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.
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,