Thursday, April 03, 2014

What Lies Underneath

There is a mom at my daughter's school who has close-cropped, platinum-dyed hair.  She sports plug earrings, multiple tattoos, wears short shorts, striped knee high socks, and Chuck Taylors.  She is slightly younger than me.

I sort of admire her.

And I know she will probably never approach me because she thinks I am somewhat of a stuffed shirt.  Perhaps she thinks I even disapprove of the way she dresses, because we couldn't be dressed more oppositely if we tried.

But she couldn't be more wrong.

For some strange reason, I have never managed to have my outside match my inside.  For clothing, I have always gravitated to preppy clothing that could be considered matronly, even when I was in my teens.

Back when I had a fabulous body, I never really showed it off.  If I had a denim miniskirt on, then I wore an alpine sweater and opaque tights with it.  I would wear a pencil skirt, but it was on the longer side and I had a big sweater with a collared shirt underneath.  Hmmm, I am sensing a trend here.   I was never comfortable exposing lots of skin, and one of the biggest fights with my best friend in my twenties was over the fact that I casually criticized her for wearing leggings with her shirt tucked in. 

I fanatically listened to New Wave, punk, and goth music, but in high school I am sure I looked more like a Lionel Richie fan.  Man, I hated Lionel Ritchie.  Although I will admit to liking "All Night Long."

I desperately wanted to dress a certain way in high school, which my mother was not really thrilled with, even though it involved long shirts with the collar buttoned all the way up and pants with boots.  I never got to own the right kind of boots, my mom was against the idea of buying me shoes that weren't for school or sports.  I remember though, finally being allowed to purchase (thanks Dad)  this black and white paisley big shirt. I had black leggings, and I think I wore them with some white socks and black oxfords to a school dance.  I couldn't have felt more fake or uncomfortable, even though I might have looked the part I was trying to play. 

And perhaps that was the problem right there.  I didn't really know what part I wanted at all, even though I thought I did.  I was an honors student and varsity sports player, and the clique of fifteen or so girls I belonged to was also made up of mostly honor student/athletes and we all dressed very wholesomely. But the only time we ever really discussed clothing was around formal dance time.  Maybe that was a by product of having to wear a uniform every day.

What part do I look now?  Oh, a minivan driving soccer mom, to be sure.  A lazy one, at that, who throws on capri pants and a shirt, along with shoes that MUST be no-heel slip-ons because right now I just do not have the time or desire to lace my shoes up.  I am too busy trying to wrangle my daughter's feet into shoes, much less having to worry about my own.

But I don't have a child who plays soccer, and I'm not sure I ever will.  I am certainly a mom, but one who blasts Linkin Park, Foster the People, and Phantogram out of my eight premium sound system minivan speakers, much to the delight of my son.

I bet that other mom would be surprised that I recognize the Social Distortion sticker on the back of her car.  Maybe one day I will blow her mind and mention it.

Because I'm a risk-taker like that.


J at said...

It's hard to dress how you feel when you get to be an adult, isn't it? Because really, I often don't feel like an adult. So when I dress like I should for work or so on, I feel fine, I feel professional and like I have that costume on. Not that I have to, working from home. Away from any work time, I tend to dress in fairly conservative clothes. Not because they match how I feel, but they look better on my late-40s body, and because I'm afraid I'd look like an idiot if I dressed more how I feel.

When I was younger, though, I definitely wore clothes that complemented my frame, were trendy and age appropriate. I'm glad I had that, since age appropriate isn't as much fun now as it used to be.

Anvilcloud said...

We all have our own way of being in this world. Sue is a somewhat flamboyant, cape-wearer. You could always start a conversation with that lady.

Nance said...

Go make friends with that mom! She just might be the kind of buddy that you need these days. Do it, and I bet you'll be glad that you did, if for no other reason than the fact that you challenged yourself and broke out of your routine.

I keep threatening to dye one little lock of my hair blue or green or pink or something simply as an act of denial. At the age of 54, I'm not ready to be staid and stodgy. My grey hair disappoints me. Why is it there? A bit of rainbow would distract everyone from seeing it, I think!

Break out, Gina. Do a little something different. Don't get lost forever.