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Finding Your Inner Skank May 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized,Women — afrocity @ 10:55 AM
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At the risk of sounding like a prude, may I ask what the hell was tennis superstar Venus Williams thinking when she wore that horrible outfit to the French Open last Sunday?   That could not be a Wilson sanctioned piece!  Black lace and neon yellow tennis balls do not make for a good match…Pun intended!

During a recent ride on the “L”  in which I had to brave some of Chicago’s dangerous neighborhoods, I noticed a number of young women in clothing that was less than zero on the lady scale.   Shorts in the booty crack, tall stiletto high heels pushing a double decker baby stroller- all the while speaking loudly on the “pay as you go cell phone”  with baby’s daddy.

And please, do not get me started on the sad, sad tattoos some of these women were sporting.  Multiples!!!! On one women.   A picture of Obama on the left shoulder, another of a rose above the ankle.  Ah, how clever a arabesque bracelet tattooed around the wrist! Gee now why didn’t I think of that?  I could have saved all of that money I spent on jewelry.

But wait! As the train pulled into the 63rd Street station, the pièce de résistance boarded in bright”cum fuck me”  red shorts, white 4 inch heels and  weaved hair kidnapped from a Barbie doll- Suntan Barbie.   There is kind of a natural inner scream that wells in my stomach whenever I see someone touch their feet in public.   The young woman dug into her purse, took out a bottle of green lotion and began moisturizing her feet.  Her toenails were painted Liquid Paper white.  There were some sort of designs on them.   While the foot fetish show developed,  I imagine what I would say to her if she were my friend.

“Girl, I love you but…”

I am being too rough on these women.

Perhaps becoming a lady is a transformative work in progress.

Maybe at 40, I have forgot what it was like to be in my teens and 20’s.

There was a time  in my life when I worked pretty damn hard to achieve  the Madonna look.  Headband round my hair, short pink neon mini-skirt, lace leggings.   My own history teacher once told my mother that by idolizing Madonna,  I was destined to be a slut rather than the budding young historian he saw in me.   My decision to wear white spandex leggings and a short fluffy yellow angora sweater to typing class on a 10 degree January day was the talk of the teacher’s lounge.  That caused my high school’s resident pervert “Mr. J.”  to saunter up to me in the hallway and calmly but creepily inform me that some of the teachers found my attire to be not lady like.   Mr. J  was kind enough to mention that in his opinion I was “HOT” and the other teachers were just being “uptight”.

I went home and mentioned none of this to mother- who by the way,  approved of many of my outfits on the weekly basis.  How could I be slutty when I was a virgin? None of the teachers’ concerns apply to me.   I knew who I was.  Clothing was an expression of my inner….skank?  No, no, no.  I was just being creative and experimenting with different looks.  Cut me some slack.  When you are on welfare and do most of your shopping at the Salvation Army it is not like you can afford to look like Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club !!!   So I wore tight leggings. I was about 80lbs and drank a vanilla milk shake at McDonald’s every day just so I could grow a butt that the boys would stare at during gym class.   Don’t I at least get some credit for not wearing mood lipstick or leather gloves with the fingers cut out?

I continued to wear my spandex white leggings mostly because the teachers told me not to.   Because I was a dumb seventeen year old, I could not intellectually understand the metaphor of skanky clothing and girls with restless open leg syndrome.  My hymen reported intact and ready for duty every morning. As long as I knew this, I would not identify with what the others were saying about me.

Over the course of the semester, I found an ally in my music teacher.  Oddly, I was helping her tidy the classroom one afternoon and we began talking about boys.  I told her that I was a virgin who believed in abstinence (with occasional fixes of heavy petting) .

“I knew it!!!”  she smiled.  “I told them you were too nerdy despite the clothes. Anyone who chooses to recite “The Bells” as a soliloquy in World Lit is a nerd. “

That was music to my ears.  Someone actually understood that I was not a skank.

“When you are young and a woman,” teacher continued. ” you like to dress up, wear short skirts, too much make-up.  The mirror never tells you that you look anything less than beautiful- neither do the guys. “

My appreciation for her acceptance of me as a nerdy skank was inexpressible.  Only a huge smile was on my face. What was surprising about the entire moment was that my music teacher was the most proper dressing woman in the entire Chicago Public School System.

“You will grow out of it one day,”  she assured me.

And I did.  Now I only wear legging with tunics or over-sized sweaters.  My wardrobe is de-spandexed.

Miracles do happen.  One day you may wake up and your inner skank is gone.  Did not even bother to leave a note.  All you found was a pile of clothes sitting at the door labeled “DONATE”.

So here’s to you Venus Williams.

You are a tennis icon.

Who cares what people think of you!!!!

Embrace your inner skank.

Autographed Letter Signed,



24 Responses to “Finding Your Inner Skank”

  1. justdc Says:

    lol! loved reading this, thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. boldandbald Says:

    AC, while you may have avoided having you inner skank corrupt your actions, most young girls don’t have your strength. Just two houses down from me is a young girl that became pregnant at 13. Her parents were shocked. They had told us before this that they knew some of her friends were “doing things with boys”, but that their daughter just wasn’t interested in that sort of thing. I knew better. Not because I ever saw her with a boy, but because of the way she and her friends dressed. Come to find out that she had had a boyfriend for more than a year, and the parents knew that. I am sorry, but no 13 year should have a steady boyfriend. In todays world there is very little likelihood that nothing was happening in such a case. As I see it, it is all about parenting, and when you allow a young girl to dress like a skank, that is how people are going to see her, and how they are going to treat her. It is a short step from there to the girl seeing herself that way as well. I am glad that you avoided that trap, but you are definitely the exception.

    • afrocity Says:

      But B&B don’t you think that we cannot always judge the person by their attire?

      Would you look at the Venus Williams pic and think… Wimbledon???

      • boldandbald Says:

        You are right that we should not judge people by their attire, but we do. That is simple human nature. Whether it is seeing someone in a nice suit and assuming that they are succesful; seeing a guy with a pink Polo style shirt with the collar up and a pink hat and assuming he is gay; or seeing a young woman in short-shorts, high heels and a ‘wife-beater’ shirt with her bra clearly visible and we assume that she is a skank. In every case we may change our assumptions if we have the opportunity to get to know the person, but in most cases we don’t have that opportunity so the assumption stands. My point, as I said, is that when people treat you a certain way due to your appearance, unless you are a very stong person, your own opinion of yourself is going to be influenced by that. I, for one, will not allow my daughter to dress that way. Even now, though she is only 4, I will not allow her to wear bikinis or other clothing that I feel is inapropriate. I know that that fight is going to get much harder as she gets older, but I will continue to fight it.

      • Liz Says:

        “Even now, though she is only 4, I will not allow her to wear bikinis or other clothing that I feel is inapropriate. I know that that fight is going to get much harder as she gets older, but I will continue to fight it.”

        You’re heading for a world of hurt, boldandbald. All you’re setting yourself up for is your fourteen year old to sneak out around your back. Yes, you need rules, but if there is never going to be any relaxation, then at some point she will stop engaging and start the age old practise of telling you what you want to here, then disobeying you beind your back.

        Which would you prefer, allowing your daughter to wear a bikini, and still being in the loop, or having her telling you what you want to hear and sneaking off? Which strikes you as more dangerous? One of the reasons I escaped from a tough area unscathed was because I knew my parents would listen and work with me. The girls whose parents were completely rigid just went wild because there was no way their parents would let them off the leash even a bit, so they had to completely leave parental protection in order to have fun. There’s a chapter in “NurtureShock” about this very topic.

      • afrocity Says:

        B&B, whenever mom told me that I could not wear something, I sneaked it into my backpack and wore it anyway. What do you think gym lockers are for? Her protest was not over the style of clothing but sometimes she wanted me to save an outfit for a special occasion and I wanted to wear it the NEXT DAY. So I just folded it and took it to school without her knowing.

        I think it is important to let a child, especially a girl control her own style.

        What I did not mention in this story was that in college, I went entirely the opposite way and wore preppy business like clothing.

        The only time mom did not agree with me was when I briefly went Goth. It lasted like 3 months, i wore all black. I really liked the alternative crowd in high school but I needed to learn to be friends with them without feeling the need to look like them.

        • Boldandbald Says:

          To Liz and AC, I thank you for the concern. Personally I believe that it is possible to keep lines of communication open and still have rules. The parents of that 13 year old are the parents that were more concerned about staying in the loop than they were about setting boundaries. It isn’t about just setting rules and saying “because I said so.”. It is about teaching our children why the rules exist, and then leading by example. Again, I know it isn’t going to be easy, but noone ever said it was going to be.

          • Holly Says:

            I agree with you. Boundaries are essential. My parents seemed militant when I was a child and a teen, but we were great kids who turned out to be great adults because of the guidance and discipline of my parents. We had rules as to what we could and could not watch, what we could and could not wear, friends over bedroom doors open, on the internet in the family room door must be open and anything we wrote could be read by my parents because if they come in the room and we closed out everything, we had something to hide. Of course we all rebelled against certain rules in our own little ways, but all kids and teens try to assert their own independence. At the same time, we still all felt like we could go to our parents and we all appreciate now how we grew up.

            If you don’t set boundaries when they are little, you are screwed trying to fix it when they are older.

          • Liz Says:

            Holly, your parents sounded like the kinds of people who just didn’t let you have any privacy. That’s not healthy.

          • Holly Says:


            You can think whatever you wish, but I would disagree with you. I had plenty of privacy, but my parents also knew what was happening in my life. I would be careful when commenting about another’s parent because it makes you sound judgemental on a situation that you have no knowledge of.

          • Liz Says:

            Helen, I sympathise, but if you want to write about your upbringing on the internet, you need to realise that people can and will make judgements on it. It’s not entirely fair, but it’s life.

          • Holly Says:

            My name is Holly.

            This is true, you can be judgemental if you want to.

  3. yttik Says:

    LOL, that was well done and fun to read!

    No we shouldn’t judge people based on their appearance, but of course we do. I hope we would show some understanding for the young ones who are only trying to copy what they see all around. They certainly get the message that skanky is all the rage. It is impressed upon girls that all your value, all your self worth, is about how hot you can be. Many girls go through this, but hopefully only as a phase, once they realize how silly it all is.

    But geesh, how old is Venus now? 30?! All that talent, all that money, that wonderful athletic body, and she puts it in that?? It almost makes me want to cry.

    • Janelle Says:

      yttik, you may be the best clothing critic I’ve heard. Venus, you are beautiful, lose the ugly costume. And don’t show your butt cheeks again.

  4. Fusion Says:

    This was great. I remember back to my inner skank. Yellow hotpants. I didn’t have a clue how others, especially boys, were reacting. I was trying to be “attractive”, I just didn’t know what I was attracting.

  5. Formercorpsman Says:

    This made my damn day. I am grinning as a write.

    See, milkshakes do bring all the boys to the yard, lol.

    I don’t see your profile on FB. Are they messing with you?

  6. Holly Says:

    Touching ones bare feet in public should be outlawed! Gross. I have to trace everything they touch with my eyes so I know everywhere I must avoid.

    Is judging right, no, but of course we judge; no one, in their right mind would ever hire any of those girls if they were interviewing for a job. That’s life. You better believe my ten year old sister is not embracing her inner skank. Absolutely not, no way, she has three grown siblings that will not allow it! =)

    I think it’s hilarious that 80s fashion was considered risque. The decade with the dorkiest fashion, the GREATEST music, and life was pretty damn good in America was too sexy. haha. I do still remember 1983, the year I was born, and Jennifer Beals in Flashdance with just the sweater on and how she took her bra off and the sweater exposed her shoulder. Now that was sexy!

  7. While I agree with most of what you said, the reality is that Venus is almost 30. Most of us go through a stage of wearing clothes to be provacative, but she should have that inner skank out of her system by now.

    I have this feeling that if she knew how is would be photographed she would have worn different shorts…At least I hope so. I am a huge tennis fan and watch the William sisters as often as I can, and this is out of character for her.

  8. Tiny Says:

    What was Venus thinking? That outfit is disgusting. There really should be a dress code…..As for the way one dresses…..what is in the inside will come out.

  9. BaldManMoody Says:

    “My hymen reported intact and ready for duty every morning.”

    This made my Tuesday (that feels like a Monday) morning.

    Venus is beautiful – and she accomplished everything she wanted. It got attention. Just like Lopez’s dress got attention back in the day. Athletes (much like celebrities) are attention whores of the highest order – so no shocker here.

    Better to be talked about at the water cooler than not to be talked about at all, right? Maybe not for the average person, but for the right egocentric person, yes!

  10. Nancy Says:

    That has got to be one of the scariest things I have ever seen. What was she thinking?

  11. Amy Says:

    Oh, wow…this brings me back to my own inner skank days. My best friend and I would wear “stretch” jeans, tank tops and high heels. We also spackled on the make-up and teased our hair sky-high (yup, you guessed it, this was 1983). We were 13 and thought we were the s-word. You think my mom knew I dressed like that? Heck no! She wasn’t super strict but she did want me to act and dress like a lady, but she was a single mom to 4 kids and some stuff got away from her.

    I’ll never forget being completely offended when bestie and I were walking to the hang out spot and some guy pulled up and said “How much for tonight?”. He was being a smart-ass but I was genuinely like “Why would you say such a thing!”.

    And yup, I grew out of it…but I will admit that I did some skanky things that I don’t believe had anything to do with the response I elicited it others and how they viewed me. That was more of a result of broken home, etc (which is a whol other comment).

    As to Venus being 30…true, by this age most of us have outgrown our inner skank but do keep in mind this is a woman who essentially grew up in the public eye. Normal phases of childhood are often bypassed by celebrity children, which is why they may act out at a later age.

    Or, ya know, maybe she just thought she looked hot.

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