Prude or Principled

By on August 1, 2011

woman with her hand held to breast in front of United States flagBy Chris Wave –

I ‘m fifty-four and of the waning Clan called, Prude. Most of this antiquated clan died out with the Pilgrims and Puritans. Remaining clan members, yet alive on the planet are like Shakers; devoid of hope for species perpetuation. Reproductively speaking, we are in the grandmother years and it’s not gonna happen, thankfully, barring the aid of test tubes or Abrahamic miracle.

I wasn’t born into Clan Prude. My people were modest but not prudish. I seem to have originated an extreme form of prudishness as a young girl.

My mother had to take me by the shoulders one morning in 1969 and give me a hemlines-have-risen-talk. She punctuated this mind-stalling declaration by pointing out I was the only person still wearing dresses below my kneecaps including my grandmother. Mother’s fashion declaration stunned me; shook me to the core. How had I missed this glaring, vibrating hemline clue?

Flash freeze that story and jump thirty years; my girls told me their shirts were dresses. My girls donned strings and threads and tried to tell me it was underwear.

Flash back again. My mother had to tell me to quit wearing long-sleeves in summer and “wear something cooler like a tank top.”! Gasp, gasp! I felt like Eve, naked, naked, NAKED!

Bathing suits? Why, we had maillots or a little skirted number that added an extra smackle of perceived coverage. We also had a thing called a dickie to tuck into shirt fronts for cleavage modesty.

My girls snap their eyes at each other when I drop words like Maillot or dickie. They give each other that secret, snickering sister-look that lets me know, three seconds after I leave the room they’ll be rolling on the floor, snorting and hooting at my expense

Clan mothers as far as I know have been defeated in this generation. My girls would have undergone dental surgery without anesthesia before wearing a one-piece bathing suit. These girls may as well have worn two Band-Aids for a bikini top, so little was their coverage.

No matter the decibel or the volume of shrieking episodes I spit out each morning before school, violence was daily committed against the Four B Dress Code of Clan Prude Members with reckless abandon. Boobs, butts, bellies, and the bizarre showed up with shocking frequency at my breakfast bar.

I spent a good seven years of my adult life in high-alert, level-orange, scan-mode. Despite my vigilance terroristic boobs sprouted out of shirts, butts flopped out of pants, bellies hollah’d at me with cacophony of rings and studs, stickers and dyes.

As for that fourth B, the bizarre? Well, I could write a book about the tattoos, piercings and strange hair colors that tried to duck under my nose in those years.

But alas and big sigh…Clan Prude members take your delight! Progeny grow up and usually get married. I knew my son-in-law was “the one” before my daughter perceived it, when he remarked on her skimpy bikini and teeny, white short, shorts. She banished both to the closet and bought a tankini! Yep, yep, tis true!

Of course she turned on me and said, “how could you have let me wear those shorts, Mother!?”

I ran from the room snickering, doing the clan Victory Dance waving my arms akimbo, like happy flags.

Chris Wave, author of Conversations at the Girlville Diner (Hariold Shaw 1999, Waterbrook 2001)

About Chris-Marie Wave

Chris Wave is a former R.N working in many fields of medicine from maternal/neonatal, Coronary Intensive care units, Surgical Urology and orthopedics In 1988 her focus turned to more natural, gentle and complete healing modalities which led to a limited, acute care apprenticeship with a local homeopathist. In 2006 Chris became a Certified Natural Health Practitioner (CNHP) and then began pursuing her Naturopathic Doctor from Trinity School of Natural Health Studies. She also obtained a Master Herbalist in the process and is a Certified Nutritional Microscopist, assisting clients to total wellness using live and dry blood cell analysis and nutritional biofeedback.

One Comment

  1. Kay Vinci

    August 6, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Simply delightful. Thank you, Chris, for helping me to laugh now at what were then very stressful teen years for me in raising my own two fashion-slaved daughters. As a young girl, I too owned and wore a dickie. Forgot all about them!! 🙂

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Prude or Principled