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The Madera Tribune

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Remembering what we wore and how we wore it

October 27, 2018

Back in the day, as the kids like to say, I couldn’t understand why old people were so cranky and judgmental. Many of the grownups said kids had no respect, their hairstyles and clothes were an embarrassment, what they called music was nothing but noise and played too loud! The girls looked like clowns or streetwalkers that put their makeup on with a trowel. The boys wore their hair so long it was impossible to tell the boys from the girls.


The high school dress code enforced in my freshman year required girls to wear dresses or skirts. The hem could be no more than three inches above the knee. If the dean of girls “Miss Margo Dominici,” thought a skirt too short, girls were required to kneel on a bench while she measured from bench to hemline. If more than three inches, the girl was sent home to change. Dominici literally carried a ruler to measure the length of the girls’ skirts.


Many city schools have rules prohibiting jeans on its male students. That becomes a bit of a non-issue out here in rural America when better than half your male students do chores before school. Not to mention spend much of their day on the school ag farm or some other vo-tec class.


In the 1970s the length of the boys’ hair was a debate causing the dean of boys considerable headaches. The boys’ hair was deemed too long if it touched the collar of their shirt. The shift came when the administration began allowing girls to wear pants or jeans during the winter.


Athletes operated under different rules. Getting in shape for any intermural sports team included a buzz-cut for every player. The high school coaches insisted their players have short hair. I’m surprised when I see a football player with dreadlocks or a ponytail. What is it that keeps the other players from leveraging a handful of an opponent’s hair to advantage?


By the time we graduated, the dress code had been all but abolished.


 I have found I have become one of those cranky, judgmental old people. In my mind’s eye, I can see myself standing on the porch of my gingerbread house, yelling at the kids to get out of the flowerbeds and to turn down that noise they call music. Try as I might like it, rap and hip-hop is just not music.


As for horrible fashion choices, I don’t know where to begin. Pants falling off, underwear is worn as outerwear and sweat-pants elevated in stature to leisurewear.


Pierced ears were once considered quite risqué. Nice girls wore clip-on ear bobs. Being thought of as a nice girl was of the utmost importance.


What were once attributes of circus sideshow freaks can be seen any day on the streets. Commonly known by the innoxious terms as examples of body jewelry and body art are exchangeable as piercing and tattoos as common as can be.


When I see an arm covered in a sleeve of tattoos or that same type of body art on someone’s neck or face I can’t help but wonder where that person could hope to find employment.


I have always believed in live and let live. The thinking part of my brain tells me that just like freedom of the press, speech and religion this is just freedom of expression

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I like Ouija boards, Tarot cards and little scruffy dogs. That is my right to freedom of expression. Still, I can’t help but question the judgment of a person who has cartoon characters permanently affixed to their body.


Have a great Halloween and remember to vote!


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Readers, may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing tamijonix@gmail.com or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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