Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wardrobe Malfunction

In my role as Vice Principal, I am the enforcer of the Dress Code.  We have a fairly standard policy:  no hats, no clothing advertising alcohol or drugs, no "gang attire," no undergarments showing, no shorts or skirts shorter than fingertip length, no straps less than 1" wide, no stirrup pants.

Kidding about the stirrup pants. But they were, along with elastic-waist pants of any sort, forbidden from the country club site of a wedding we attended recently (Haters! Why you gotta pick on the stirrup pants all the time?).

Regulating outfits isn't the part of my role I relish. It's uncomfortable and arguably arbitrary any way you slice it. Calling teenagers on their excessive cleavage? Bleerrrggggh. Negotiating what constitutes fingertip length with disproportionately long-armed teens? It's like debating the definition of "dessert" with my kindergartner. And Target, American Eagle Outfitters, and Abercrombie? Thanks a ton for selling shorts that are more appropriately categorized as denim bikinis. You are not helping.

But despite the cringe-worthy moments and occasional necessity of reminding students that they are more to us than what they wear, there are moments of levity related to the dress code and other policies, too.

Before they became freshmen on our campus four years ago, two eighth-grade girls scheduled an appointment with the principal and me to discuss our new closed-campus lunch policy for freshmen.  Despite their professional and respectful approach, valid arguments, and natural charm, we maintained our position. And became fans of these spunky young women. 

Over the course of the next year, they added a third ally and occasionally ate lunch with us outside, lightheartedly bemoaning their captivity and the lack of maturity among their male counterparts.  We bonded over cafeteria salads and social critique, watching the boys chase one another around the quad and cliques form, dissolve, and evolve. 

Alas, sophomore year came and so did their freedom and our conversations were more often quick hellos and goodbyes between classes and as they left campus to eat lunch at a local restaurant or friend's house. 

But on their last day of school as seniors, the trio of now-grown, still confident and hilarious young ladies made a lunch date with us.  So we reminisced.  I asked if the boys had matured by now.  They rolled their eyes.

We praised their gumption, and all they had accomplished.  They praised our approachability.  And our principal's use of slang, such as "swag."  And then, my fashion sense.


I was flattered, and also flustered.

"Thank you!" I exclaimed.  "Except..."  I looked at my administrative partner and back at the girls.  "There was this one day when I wore...well, clogs and socks.  Umm...with capri pants."

The girls looked at one another.  "Yeah, we remember that day."

A few days later, a card and gift bag appeared on my desk, with a pad of paper inside:

Oh, how I laughed.  So perfect for me, fashion "maven" and the Keeper of the Dress Code.

Note: stirrup pants warrant a citation. Clogs, socks, and capris do not.

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