Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In praise of school uniforms

Today was the first day of school for the almost 700,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Can you imagine the effect that had on commute times?  Yep, we'll be in traffic hell until June.

In homes all across Los Angeles, scenes played out much like this one, which took place in my bedroom at about 7 am this morning.

(Nadia, a high school senior, enters the bedroom of Eva, her mother, who is getting ready for work.)
Nadia:  So how do I look?
Eva: That's a cute blouse.  But woah, those shorts are really short.
Nadia:  It's going to be super-hot today.
Eva:  Yeah, but those shorts are going to attract a lot of attention.  Do you really want to make that kind of impression on your first day as a senior?
(there follows a heated discussion on short shorts, which ends with Nadia leaving the room.  She returns a short time later in a different outfit)
Nadia: So how's this?
Eva: Hey, I like that dress with the blouse over it!  But...(looks more closely) the hem is so uneven.  Did you cut it?
Nadia:  It's part of the look, Mom.
Eva: (figuring that a ragged hem is better than short shorts) I like it.  You look really cute and whimsical.
(Nadia looks immediately dubious at this sign of parental approval and leaves the room, returning a short time later in a third outfit)
Eva: Oh no!  That dress is way too short and way too low-cut!  It would be fine for going out at night with friends but no way is that appropriate for school.
Nadia: (pulls the loosely crocheted vest over her decolletage) I'm wearing a vest over it!
Eva: No! Definitely not!
(Nadia stomps away and returns in a fourth outfit - a loose thrift store dress with no rips or tears)
Nadia: I feel totally ugly in this but at least it's comfortable.
Eva: That's a fine compromise between comfort and style - you look cute without trying too hard
Nadia: I don't feel like I look dramatic, and you know I like to look dramatic. How about if I wear dark lipstick?
Eva: Perfect! And there's your centimeter-long hair and your nose ring for added impact.
Nadia: True.

One day down - all the rest of the school year to go.


  1. Good luck! (I'm with you on the uniforms. Except for the whole extra laundry part.)

  2. Don't you know that saying you like it is the kiss of death? At least is was at my house. One more year!! And this too shall pass. Martha

  3. At least she asked for your input!

  4. WOW - I could have written this myself! Sounds exactly like my house - only Kacie is a freshman. The entire conversation, starting with, "Do you really want to make that kind of impression on your first day in Highschool?" happened in the Cox home... Thanks for the giggles, happy to know we're 'normal'. ~Amanda Cox

  5. Isn't it sobering realizing the Cox home has 4 more years of this?? Like Martha said, I've only got a year. Yes!! And true, at least my daughter still asks for advice (she thinks I dress well for an Aged P)
    I'll take laundry over Outfit Angst ANYday!

  6. Actually our youngest, Kylie, is 10 (5th grade) - so does that mean that we technically have 7 more years of this? Sobering indeed! I don't want the laundry either though...

  7. Oh dear!! Just hope Kylie is a jeans-and-tshirts gal...