When will I learn that I am not one of them

Friday, October 21, 2005

I was never what you would call a “popular girl”. I suspect many of the women who’s blogs I read and love know exactly of what I speak.

I was always a little off center – too loud, too opinionated, not skinny enough, too smart. For my town in Vermont, the norm was to be thin, upper middle class, blonde and look like you spend every day skiing ( water or snow). Not me. I dyed my hair, I pierced unusual places, I wore black/funky clothes from the Mission (our Goodwill), and for one memorable phase – I wore gloves every day. Not winter gloves – but the 1950’s gloves. Everyday. I had quite a collection.

So imagine my surprised reaction when someone asks my daughter to model. “Really? You want her to be a model? – She’d be thrilled!!!!” Who is this person speaking out of my mouth? Where did this woman come from?

I am simultaneously disgusted with myself and overjoyed. I have produced an Attractive child! People Like her! She is cute! I have not sullied her with my social outcast status that I wore with resigned acceptance through high school. Maybe the crazy gene has passed the genetic barrier, but not the weirdo gene.

So, I take her to the rehearsal last night. We walk in and I immediately feel like I am back in high school again. There are uber-mothers everywhere. Blonde, tall, thin. They look relaxed, efficient, not a hair out of place. They are all wearing clogs and Merrills.
( If you want to know the caliber of people you are with – look at their shoes. The high end crowd wear Clogs – wooden and wool- Merrill’s or some other German boutique shoes. It is almost NEVER sneakers – and if they are - white Keds only)
And now, Dear Jesus, Miss New Hampshire walks in. Where the fuck am I?

My little brown daughter is awash in blonde whiteness. I resist the urge to shield her eyes and pull her out of this trainwreck before it even starts. She is the fly in the buttermilk. I am gadfly in the beehive.

The mothers start chatting. I have no soccer tales to tell. No knitting to work on. What I would really like is a glass of wine and a sit down and maybe a real conversation poking fun at the fact that we are selling our daughters to the mass media – acting as “procurer’s” if you will.

This ain’t that group. They are the Junior Service League. They LOVE being mothers and wives. They believe in this shit. I would be stabbed with knitting needles if I said what I was thinking, which was “What is this? A Nazi youth rally?”

I leave. I go to the bookstore where I get a strong cup o’joe and sit down to laugh (loudly) at the new Onion anthology. There are lots of funny swear words. I buy David Rackoff’s new book (which I Highly recommend). I leave to pick up my child.

I repent. Again.

2 Baleful Regards:

Nancy said...

Yeah, I can relate to this post. I was never one of the popular girls, but I've got this gorgeous, gregarious little blonde girl that's already (at 3 1/2) so popular in her class. I can't decide if I think this is a good thing or not. Part of me thinks it would be "character building" if she's not popular... the other part wants to shield her from the difficulty of being an outcast.

I've felt out of place at some of the day care events with other moms, too. I want to tell them -- this isn't a competition! It doesn't matter who brings the best homemade dessert, or whether or toddlers have goodie bags for their class parties! We don't need to teach the kids at this tender age that they need to wear only clothes with a certain label. Grrrr!

OK, off soapbox. Thanks for letting me share. This is an issue I think about a lot!

PriscillaG said...

Oh how I know what you are talking about. I am white, my husband black, our children obviously biracial. I worry so much about how they will be treated when they are older. So far, no problems. I've taught them that skin color does not matter, all people are different. I can only hope that if/when they receive negative comments about their skin color, they'll be able to handle it.
As far as the white suburban moms, I've got a preschool class with them all around me! Clogs and all!

 
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