New theme: Getting old | Mark’s Remarks


I’ve had someone tell me more than once this past weekend that I’m getting old. 

Last week’s column was about being too old to keep up with life in general. I’m hoping that I haven’t gotten to the point where all my columns will now be geared towards my dotage.  Heaven forbid.

Lately, I’ve been getting sideways glances from certain people. You see, I’ve been making comments about the way girls dress – especially since fall season brings a bazillion Facebook photos of kids dressed in their unfamiliar best, going to dances and such.  

Now, listen for a minute. I’m all about kids having a good time. I think school dances are special times.  I love hearing about kids going to dances, having a great time, getting dressed up and the like. In some respects, dances aren’t much different than they were years and years ago. They are milestones, rights of passage, whatever you like to call them.

But I have to ask this:  Do any of you think that girls are looking like they are wearing negligees to school dances? 

I saw a photo recently. A group of pretty, happy young girls were posing together, pleased as punch at their hairdos, new dresses and new shoes. They looked great. They looked happy. They have good parents. They are good kids.

But folks, I have to say many of the dresses I saw resembled something you’d see at Victoria’s Secret.  You know, the kind of stuff that a red-faced husband might get help buying for an anniversary or something.

After seeing the picture, I decided to fully embrace my old fogie, curmudgeonly person and ask the question: What the heck do girls wear under these dresses?

Now, hear me out. I’m not being a dirty old man.  But from the length of these dresses, I guarantee you those girls couldn’t bend over, sit down, or even dance around without those little dresses destroying any myth or mystery. 

One young lady, after giving me one of those “Come on, Grandpa” side glances, finally told me that girls wear “spanx” under such dresses. I guess those are modern-day incarnations of what ladies used to call girdles. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Not one to let an opportunity for a one-liner to pass me by, I said “Spanx?  I think your parents need to be spanked for letting you wear dresses that short.”

Hee hee. No one laughed. Neither did I, because I was serious.

I’m sorry, I don’t approve. I have two daughters of my own and I have had countless young ladies in my classes over the years that grow up and go to dances. I feel a bit paternal to many of them.

I also know how boys’ minds work, because I was one once. It’s true that they say guys have one track minds, regardless of their upbringing. 

Shame on the male species, right? I’m afraid us guys are designed that way.  It’s not an excuse to act like buffoons, but even the most straight-laced teenage guy notices skimpy dresses.

But look, I think my biggest issue with the whole thing is a loss of innocence. I mean, I think I went to my first dance in the late 1970s. It was then that boys noticed girls for the first time, maybe. The girls had their hair and makeup done, they had on a more mature looking outfit than usual with high heels.  

They were suddenly pretty to us guys. It was the first time we noticed some of them even being pretty. Remember?  

To me, that was the magic of going to school dances. We didn’t have to see almost every inch of the girl to be interested.   We noticed them anyway.  

Nothing is left to the imagination anymore.

I laugh sometimes at the clothes we wore in the 1980s. At our homecoming dances, girls wore big ‘ol southern belle type dresses that just about knocked you over. It was hard for them to fit in the car when you picked them up.  Some less adventurous girls wore long, non-belle dresses. 

A few years later, girls started wearing long gowns you may see in a beauty pageant. I don’t remember when dresses started getting shorter, but I never thought they’d be so short. Heck, I’m not sure they should even call them dresses anymore.  

I still saw some pretty tasteful clothing choices in the photos that popped up on Facebook. Girls are still choosing dresses that are short, yet not too short.  

Some, in my overly judgmental opinion, were just the right length. I also saw some (gasp!) long dresses too.  

It is my hope that some parents just said “Enough!”  and impressed upon their daughters to do the right thing.

There were times I would shake my head at older folks when I was younger. I remember them wondering aloud what the world was coming to: 

“Kids have no manners these days! They no longer have a work ethic! Kids have smart mouths and don’t know how to behave. And look at the way they dress! Did you ever see such a thing? When did kids start dressing this way? The girls are showing all their business!  Who started this trend?”

Old folks. Hmm.

I guess I’ve arrived.

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