Not because of my saggy knees, or brown spots, or my elbows that look as if they’ve been crumpled up in the back of a drawer for a few decades. No, I am old because I am horrified by what “young girls” are wearing. (plus, I refer to anyone under thirty as a young girl – I’m old for sure!)
With summer-like weather upon the city, (though this week things seem to have cooled down) everyone is letting everything hang out. Manhattan is suffering from TMI of the body: and frankly, I don’t want to see it!
I mean, is there some rule that if you are female and possessing of a bustline you must display it so prominently one is tempted to insert a coin, grab your arm, and go for the jackpot?
Did I miss the memo that said your skirt must be so short that when you raise your arm to wave to your friend across the street, you reveal a thong so deeply wedged in it reappears on the other side?
Did someone forget to mention to me that tank tops must be worn below the bra line, so that all you need is a glass of mead and some rotten teeth to accurately approximate a Medieval serving wench?
Did I neglect to read the e-mail about displaying one’s love handles at every opportunity? Or the one about how the low-hanging pants once exclusively associated with plumbers have somehow become a fashion trend?
What ever happened to keepin’ it covered? If you’re twenty-something, well, OK. I don’t love it, but at least you’re twenty something. It’s the thirty, forty, even fifty-somethings wearing belly shirts that really get me. Here’s a newsflash: I don’t care how fit you are: unless you’re a supermodel, a movie star or a porn star, once you’ve given birth, nobody wants to see your stomach.
Plus, the flesh on display is not always taut – even when it is young. I suppose I should think it’s great that these girls feel confident enough about their bodies that they don’t care that they’re muffin’-topping it around town. But I don’t even like seeing the svelte ones so scantily clad the mother in me wants to run across the street and hand them a robe. Why on earth would I want to see the pudgy ones busting out of their hip-huggers?
When I was a teenager, Preppy was in. We must have looked ridiculous, a bunch of frizzy haired Jewish girls in multiple polo shirts with the collars turned up, as if we thought the real Wasps might not notice we were poseurs if we piled on the polos with aplomb. Our look was Wasp-wanna-be.
Today, Preppy for men is still in, but for young women, the look, evidently, is now “hooker with good highlights.” For example, the other day in Zabars I saw a polo-wearing college boy with his short-short wearing, bra displaying, tummy flashing, $400 haircut sporting girlfriend. It looked like a casting call for a new movie: Preppy and the Parentally-supported Porn Star.
I know it’s judgmental. I know I shouldn’t care what others wear. But I do care. I care because I don’t want my daughter thinking that objectifying herself is a good thing. I don’t want my son getting the idea that women are adornments, or sex objects, or are there for his viewing pleasure. And in case you think that sounds like I’m abdicating responsibility for raising him right, think about this: pit a mother’s admonitions to respect girls against an actual, buttocks flashing female…and guess who wins.
Look, I’m all for women reveling in their sexuality. But reveling and revealing are two different things. This physiological TMI offends me as a woman. It sets a bad example for my kids.But mostly, it makes me hope and pray that the fashion cycle keeps turning, and the Preppy look returns to prominence by the time my daughter hits puberty.
Because by then, if she tries to go out of the house looking like a runaway who’s fallen in with a bad pimp…well I’ll be too old to do anything about it.