Tonight is the first dance of the middle school social year. Woot! We’re psyched here at the BlogLily household, although I’ve been told if I chaperone neither of my boys will speak to me, shower or brush his teeth again.
But before you get to go to these dances, you have to first sign “The Rules of the Dances,” a one page document that contains the 13 … well, Rules. I love rules. Tomorrow (or as things go here on BlogLily, next year) I will post the sign that’s over our dining room table entitled “Talking in our House.” It contains four wonderful rules for how to talk at dinner.
Still, a love of rules is not the same thing as loving certain rules. This is the one that I’m currently not really loving:
10. Dress code: no see-through clothing, no underwear showing, shirt straps must be two fingers wide, skirts and shorts must fall low enough to meet the fingertips, no cleavage, no bare midriffs, foot wear at all time, no clothing with aggressive disrespectful logs, language or drug alcohol slogans.
Oh NO! That means my boys will not be able to wear those cute see through cami half shirts with “F*** Bush/Drink Merlot” emblazoned across the front over the soccer shorts they outgrew in second grade but can’t bear to give up.
Okay. What gives me pause is that there are eight dress code rules and 5/8 of them apply solely to girls. It’s as though somebody’s decided that certain parts of a girl’s body just shouldn’t be seen at a school dance. And the only reason to forbid them is because they might actually hurt somebody because that is why we forbid things.
I just want to say that I don’t think an eighth grade girl’s cleavage is a weapon of mass destruction. Between (a) acting like it is and totally giving that poor girl the impression that her body is scary or shameful; and (b) ignoring it and letting her grow up and become a woman who feels like her cleavage is pretty awesome in the right contexts, well, I’d choose (b). My point is that even if some of these prohibited fashion choices are in really bad taste, that’s an eighth grade girl’s entire job: to experiment with bad taste. Blue eye shadow anyone? It is also the job of an eighth grade boy, except here no one has decided to forbid those choices as being sexually dangerous.
That’s one thing that interests me about these rules — there isn’t any similar set of rules of behavior in which 5/8 apply only to preteen boys. I mean, honestly, there could be, couldn’t there? Here’s my effort:
(1) Don’t mumble when someone says hello; (2) Wash your jeans more than once a year; (3) don’t punch your friends in the gut as a way of saying hello; (4) don’t eat all the chips; (5) don’t drop your gum wrappers (not to mention your gum) on the floor.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Rule Number 11 “Absolutely no Freak Dancing” is probably all you need to say about inappropriate, public, sexual behavior. It’s a rule that applies equally to boys and girls and it doesn’t tell girls that their bodies are the ones we all need to be worried about.