“I was just talking about you the other day…”
Hearing those words swelled my needy little ego almost to bursting, especially since they were uttered by one of the most popular girls in my high school graduating class. (Who cares if that graduation was already a distant memory!)
I hung on her words, anticipating what would come next. Praise for my journalistic efforts. Gushing adoration of my writing talent…
“…how I went to school with someone who wore dresses every day.”
Cue the unceremonious exit of wind from my sails.
I looked down at the skirt I was wearing, and my thoughts wandered to the preponderance of similar attire in my current wardrobe.
Until that moment, I’d actually forgotten – or perhaps blocked out is more accurate – that my mother had dressed me in dresses every day for most of my formative years. Throughout Pumpkin Shell Nursery School, and the four blissful years I spent being nurtured at the Oxford Primary School.
Well, nearly every day.
I vividly recall the first day I wore pants to school. No, they weren’t plaid, thank you very much. It was St. Patrick’s Day. And, for a reason known only to her, my mother chose that day to send me to school wearing jeans. The sole concession to the holiday was the green crayon on the otherwise blue t-shirt I had on. Never mind the fact that probably half of the dresses in my closet – yes, many of them plaid – were green.
I’d blocked all of that out – particularly those plaid dresses. But the stigma, apparently, lives on.
That conversation, and the near anxiety attack that ensued, took place about 6 years ago. I was working as a small town newspaper reporter, having just moved back to my hometown after ramming around the country for a bit. I’d lived and worked in New York City, South Florida and Western Colorado. I’d traveled and adventured in Europe, North America and one memorable foray into Asia. (China, to be exact.)
Yet here I was…still living down my reputation as The Girl Who Wore Dresses.
My tomboy soul let out a warrior cry of despair that quickly devolved into a pity party. Because here I was perpetuating the girly girl image I’d tried hard to outgrow.
For the record, I am not a girlie girl. Not that there’s anything wrong with being one. But in order to qualify, you have to meet certain requirements. Like both owning makeup and actually knowing how to use it. Getting your nails done on a regular basis. (And, no, once a decade doesn’t count.) We won’t even talk about the hair care products…
I’m a little too rough around the edges to qualify.
I own mascara, but there’s a good chance it has expired since the last time I wore it. I’m so bad with manicures that I actually had to get three the week of the wedding so I was photo-ready. My normal ‘pedicure’ involves slapping another layer of polish over the remnants of my last effort. My hair care routine consists of brushing it when I get out of the shower and giving it a good shake. (I do, however, wash my face now – thanks to Rodan + Fields!)
But despite all of that if you were to look in my closet today, you’d find…dresses. Lots of them. Conservatively, I’d say they make up…90 percent of my wardrobe. Why? Because they are easy. And comfortable.
And I just really hate to wear pants.
I was thinking about that conversation, and the ripple of my mother’s insistence on dressing me in dresses for so many years, this morning. When I found myself perpetuating the cycle.
Andry’s daughter is staying with us right now, you see.
And she just looks so darn cute in dresses…
Follow me on Twitter… @MelissaStagnaro
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