Friday, May 23, 2008

Parental Guidance Required

I was in Target with Anna the other day (no, I don't know why I repeatedly subject myself to this sort of torture), waiting while she tried on assorted garments in the dressing room. I was wandering around the juniors section in a sort of existential state of despair over the porn star look for teens when - miracle of miracles - I spotted it! A skirt, a full skirt, that went below the knees! Complete with an attractive smocked waistband and ruffled hem! I rushed over to check out the price, and there on the tag were the disappointing words - tube dress. As in, most emphatically not a mid-length skirt. (I would like to note here that, in the store, this garment appears much shorter than it does in the picture in that link. I think they had a midget model it.)

Crushed, I returned to the dressing room, where I held a scintillating conversation with my teen daughter (formerly known as "Beloved") that went like this:

"Why can't I buy this shirt?"
"Because it makes you look slutty. You want to look slutty?" (note: do not ask your teen daughter a rhetorical question)
"Yes." Only she said it "Ye-eh-es", the extra syllables subbing in for what she really wanted to say, which was "Yes, of course I do, anything not to dress like you. Duh."

She tries again:
"Well, how about this shirt?"
"How about we go home and I make you some clothes out of our curtains?"

Oh, poor Anna. Don't worry, honey - in a few short years you will be away at college and free to prance around in your underwear, if that is what your heart desires. In the meantime, your loving parents will make sure you at least give a good impression of being a young girl who respects herself enough not to be shoving her boobs and upper thighs in people's faces. We're sort of old-fashioned that way.


  1. I saw that tube dress and made the same mistake in thinking it looked like a nice skirt, but I thought the idea was that it could be used either way. Who knows.

    Anyway, Scarlett, have a fun weekend sewing clothes for Anna out of curtains.

  2. She actually said yes? Yes, Mom, I WANT to look slutty? I suppose you should be happy she's not a liar? My parents drummed lying out of me at an early age, and then, when my mother asked me in college if I was sleeping with my boyfriend and I DIDN'T LIE, she refused to talk to me for the entire summer.

    I am mystified by those people who have simple mother-daughter relationships. You, too?

  3. As a Southern girl, I am ALL FOR making clothes out of curtains. Preferably dark green velvet.

  4. I hope the shopping experience did not cause a relapse of your intestinal distress. I'm avoiding the whore clothing for now by shopping resale as much as possible. I fully expect this to stop working for me during the teen years.

    And really? a tube dress? Ick.

  5. I didn't want to look slutty until I was in my 20's. I remember being very shocked my first day of high school at all the miniskirts and belly tops. Any girl that had dressed like that in junior high would have been ostracized, but what a difference a summer makes!

  6. It's starting younger and younger! Just try finding cute shoes for a 2 year old that don't have a heel!! I don't understand, should she be 2' 5'' instead of 2'4"? Is that infinitely more attractive in the toddler world? And baby onesies that say 'your crib or mine'? Disgusting, really.

  7. AnonymousMay 23, 2008

    Can I just put you in my purse when I go shopping with MY daughter? You have just the perfect responses!

  8. We had similar issues with my daughter earlier. Now that she's an actual teen things have swung the other way. She's wearing pants that are baggy enough to make her look fat, refuses to wear just a tee shirt without a cami underneath and anything "too short" will be instantly tossed.

    While I'm loving this immensely I also worry. What's wrong with my daughter? There is no making a parent happy, obviously.

  9. In ten years I'll have 3 teenage daughters- 18, 16, 13
    I'm considering reserving a spot in the institution now so it will be all ready for my arrival.

  10. molly - It can pay to plan ahead.

    kalynne - I wonder if all the Southerners thought "Gone With The Wind" instead of "Sound of Music."

    amy - To her, what I call slutty just means not dowdy and frumpy and old-ladyish, I think (I hope).

    bia - Ha! That's funny, you thought the same thing!

  11. AnonymousMay 23, 2008

    Oh man. Maybe you should dress slutty and she'd go for a more "conservative" look. Ha! Shopping is stressful enough, I can't imagine adding a teenaged girl to the mix!

  12. I'm 25, but I still remember those years. I thought my father (my mom, too, but mostly my dad) was a stodgy old curmudgeon at the time, and I found myself wishing he'd go blind so I wouldn't have to fight him over his woefully old-fashioned sartorial sense. But now I am so glad he protected me like that. I see girls running around today with everything hanging out, and I keep thinking, "Where are your parents? Don't you have any self-respect?" But I think often it's not a lack of self-respect; it's that they don't realize what they look like and what message they're sending. So kudos to you for doing your job. She might say "thank you" when she's 25.

  13. Man oh man. The problem is not just in the junior section, though. the problem is in the little girls section, too. It is ridiculous.

    My friend's hubby works for a local paper (one of those neighborhood deals) and they were covering a prom nearby with some photos and small articles. They got all kinds of angry letters about the provactive photos of the girls in their prom dresses. According to my friend's hubby, those were the modest shots. It wasn't because of the photography so much as the STYLES worn.


  14. I have given up on the shorts. We are all about the modest top though.

    We were at Target yesterday too--why is it so hard to find a WHITE bra?! Pink & yellow striped, yes; white, no. I cannot tolerate the style of having a dark bra under a white top.

  15. LMAO! I saw that tube dress too and thought the same thing, " Yay! A 'normal' skirt."
    I to was quite dismayed when I read "Tube dress". UGH!
    Seriously, what is wrong with designers & buyers???

    LMAO! I LOVED Carol Burnett!

    * I have signed my 13 yr old daughters up for a sewing course this summer so that they can learn to make their own skirts...
    :) Debi

    ps Thanks for stopping by! I always love to meet mommies of Mega Families!

  16. I'm not a Southerner, but I thought Gone With the Wind, too.

    And yes, I'm having a rough enough day that I'm checking the comments on your blog. They're always funny.

  17. Not ready for those shopping trips.

    Boobs and thighs and thongs...Oh hell.

  18. Your daughter is either braver than I was, or you are not as mean as my mom was, because if I said that to my mom??? Wow.
    I can't believe she said yes. Don't you think we should start marketing either chasity belts or convents for teen Girls?

  19. But did you try the tube dress on? It might work as a skirt. I'm being totally serious. I feel I should say that because I know it's hard to tell with me sometimes.

  20. This post made me laugh out loud. I was at the mall a couple of days ago and spotted some cute little flouncy skirts for my 12 y/o who needed one for a school performance. Later that afternoon I took her back to get one, only to have her say, "Mom, that's a top." Yes, I am a complete idiot!

    I took my children out yeaterday...
    FABRIC shopping. I spent @ $130.00 and that will make about 25 or so specific articles of clothing..including a couple of new skirts fro ME! I'm not too into making their clothes out of drapes! My girls are 9 & 7 and I can't findskirts/ skorts/ shorts/ dresses that I would let them wear in public, except at stores that I'm too cheap to shop at. (sorry, bad grammar)
    You know, I've actually seen Thong undies for pre-schoolers for sale. Lord Help Us!
    I would have gotten the dress and worn it as a skirt!
    Blessings, EJT

  22. I've got two little girls and I am going to be in SERIOUS trouble!!! I'm pretty sure I'll move them to a mormon cult when they hit their offense if you're mormon...or a cult member...on second thought can you mail me some information??

  23. Good for you!!
    The world needs more moms of teenage girls like you!
    When I see these young girls dressed.......... inappropriately, I always wonder if their parents actually bought the clothes for them, or if they even know what they're wearing. And if so, why would they let them dress like that?
    You could always knit her a nice outfit.

  24. Bring out the sewing machine. My mom made me clothes out of bedsheets, I'd prefer curtains anyday.
    Being the Disney freak that I am I thought of Giselle from 'Enchanted' instead of Maria and Scarlet.

  25. On behalf of all the mothers of sons, I would like to thank you for not contributing to the demise of my future teenages sons' mental purity. I thought I would be able to avoid subject more than if I had girls, but they are constantly bombarded with slutty images: on tv, in magazines, in person, on their friends' MOTHERS.

    My husband took the boys to Victoria's Secret this Christmas to buy my Christmas presents (I had to return them-"you want me to wear that?"). The boys came home and wanted to know why I don't look like the woman blown up to larger-than-life size sporting a bellybutton ring and gazing down on them with doe eyes as they paid the bill.

    Hang tough. She'll thank you later when she won't have to consume large amounts of antibiodics for std's or large amounts of money to her plastic surgeon if she had given into the pressure to look like a walking, slutty Barbie doll. Just remind her all the cool boys worthy of catching like their women clean and fresh....and clothed.

  26. I'm with you, sister. The decency roster also excludes clothes with Princess in glitter or anything on the butt!

  27. Kathy - Be careful what you wish for, we can have two handsome young men (or beautiful young women, if you prefer) pressed and dressed and on you doorstep inside of thirty minutes!

    All of my slender daughters have been blessed with just a touch of "junk in their trunk" if you know what I mean. Low rise jeans are the scourge of my exsistence. Is the 70's throw back almost over? When do we get back to the preppy 80's? I've got no problem with pegged jeans!

  28. My beautiful step daughter used to have clothes she'd wear at Mom's house and clothes she'd wear at Dad's house. As all children caught in the middle of stepfamilies, one day she forgot where she was going after school and wore THE SKIRT to Dad's house. The looks, the tears, the rolling of eyes...and that was just my husband's reaction.

  29. AnonymousMay 23, 2008

    I was glad when Shortman started driving because I no longer had to see how the girls at his High School dressed.

    My father would have killed me.

    (Oh, and the curtain reference? I immediately thought Sound of Music, NOT GWTW. Of course, I'm from Michigan and SoM is my favorite musical ever)

  30. Uh, Kathy - Mormons don't dress weird. We are, however, very concerned about modesty. Sounds like those of you who are frustrated about the current trend in girls clothing would be right at home shopping with a Mormon Mom and her daughter. We feel and understand your pain.

  31. Anyone check out the new ads for Beyonce Knowles' line of girl clothing?

    Now THERE'S trashy and slutty for you. Nothing more disturbing than a five year old in four inch heels and a pimp hat. Also made up to look like Jon Benet Ramsey.

  32. This makes me so glad I have a son.
    Yes, I thought of Giselle too.
    But then my southerner self took over and it was all about Miss Scarlett.

  33. Probably by the time she gets to the point where she CAN dress slutty, she won't want to anymore. The slutty is usually short lived. (Mom of a sixteen year old)

  34. No!! She didn't actually say that YES she wanted to look slutty!! Please, say it isn't so!!

    I don't know if I'm more impressed that you asked her the question ... or if she was so honest?

    Youth these days. It kind of makes me not want to complain about having a house full of toddlers...

  35. Killer good story about the tube dress. I've been there.

    THANK YOU for keeping your daughter from looking like a whore. Really. Thank you.

  36. My 22 yr old adopted sister dresses like she has been shopping at sluts r us. This may be why she attracts the wrong sort of male attention. She is expecting #4. My 70 yr old parents have custody of her older 3 kids, ages 1, 3 1/2 and almost 6...

    My girls have to pass the dad test before they buy anything. Would Dad let you buy that? If not, you can't get it.

  37. Very much into modesty, chez nous. When I joined the LDS church 33 years ago, my necklines came up 4 inches and my hemlines came down a foot and a half. I have *done* the white-trash-Barbie thing, and I have done the modest thing, and I much prefer the consequences of dressing modestly.

    As others have pointed out in these comments, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is *not* a cult. We are deeply and authentically Christian. And even though I disagree with the doctrines the FLDS practice, I applaud the modesty of their women and daughters.

    I will be happy to go shopping with any of SC's readers who are local, and I know some excellent websites for modest clothing, including formal wear.

  38. Also, I thought of Scarlett long before I thought of Maria -- or Giselle. And I was born in Idaho.

  39. you know what... i think that does look like a skirt. why is that girl wearing it as a tube dress?

  40. Sound of Music all the way.
    There are actually some decent (a in pretty good) decent (as in modest) places to buy online. is the first one I can think of but I know there are more. They specialize in long shirts that don't ride up and with necklines you won't fall out of. And the longer shirt look is kind of in these days... You could at least start the argument that way (even if "because I said so" is the inevitable end) *sigh*.

  41. AnonymousMay 25, 2008

    Thank goodness my last one is a and out of the clothing stores in about 10 minutes..two pair of jeans and three t-shirts. But I teach kindergarten, and seeing some of the outfits some the darling five-year-old girls wear, I wonder what is wrong with their mothers! It is not the little ones picking out their clothes. One little girl came to school recently in an ivory satin camisole covered by a see-through glittery mesh open shirt, a six-inch long skirt, and sandals with heels...and it was 32 degrees outside.

  42. Someday she will thank you for that.

  43. Oh, and I would go for the curtain clothes any day. I thought that link was going to be to Enchanted. My boy made clothes for a pipe cleaner guy out of his pillow the day after we saw that movie.