I would be the first one to admit I may not be an expert on the topic of function over fashion. I for sure wear skirts all summer while camping and the first thing I choose to throw on in the morning is some type of dress. Really it’s because with a dress you only have to put one thing on, not try to coordinate anything with anything else. See? You thought I was high maintenance. I’m really just lazy. Ha!
So I admit to being a girlie girl and loving clothes and enjoying the creativity involved with getting dressed. I do. But seriously, what I saw walking to high school today after dropping my boys off at the middle school that is only one football field away, I was ….what’s the right word….shocked? No…sad. Yeah. I was sad.
I have 3 boys and I like to think that I’ve raised them to be gentlemen. From their very early years (we’re talking year one!) we have insisted that they treat all girls, in their age range-ish, like sisters. This means sticking up for them should they be getting picked on, as you would your sister. (If they had one) This means speaking respectfully and appropriately in front of them, as they would a sister (or mama, or grandma). This means speaking respectfully OF them, as they would a sister. (the words hottie or chick will simply not fly in this house, nor will books like diary of a wimpy kid which use this kind of language towards girls) And perhaps stressed the most, it means looking at them like they would a sister. If they wouldn’t want to see a sister dressed a certain way, they should not be staring at other girls dressed that way.
I know they get this. I see them all turn their gaze to the Purdy’s chocolate store as we walk by La Senza in the mall with their larger than life posters of vivaciously seductive women and their intoxicating…um, parts. They know that bouncing their eyes is not a natural response, but a learned one and they’ve learned it well. I’d like to give my boys props for this. A shout out. A standing ovation, even.
But dear lord almighty, how, oh how, are they going to be able to do this through high school? With what I saw today? I consider it almost impossible.
Now before you get all, ra ra girls can wear whatever they want and boys need to learn to control themselves on me let me just state that in a perfect world, yes. That would be true. Might I also state that we live in a fallen world. End of story.
I lost count of how many pairs of heels I saw walking to high school today. Like, high heels. HIGH, high heels. Truth be told I feared also for the girls safety as they walked the uneven pavement on the sidewalk and held the railing as they teetered down the stairs. But it wasn’t only the heels. If they were paired with jeans or a muu-muu I’d probably be fine with them taking their life in their hands as they navigate the hallways on 3 inches. I might throw up my hands and delcare impractical but have at ‘er. But we’re talking heels with short shorts. Like bootylicious, don’t bend over shorts. And skirts. Skirts with just a little bit of flip to them so that when they walk there’s a certain bounce. Heaven help them should they have to get something from the bottom of their locker. Actually, no. They made the choice to leave the house clad this way. Heaven help the boys around them should they have to get something from the bottom of their locker!!
I know the topic of girls wanting to draw attention is bigger than I’ll take the time for here. What I really wanted to do was to offer a round of applause to all of the boys (and men) in this world who navigate middle school and high school (or workplace) halls with dignity. I want to say that given the scenery you deserve a medal. I know that it’s not easy and I get that the girls are not making it easy but stay strong. Stay respectful, even when it seems like respect is not what they’re going for.
And mama’s of boys? I implore you to have these conversations with your kids. Encourage them to keep on. They need to hear it from us. They need to learn it from their dad’s. They need to know that we are proud of them. We see it, what they see. Their ability to look away if they must, or stare that girl straight in the eye when having a conversation, to treat her with respect and dignity and like they would a sister? We’re proud of that. And then give them ice cream before dinner, just because. They deserve it.