From the Front Lines of the Modesty Wars…

So it was a typical Tuesday morning in the First home:  hubby trying to get out to the office, Baby Girl refusing to eat breakfast and rushing out to school when I hear hubby say, “Are you going to let your daughter go to school wearing that?”.  Two things come to mind.  1.  It’s not good because whenever one of us says “your daughter”, it’s never good.  2.  My daughter must be bearing her midriff or her a$$.  It’s always one or the other.

I long for the 70s when we wore prairie dresses and they were the height of fashion instead of making us look like the Sister Wives of a polygamous cult.

I was afraid to look.  I immediately wondered if it was hot enough for those hoochie-mama bum-revealing shorts (in her defense, she’s 5’10” so we have a difficult time finding anything to cover those colt-like legs of hers).

Turns out it was this shirt:


Now you may be thinking, “Meredith, have you lost it and taken this YAL thing too far?  That shirt is adorable and barely showing any back flesh.  Calm the f down.”

And you would be right.  EXCEPT for what you can’t see and what you don’t know.  So this is the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would say).

This shirt was given to Baby Girl by her brother’s girlfriend when BG was recovering from a nasty skin cancer surgery. It’s her favorite brand and it’s adorable.  It’s also a bit like a cape so something has to be worn underneath it.  When she received it, I made it very clear that if she were to wear it to school, she needed to wear a cami under it so she wouldn’t go off to school with back flesh showing.  Yes, I have standards for BG:  no bum cheeks, cleavage, back flesh or midriff showing.  This would have all been taken care of had she gone to Catholic School but my husband’s a Lutheran accountant which means the kids go to public school, we police the clothing and he pockets the cash.  Everybody wins in his mind!

Back to the shirt.  I even went so far as to buy her two beautiful (and in my opinion, WAY over-priced bralettes to wear under this shirt when NOT in school.  This black, lacy bralette is what she was trying to sneak off in this morning.  Absolutely adorable for other social occasions.  Not appropriate for school.

“But why?” you ask.  “Clearly you need to be writing more and obsessing over your daughter’s back flesh less,” you say, with a smidgen of accuracy.

Here’s how I see it:  School is the gateway to the workplace where what you wear counts.  We are believers in the old adage of “dressing for the job you want to have”.  This is BG’s last year at home with us.  If we don’t teach her these lessons now, she’ll be that girl that shows up at the office in the inappropriate outfit who gets talked about in the break room or worse, has to be told by her boss to not wear it again.  That is a horror that I’d like to prevent.

The other reason is that she’ll remember today for years, hopefully long enough to teach this to her future baby girl.  She’ll remember how her father chased her down to the mudroom and blocked the door to the garage like a linebacker until she changed.  She’ll remember how when she yelled at me, “Mom, this is 2015.  You’ve got to quit oppressing me with your old school values!”, I laughed and snapped a picture of her for Facebook.

She’ll remember how when she yelled at us that, “This is sexist!  If I were a boy, you’d let me wear this!”, again, we laughed out loud since the last thing we’d do is let a son wear a midriff or back bearing top to school.  Even she had to laugh at that poor, go-to defense on her part.  Always with the sexism argument.  She knows how to play her parents, I’ll give her that.

She’ll remember how she ran and hid in her room for a few minutes, hoping we’d get distracted with middle-aged memory loss and forget about it.  She’ll remember how she darted back and forth trying to avoid my husband and his excellent linebacker maneuvers as she once again tried to make a mad dash to her car.

And because she never gets to see it like I do, I’ll remember for her, the redhead on redhead action of the two of them running about the house.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to the fighting of two redheads.  Not even two cats in a pillowcase.  I should pop popcorn and charge admission to their fights because I’d make a fortune.

Ultimately, she knew we were going to win and she needed to get to school so she went upstairs to change and stormed back to her car, yelling at me on the way out, as I tried to take an “after” photo, “I’m blocking you on Facebook!”.



“I love you too!”  I hollered back as she peeled out of the driveway (the neighbors probably called the police).

Fifteen minutes later, I got an electronic notice that she was tardy for her first period class (the miracles of technology) to which I’m sure I will get an earful about when she gets home.  It was worth it though, because eventually, she’ll remember that all we wanted to teach her was that there is a time and place for all clothes, hoochie mama or otherwise, but at school, we try and cover that flesh up!

Because, remember:  YAL, you’re a lady!

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