, seriously, I see moms shopping at Wal-Mart like that all the time now. Over this past weekend I actually saw a mom wearing jeans and a bra with a jacket over it. I was impressed that she didn’t even worry about finding a semi-clean shirt in the dirty laundry to throw over her half-naked body. Maybe she just forgot to. Motherhood does some strange things to your brain. Of course, nobody called the fashion police on her. She wasn’t arrested for indecent exposure. No school officials sent her home for being a distraction. It seems nobody minds seeing an adult woman in a bra shopping for eggs in the dairy department. That is celebrated in our culture, at least it is until she gets raped, or beat up, or left for dead somewhere. Then, then her clothing choices are a liability.

This whole dress code topic came up after Quirky Chrissy watched a video about a little girl getting in trouble for wearing a shirt and skirt with tights to school. I’ve watched the video several times and I can’t figure out how her outfit was a problem or a distraction. It kind of blows my mind that teachers and administrators were concerned over this little girls clothing. She just looks like a typical kid to me. Sometimes, in this world we live in, I get the feeling we make a big deal out of all of the wrong things. Kids are going without food, having trouble learning, and killing themselves after being publicly humiliated by other students. Meanwhile, we’re all up in arms over a little girl wearing little girl clothing to school? It baffles me. I want to shake people awake. We need to get our priorities in line. The authorities said this little girls midriff was showing. The mom said all they had to do was pull her shirt down (what 7-year-old kid doesn’t have a few wardrobe malfunctions on a daily basis?). I wonder, why are adults, in a school, sexualizing a 7-year-old girl? Her classmates don’t care if her stomach shows a little. Her stomach is just a body part…like an elbow. The students are 7 years old…come on!

You can watch the video here.

I have a feeling that the boys are almost never singled out for what they are wearing. Only the girls are. It makes me angry. Probably because I have a daughter who wears skirts and dresses every single day because she wants to. She likes skirts and ruffles and Hello Kitty. Girls and women are constantly being judged for their clothing. It’s ridiculous. It’s even more ridiculous that it happens to a 7-year-old kid. Not to mention, children don’t think about stomachs being sexy, adults do. So, I am wondering, what are these administrators thinking about when they call a 7-year-old girl with a stomach sticking out a “distraction” and why? That part gives me the creeps a little. Also, shouldn’t the punishment for distraction be placed on those being distracted? We can’t control the minds of other people. We can’t control their behavior. How can we blame a 7-year-old girl for distracting the other students just because she is wearing clothing every other little girl in America wears on a daily basis? Seriously, it baffles me. It worries me. These are subtle messages we are giving our kids. Messages that lead to people not taking responsibility for their own behaviors long into adulthood.

Our culture is too obsessed with what things appear to be and not obsessed enough with what things actually are. Yes, dress codes serve a purpose, but I am pretty sure they weren’t put in place to humiliate a powerless child. This sort of thing says more about the adults involved than about the child. Unfortunately, she is probably too young to understand that. Instead, she gets to be the little girl, who didn’t do anything wrong, that was singled out for dressing inappropriately and ended up on television. You can’t tell me that won’t affect her self-image or confidence going forward. This is what we should be paying attention to. These subtle and not so subtle messages we give our daughters (and sons) about their place in society. These messages do not further the notion of equality in our culture. Why aren’t we trying harder to change that instead of focusing on a little girls Hello Kitty outfit?

 

Quirky Chrissy is writing about dress codes and this video on her blog today too. Check it out by clicking on the box below.

Monday Memories

 

Monday Memories: Collecting People Like They Might Disappear

Monday Memories: Random Dog shot
Random dog shot to make you smile, unless, of course, you prefer cats.

When I was a kid I collected people. Yes, this is a weird Monday Memories submission, but aren’t they all? When I was a kid I collected memories of people, in the form of objects. I was pretty sure I might not see people again, that they might disappear, so I kept things that they gave me just in case. So I could remember them. I mean, I was too little to own a camera. Plus, back then, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, cameras had film that had to be developed. I doubt my parents had any interest in paying to develop all of the knee shots I would have taken of people. Of course, if they had given me a camera, this would be a weird post about all of the pictures of knees I had collected as a child. I’m not sure if that would be better or worse than what I am about to tell you. Either way, I’m pretty sure you are going to be referring me to the men in white coats after reading this nonsense of mine and I don’t blame you one bit. I mean, I’ve been called eccentric more than a few times over the course of my life. Anyway, lets get this over with. Nobody likes a whispering rambler.

I collected sticks of gum once to remember someone. Let me back up here a bit before I sound even crazier than I probably already do. When I was born my mom was only 18 years old. We lived with her parents (my grandparents). When I was three my mother married my dad. Well, he was my step-dad technically, but since I cannot remember before he came into our lives, and I have never met my biological father, he was my dad. If you ever hear me (or read me) talking about my dad, it’s my step-dad because, in reality, he was my real dad and always will be.

Still with me? So, my dad was in the navy and we moved a lot. A LOT. So, people would come into my life for a few years, we’d move, and I’d never see those people again. Some I would see again, but years later, and to a small child, that might as well be forever. I mean, two years to a five year old is like 25 to an adult.

So, sometimes I kept things that people gave me.

Like sticks of gum.

For years.

I had a secret box that used to be a sewing kit and I kept all of my people memorbillia in it. It was a strange cardboard box covered with pea green and pink flowered fabric. It had flaps that folded, in an odd and elaborate way, that created a cover you could never lose. I might put a movie stub or a button or a sticker that someone gave me into that box. It moved with me a few times. The gum got really stale and hard. Then it got sort of brittle. Finally it turned into a melty, sticky mush that had to be scraped out of the box. I had the same problem with a few candy bars too. I saved cards and shoelaces and pieces of lace. Some items were given to me. Some were just things left behind that I placed into my pocket for safe keeping. Maybe I was a bit of a memory thief? I don’t know for sure. I also kept money that people gave me. It was too special to spend or to put into my piggy bank. So, shiny quarters held a special place in that box alongside the sticks of gum and melted candy bars.

For all of my collecting of people and saving of memories, I have no idea what happened to that box or it’s contents. One day I must have outgrown my need to save objects to remember people, or maybe I couldn’t remember the people anyway and so the objects lost all of their significance. I’m not sure, really. All I know is I collected people like they might disappear and in the end they disappeared anyway or got thrown away with rotting sticks of gum. All of that saving for nothing!

Still, even now, I am very sentimental about things. I keep books, and pictures, and little notes that people have given me over the years. I have them stored away in plastic bins in my basement. I have my own mini time capsules. One day we will all disappear, but there will be a record of all the people who touched my life, waiting to be discovered in the basement. I feel a little sorry for Tiny-Small because she will likely be the one forced to wade through it and wonder why her mom kept napkins with notes from old boyfriends and gum wrappers and Chinese fortune cookie fortunes and locks of hair. She’s going to feel like a bit of a time traveler and will likely marvel that people ever wrote things down on paper at all.

Want to read some other Monday memories? Click on the box and visit the amazing and funny Quirky Chrissy.

Monday Memories

Monday Memories: My First Date

Monday Memories first dates
Tiny-Small helping me draw a picture depicting my first date, at least the parts I actually remember

For Monday Memories this week I am going to tell you all about my first date. I was only 12 when it happened. I am not even sure it was a “real” date, but that’s what all of the adults kept calling it. I was moving from Maryland to Connecticut the very next morning. One of my best friends, Kevin, took me to the movies. I can’t remember the movie, but I do remember the white, ceramic unicorn he gave me after the movie. Actually, maybe it was a ceramic cat holding a ceramic ball of yarn. It’s a little fuzzy because it happened twenty-five years ago. So, I guess even the parts I remember most, I really barely remember at all.

When I was a kid I’d always stare in wonder and awe at people who would say things like, “I’ve had this shirt for ten years.” or “Twenty-five years ago I was living in Dallas.” I mean, when you are ten years old those kind of numbers seem impressive. Now, I get to be the one being impressive with my seemingly big numbers. My oh my, have things changed.

Monday Memories first dates
Cat vs. Unicorn a memory of ceramic gifts (things that are important to a 12-year-old girl)

Here I am, twenty-five years later, trying to remember my first date, which should be burned into my brain, but isn’t. Maybe that is simply because it wasn’t a “real” date fueled by romance. It was just a couple of friends trying to commemorate the last day we would likely ever see each other again. I was on the verge of moving to a new state and starting a new school. I was probably more focused on wondering if I would be able to make new friends or fit in well. I clearly wasn’t focused on remembering every detail of the nights events.

Still, that first date was memorable. There is one awkward moment where I think Kevin attempted to put his arm over my shoulders or on the back of my seat or something, but instead, his arm came crashing down on my head and scared me to death. I spent the rest of the movie sort of wincing and bracing every time I felt a shift in the air or a movement beside me. Kevin was a good friend. He and his brother taught me how to play four square and how to throw a football.I have some really clear memories about that.

Even though I can’t remember much about the date, I do remember feeling important and special at least…that’s probably what matters most anyway, right?

Monday Memories colored by Tiny-Small
Tiny-Small making this picture “better” with her artistic additions.

Before I moved, my friends and I vowed to keep in touch. I still have a few of the letters they sent me, but after a while we all got busy and lost touch. I made new friends in Connecticut and never heard from my first date again!

Do you remember your first date?

Check out Quirky Chrissy today and read about one of her “Firsts” by clicking the box below.

Monday Memories