PANTYHOSE AND THE MIDDLE SCHOOL DANCE
It was snowing, just a little yesterday as the the springtime temps hovered somewhere around freezing.
As I watched the flakes dance in the air, it reminded me—sorta—that just last month, in the dead of a long, cold, and snowy winter, we experienced a first: the Girl’s first semi-formal middle school dance aptly named “Winter Wonderland.” That night Old Man Winter smiled upon the teachers and teens who spent hours decorating the inside of the school with snowflakes and tinsel by adding his own flair outside with 11* temps, 20 mph winds, and sideways falling snow.
When the school announced the date and theme of the dance in mid-January, they also announced that the dress code would be semi-formal, in that no jeans or casual wear were allowed. They asked students to wear something that they might wear to church. The Girl scoffed out loud, and when she told me, we laughed hard. Obviously they did not know what I let my kids wear to church: ripped jeans, sports pants, shorts, flip flops, and/or T-shirts and hoodies. And hats, not fancy Southern, church-lady hats but knit caps, beanies, snapbacks.
“We gotta find you something to wear,” I said.
“I want to get a dress,” she replied.
First and foremost, the Girl wanted a dress—which anyone who knows her knows she gave up dresses for Lent about five years ago and didn’t pick up the habit again. Until now. But she not only wanted a dress, she wanted the perfect dress. The perfect dress that matched her black and white high top sneakers, because like other teenage girls today, she is far too savvy for infrequently worn and uncomfortable high heels, which in my middle-school days were promptly ditched in a pile by the gymnasium door at the beginning of each and every school dance.
But no pressure to find the dress.
The search took us to three different malls, 10 department stores, and an out-of-town road trip before we finally found the dress: a black, high collared, sleeveless, above-the-knee, skater-style cocktail dress with white pearl accessories. Perfect, and we knew it from the moment she slipped it on.
While we were standing in the department-store register line, the Girl announced that she also wanted a pair of pantyhose. I must have made a face because she went on to talk about how cool pantyhose were and how she needed a pair to complete the outfit. We’d been shopping for hours, and the thought of hitting the lingerie department exhausted me. Plus I didn’t want to lose our place in line, so I told her I would make sure she had a pair before the dance.
For those of us who wore pantyhose growing up—because you were never fully dressed without them—cool is not the word I would use to describe that particular garment, that sheer revolutionized cross between lingerie and outerwear. I was very happy when the new era dawned and pantyhose were no longer considered a wardrobe stable but rather an accessory for dolling up for a black tie event. I celebrated the news by tearing runs into every last pair in my dresser and then burning an old bra just for the fun of it. (I just read an article that men now want to start wearing pantyhose under their slacks for work and such. Great, let them have ‘em.)
Since the Girl was going to be wearing high top sneakers, I tried to talk her into footless leggings. I was unsuccessful. She really wanted pantyhose. So on the day of the dance, in the howling wind and wind chills of -3*, I went to a local department store to purchase a pair of black pantyhose. I felt awkward standing there in front of the pantyhose display like I was seeing an old friend after years of unresolved conflict. I looked around and whispered to other women in the department, “They’re not for me. My daughter has a school dance. She thinks pantyhose are ‘cool.’” I kept looking for the L’Eggs Eggs—just how many years has it been since the eggs were available? In the end, I picked up two pairs of Haynes for Women, just in case the first pair ran when she tried them on.
When B and I picked kids up from school that afternoon, I announced that I procured her final accessory.
“Thanks, Mom,” the Girl said with a giggle.
“What’s pantyhose?” Monkey Boy asked.
“Never. Mind,” the Girl replied.
“They’re like leggings,” I said. I knew that if I didn’t answer him, he would keep asking until he got an answer. It was easier this way.
“Oh,” he said, and then he broke into a song about pantyhose sung to the melody of the Baby Shark song. “Pantyhose, hose, hose, hose, hose, hose, hose, Pantyhose, hose, hose, hose, hose, hose, hose, Pantyhose, hose, hose, hose, hose, hose, hose, Pantyhose!”
His song was catchy, although the Girl seemed rather annoyed that her little brother would make up a song about something she found to be so fascinating. She sighed and stared out the window for the rest of the way home. B and I chimed in with Monkey Boy to sing that little ditty about pantyhose, hose, hose, hose, hose, hose, hose, pantyhose.
When I dropped the Girl off at the dance that night, snowflakes swirled around her, ushering her into the schoolhouse. She wore that super cute dress, her high top sneakers, and those pantyhose with a wide glowing smile that I hope was not dimmed by a broken heart but rather enhanced by a hundred dances in that magical winter wonderland.
When I picked her up later that night, she floated in the car. “It was so much fun. We danced. We had our pictures taken at the photo booth. We hung out and watched the who-danced-with-who drama unfold. I won a prize, a $15 iTunes gift card. It was great.”
Oh, and the next day those pantyhose were balled up in the corner of her bedroom, discarded and forgotten, unlike that dance, which never will be forgotten.
**Addendum: The Girl says that she is not really obsessed with pantyhose. She simply wanted them for the dance.
A big thank you to all those who helped make my day (And another Giveaway!)
The response to Kat’s Big Birthday Giveaway in March was great! Congratulations to Justine W. who won a signed copy of Everyday Ordinary. Justine, I hope you love reading it.
Stay tuned this month for a new giveaway!!
I am on the Launch Team for Lincee Ray’s new book, It’s A Love Story, launching April 30. If its anything like her first book, Why I Hate Green Beans or her blog, I Hate Green Beans, it will be super fun and entertaining. When I read I Hate Green Beans, I laughed and cried my way through the book, and when I got to the end, I went through it again and highlighted my favorite parts to read out loud to B, the Girl and Monkey Boy. I can’t wait to give away a copy of her latest book as well as copies of her first book later this month. #ItsALoveStory