Friday, April 16, 2010

Ms. Dress-up

I am a dress whore. I am dress greedy. I have two dresses en route and am already coveting two more, which had I waited two days to order new dresses, I would have made drastically different selections:

Isn't this cute?
Like the sort of thing you'd wear on a picnic.


This dress was out of stock forever.
Of course now that I'd given up on it, it's back up for grabs.

Everyone I know always comments on the fact I am sans pants. Sometimes it's just an observation that I am only ever seen in dresses. Other times it's teasing and mild grief. Mostly it's considered unusual. And I suppose it is. Most women these days enjoy pants.

When I was a little girl, I had a friend who wore dresses every day. I never wore them. Somehow I took it as an affront to my notion of feminism (Yes, I have always been a feminist, even at 8 years old) that a girl would want to wear pants. Of course, that was simplistic feminism (Hey, I was only 8, give me a break), the kind that sends the message we're as good as boys and hence should be doing what they're doing, rather than celebrating what we do differently and making our own choices based on what we actually want.

I gave my little friend the same grief I occasionally get, confused by her lack of pants, and the freedom I associated with them. But she waved me off. She liked dresses, they made her happy, end of story. Nearly 20 years later, I see her point. Sure, in a dress I can't do cartwheels downtown Toronto, nor can I sit with my legs splayed open on the subway, but somehow this doesn't concern me too much. I never could do cartwheels anyway.

I rarely ever wore my kilt in high school. Girls won the right to wear pants while I was in grade nine. In grade 10, I started rocking the pants. I may have worn the kilt a whopping one dozen times for the remainder of my high school career, and I did OAC (grade 13). Mostly I used my kilt as an aide to change into my jeans in the hallway. ***

Incidentally, I've kept the kilt. It definitely does not fit anymore, at least not like it should. Such is life. I bought it on the smaller side to begin with when I was 13 (I'm not sure why I did that to myself), and the need to fit into it I think probably had a big hand in why I was able to continue to do it up until I graduated. Frankly, it was a bloody miracle. I try it on from time to time, to gauge my bodily changes and weight gain. It's like wearing a mother-effing corset.

Had I been the sort of person then that I am now, I would have said to hell with the pants and bought a more practical size that would have gone the distance. Then at least now I'd have a backup cliche Halloween costume each year I get lazy.

*** Going to a Catholic high school means changing into your street clothes as soon as possible after school. Washrooms fill fast. To do away with crowds and waiting around, you change in the hallways. You put your kilt on, take off your school pants, and then put on your jeans. If you're a boy and possess no kilt, either A. haul ass to the bathroom, or B. get comfortable with everyone seeing your underwear. You'd be surprised how many boys chose B. There's an image of purple polka-dot briefs I will never be able to erase from my memory.

PS, I came across this recently and it's a giant dose of WTF, particularly the end of the story. This mother has some serious mental issues. Good luck figuring out life, kid. With a mom like that, you're going to need it.

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