Style: A Conversation

Okay. This is getting ridiculous. I haven’t posted for two weeks but I swear it isn’t because I have nothing to say. No. I always have something to say. More like I have too many things to talk about and my need to deal with only one issue per post, combined with June craziness and daughters who refuse to sleep in has lead to my blog drought.

So I apologize. I know you’ve all been losing sleep wondering wher I’ve been, all of you invisible people out there.

Writing a blog is sort of like having an imaginary friend. Or like an imaginary horde of friends.

Luckily I wrote the title of this blog weeks ago and saved it so I wouldn’t forget, or else I’d…well, forget.

Let me set the scene:
A beautiful Friday in May, I pick up the girls after school and we decide to walk home. We don’t live anywhere near the school, which is in the heart of the plateau (if you know Montreal at all, you know that this is the area that was cheap about 15 years ago, but is now full of professionals and families and where owning a one person condo with no yard is about as expensive as a duplex farther north. This might be an exaggeration, I don’t know. Call this creative non-fiction.)

We go the Dep where they buy the requisite slushie, and yes, they take a little of every flavour. And yes, as an adult, slushies lose their, umm…appeal. All I can see when they drink them is a plastic cup filled with sugar and cancer sipped through a large, brightly coloured funnel/shovel. But hey. We all have to pick our poison.

After they are properly sugared up we begin our hour-long walk home. We are strolling up Parc Ave right beside the mountain, which means there are some interesting summer fashion statements going by. Now, I’ve had a strategy about how to deal with skimpy clothes from the time they were very small. Instead of saying things, “Look at that slutty whorebag- she’s going to hell and so will you if you ever deign to dress that way,” I take a more subversive approach.

Okay. I would never say the first thing. That is just mean. And judgmental. And I am only those two things in the privacy of my own brain. But I still don’t want my daughters going around in tight mini-skirts that make them walk like they have to do number 2 and naval-showing tank tops where there barely there breasts are poking out two suns on the horizon. So everytime I see a girl who has mistaken a tunic shirt for a dress, I say things like, “Oh dear, she forgot to put her pants on this morning,” or quick, “Get that girl a shirt! She’s lost hers!”

Now, I have no idea if this strategy is going to work. The test is coming up though, with my oldest daughter having entered puberty. And the conversation that ensued made me think of my own puberty and my own style choices at that time.

Oldest Daughter (OD)- Mama, when do you think we can start wearing make-up? (Some of the girls in her class have already started wearing it-one girl in a perfect fusion of punk rock and goth. I kid you not.)

Me- (after a long pause wondering how to answer this. “Umm. Never” was on the tip of my tongue.) Well, I don’t know. I’m not going to stop you from wearing it, but I trust your judgment. Do you really feel like it is appropriate right now?

OD- No.(’cause what else is she going to say?)

Youngest Daughter (YD)- Mama, did you wear make-up when you were young?

Now I had to back track on this because although I have not worn make-up for the better part of my life, I did go through a very fashionable phase when I was 14. I liked to wear bright red lipstick and black mascara. So I told them this.

YD- Mama, who in Glee did you dress more like when you were young?

Hmmm. Alas the answer was painfully, stereotypically clear: the shy goth girl (to put this in perspective, Glee’s version of Goth is pretty disneyfied though, involving a lot of black and vintage clothing.) Here is a sample:

I went through a period where I would only dress in 1930s clothes. And I still pretty much only wear black.

OD- Mama, would you let us dress that way, if we wanted?

Me- You can dress anyway you want as long as it’s…appropriate. (Feeling like I needed to qualify what appropriate is,) I mean, wearing clothes that you can’t move in either because they are too tight or because if you bend down either your bum or boobs will fall out, or wearing shoes that you can’t walk in. (And because I am a master of motherhood manipulation and psychology, I add,) But I know that you would never want to dress like that. Would you? (they shake their heads vigorously and I resist the urge to laugh demonically) Other than that, you find your own style.

OD and YD are quiet for a minute.

OD and YD- Okay.

And they sipped their slushies and we walked home, talking about all the different kinds of styles they could try out.

It was a nice walk.

I hope it works.

2 thoughts on “Style: A Conversation

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