Mother knows best
Life advice from the trenches
I just deposited my one and only shining light of a daughter at college this week, and it’s got me thinking – about many things, but mostly about the passage of wisdom from one generation to the next and the ceaseless march of time (and the boot prints it’s left on my face). It’s also got me trying to properly balance a cocktail of psycho-pharmaceuticals with a raging hormonal imbalance while swimming in a veritable river of dirty martinis, but that’s a tale for another day.
It seems like only yesterday I was a student myself, though it was actually so long ago you could measure the time in geologic eras, or at the very least dog years. As is invariably the case with the long dead past, it now seems like a much simpler time: the scourge of AIDS had yet to destroy promiscuity (though herpes had taken a lot of the spontaneity out of it); you didn’t need an advanced degree in molecular mixology to make a gin and tonic; an ounce of weed could be financed with a simple ATM withdrawal (I am told) rather than requiring a leveraged trust fund payout or a significant shift in the futures market; and Eddie Murphy was actually funny.
These days, however, our best and brightest enter the hallowed halls of higher education only to contend with the complexities of speech codes, the ins and outs of political correctness, exacting recycling rules and a steady stream of “chem-free mixers.” I don’t know whether the last is a soft drink or a no fun allowed social event, though really what difference does it make? In any case, I think it’s safe to assume that navigating the transition to adulthood is a bit more challenging than it once was, what with one thing and another.
Anyhoo, the Little Slattern has flown the coop, fledged the nest, made like a banana and split, and she is now off at school making memories, thundering toward being a grown up and acquiring vast oceans of very expensive, almost entirely useless knowledge. (Tell me, can you recall the difference between the en soi and the pour soi, calculate anything with a logarithm, or explain a single concept related to Economics beyond the law of supply and demand? Neither can I.)
Unfortunately, I now realize that I failed to pass along to her most of the practical knowledge and critical life lessons I have accumulated these past NUMBER REDACTED PER THE AUTHOR years. You know the kinds of things I’m talking about: family recipes, pearls of wisdom, stories of youthful hijinks, tips on fashion, reminders about the importance of good grooming and having a skilled trial attorney on retainer. It wasn’t for lack of trying on my part; rather, it was largely because as soon as I started to tell my daughter a story or relate an edifying anecdote she promptly left the room. And since she prefers not to read my blog for reasons that are abundantly clear to anyone who hangs around for a post or two, I’ll just have to share my motherly advice with you. Here goes:
Your underwear should be concealed by your clothing.
What’s that? Obviously, you say? Oh, I beg to differ. Ever since the Material Girl first flashed her big black bra, life on the streets of our cities and towns has been a nonstop lingerie peep show. These days, you’re more likely to see a whale tail on the checkout line at H&M than on the Discovery Channel, and brightly colored brassieres under white t-shirts have ceased to be mortifying fashion faux pas and become instead “fashion statements.”
I thought I’d seen it all until I took a walk through the Public Gardens in Boston recently and encountered this innovative take on “daywear.”
Now how in the name of all that’s holy this poor gal concluded that this was any way to leave the house I cannot say. Perhaps her mother forgot to tell her that a bra is not a blouse, or maybe she’s blind and accidentally put on her boyfriend’s jock strap instead of a tank top while dressing that morning. I don’t know, it could be she somehow got her outfit on sideways. It doesn’t really matter how this fashion equivalent of a crime against humanity found it’s way to the public view. What matters is that it never happens again. Ever.
So ladies, please take my advice and leave something – anything really – to the imagination. Give your friends and neighbors something to wonder about. Maintain an air mystery as to what’s happening under your dress, because unless you’re Giselle Bundchen, the reality is often a tad disappointing.
Just because you can, it doesn’t follow that you should.
This has so many applications, it’s hard to know which to choose. OK, let’s just say, hypothetically, that you have excellent balance and posture and that your house cat likes to ride on your head and will calmly do so, even when taken out on busy city streets. Does this mean you should drag said cat outside on a cold winter day and parade around — oh I don’t know — lower Manhattan, for example, with it perched on your head? I think you know the answer. I think we all do.
Your teeth are not tools.
Do not use them to open bottles. Except in emergencies.
“Your father and I did not spend thousands of dollars on orthodontia, extractions and headgear to straighten out that congenital underbite just so that you could chip every tooth in your head with some drunken shenanigans.”
That was not an emergency.
Thank heaven for screw top bottles. And toga parties.
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Photos of Cat Head and Bra Girl are both property of WS Winslow.