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Rated: 13+ · Editorial · Experience · #988611
My mother can turn me into a raging 16 year-old, with so few words.
My memories of teenage angst in the 1960s have to do with the length of my skirt. Too long in my opinion. Too short in my Mom's opinion. Issues repeat themselves.

Mothers insist daughters be properly clad and covered. It's the mother in a woman that does it to female children. They call it looking out for the daughter's best interests. The receiving end is no picnic. The argument goes something like this:

Daughter: "Everybody is wearing their skirts this length. I don't want to look like my clothes don't fit. You're trying to make me wear your kind of adult clothes. They're fine for you, but I have my own taste. And it's my body and my life anyhow!"

Mother: "Well it's your father who buys the clothes you wear, and he doesn't want you going around looking less than your best. You need to be covered up."

Daughter: "But Mom, I just want to wear clothes from the store like everybody else."

Mother: "But you're not everybody else. You're 5 ' 10". Your legs are longer than everybody else's You're my daughter, and as long as you're living under my roof, you'll do as you're told."

Daughter: "But Mama, I made this dress from a pattern. I measured the length of the skirt. It 's only as short as everybody else's."

Mother: "Precisely, my dear daughter. You have longer legs, so you have more leg to show, so you cannot wear your dresses the same length as everyone else. That's final."

It became a non-issue in college, when jeans and a tee shirt became the call of fare. I went away to the University of Texas, put on 20 pounds from dorm food, and dressed myself. Dress length had become a non-issue by the time I graduated.

I thought we were finished with that argument, whoever won it. Then, Mom had to speak her mind today, and she destroyed the aura I had envisioned when wearing this particular white suit. It was a wardobe and personal ego booster, flights up fashion-wise from tee shirts and jeans. Now, I'll never have that feeling about the suit anymore. Mom's ruined it for me. She took away my joy about my nice new suit. She doesn't always do that, except where clothes are concerned. She has a fashion opinion, and she will let her sense be known.

Mom's been moody because her favorite cousin, and the last male of her generation on that side of the family is terminally ill. There have been hurt feelings, and misunderstandings. Everything is on edge. She's pale and not herself. She's been stressed for over a week. She's taking it out on me.

She also told me I stunk like my pets. She wanted to say cigarettes, but she thinks I'm not smoking. That's another version of the same game.

Mother: "I know that outfil cost you a lot of money. I know it's supposed to be a nice suite. But I don't want you to wear it anymore when we go out together."

Daughter: "(Mouth agape as the meaning sinks in. Mother's voice is so soft and devoid of passion, that the meaning has to be filtered a few times before it's understood.) Oh."

Mother: "Do you want to know why?"

Daughter: "If you feel compelled to tell me."

Her explanation had to do with me looking like a Black person going to Sunday meeting. She said I dressed too loud. She doesn't want me making a scene. Keep in mind this is a simple white suit; it's long but simple. I like it. Somehow it came across to her as a liberal look. Boy was I off.

So, I won't wear the dress. It's a simple straight ivory colored suit. My mother is confused in her head, or she's not thinking right. It's not short, it's not loud, it's just that she knows I bought the suit from a retailer who sells Black women's clothes. I think that's it--more than the look.

I won't let her destroy my affinity for dressing. It just means I can't wear someclothes that I feel nice in around her. It'll be high collar opaque blouses and long "hide the figure" skirts.

All the things we do for love! Clothes aren't as important to me as they used to be. Still I feel like she let loose some pigeon droppings on my new outfit. She messed it up for me. The suit can wait in the closet, until I have a place to wear it, without her--maybe to church with one of my Black friends!
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