In the best interest of my children, I have decided that I will not dress like a Jäger-shooting, twenty-something Hoochie. There appears to be only two options these days: pouring myself into jeggings and undersized, fitted tee shirts in a desperate attempt to look like I just finished my shift at Hollister, or cultivating the Seasoned PTO Mom look with cardigan sweaters, relaxed fit jeans, and shoes that scream, “Here’s hoping my ankles don’t swell!” Since my search for a fashion middle ground has proven to be fruitless, I am covering my dimpled rear-end in my stretchy-est yoga pants and throwing in the towel. Look out, JC Penney, ‘cause here we come!
When I was a kid, if every mother was lined up side by side, you would have a hard time picking out your very own mom from the crowd. The car pool line at the elementary school was awash in polyester pant suits and short hairstyles still perfectly in place from the can of Aqua Net applied three days prior. No one stood out from the crowd because they were all, you know, just Moms. (Well, except for this one kid whose mom was the local psychic and tarot card reader. She was very exotic with her long, dark hair and musky perfume that wafted down the halls on the rare occasion when she would visit. It’s too bad that she didn’t use her future-telling powers to warn us fifth graders of the fashion disasters that would befall our generation as teenagers: mullets, jelly shoes, shoulder pads.) I can say without reservation that there wasn’t a single pre-teen boy fawning over this group of mommies. And, M.I.L.F.’s during the Carter administration? It was unheard of back then.
I blame Claire Huxtable for starting this I’m Beautiful Even Though I Have A Million Kids And A Busy Career movement. “The Cosby Show” sounded the death knell for all mothers who thought nothing of dropping off the kids at school in a chenille bath robe and curlers. And, how can we
forgive forget those Wisteria Lane Hot Moms who gave a new definition to the term “desperate” while we try in vain to emulate their perky, post-breastfeeding cleavage that obviously underwent a more intense reconstruction than the South after Sherman? I hate the whole lot of them. They single-handedly made clothes shopping for us Grown Women Without Pimps nearly impossible, as designers believe we all wear size zero jeans and platform shoes...to work. They don’t understand that Pamela Anderson, Angelina Jolie, and Jenny McCarthy are only figments of the Hollywood imagination. In the real world, their kind of breast to waist ratio simply does not exist.
My frustration came to a head yesterday as I went shopping for a sassy outfit to wear to my upcoming reunion. I found myself surrounded by thigh-high skirts and skin-tight knit tops. Don't they know that every woman over forty has back fat to some extent? I can see it now: I squeeze my torso into one of these “cute”, fabric-challenged shirts with a sparkly peace sign on it, and all of that extra skin and flab start spilling out over my bra, creating a supplemental set of breasts directly under my shoulder blades. My former classmates behind me in line at the appetizer table just shake their heads and say, “Bless her heart. I thought she was a runner.”
My first grade daughter thought I should try a sundress. She pointed out several of them that had very thickly padded built-in bras, and being helpful she said, “Look! Mommy, this dress shows you exactly where your boobies should sit.” I didn't have the heart to tell her that my boobies haven't been sitting at that altitude since the late eighties, and if I did prop them up on that padded shelf, it would look like I had Jell-O jigglers for breast implants each time I took a step. I give up.
Maybe I should start a grassroots campaign against the fashion industry for making all of us ordinary moms feel like we should look like Paris Hilton – or worse yet, Lindsay Lohan - while grocery shopping. I am sure that I'm not the only mother who doesn't want to risk an indecent exposure charge every time I attend a school meeting. I'm not asking for much. I just want to be moderately stylish while all of my ladies bits are covered. I'm hoping to sit in a chair without fainting from lack of oxygen due to the waistband of my pants cutting me in half. I would love to bend down as I'm shopping and not have my private parts fall out from top and peek out from below. I just want to be a modern-day Grace Kelly. Really, now...is that too much to ask?