Peggy Hill Was A Hussy
Time for most of us to wear layers, anyway. We don’t all do it. When my bundled-up self walked to a nearby store, I passed a few members of this year’s crop of Cool Kids walking home from school. One young lady was cool in an uncomfortably literal sense of the word because she, despite the frigid weather, wore a miniskirt over bare legs. The goosebumps on her thighs belied the word HOTTIE printed just above them, across the skirt's backside.
Still, her ensemble had the desired effect on the attention spans of the boys accompanying her. It also made a tiny, quasi-maternal part of me want to pull her aside and proffer wisdom from the Older And Wiser Generation: “You can get the same results from the boys with a pair of skin-tight jeans, and save the skirt for warmer weather. That’s how we did it in my day, and it does still work.”
But I said nothing, because I don’t want to become “that creepy woman who gives unsolicited courtship advice to teens on the street.” So I passed the kids with my head down, partially to keep the cold wind off my face but mainly so the girl wouldn’t see the amusement on it.
However, an older woman coming out of the store saw my facial expression and misinterpreted it completely: she looked from me to Miniskirt Girl and back again, and mumbled the standard grown-ups’ commiseration about Kids Today and blah blah sex and when-I-was-their-age-I-never.
This, I remind you, from a member of the Woodstock Generation. I smiled, shrugged and walked past her into the store.
Woodstock Mama got one thing right – styles today do tend to show a lot more skin (as measured in square inches) than 20 years ago. Yet whenever I hear concerns about this proving the decline of American civilization, I think of King of the Hill.
Like most cartoon characters, Peggy Hill usually wears the same outfit: a sleeveless shirt and culotte shorts that end a few inches above the knees. These clothes, along with her hairstyle and glasses, are not meant to be titillating, but instead to portray her as a dull and frumpy lower-middle-class woman. Yet a hundred years ago, you’d have to go to a brothel or burlesque house to see a woman displaying that much skin. Even exposing a woman’s ankle was obscene a century ago (and still is, according to the Saudis and the Taliban).
I wouldn’t be surprised to learn American civilization actually is in decline; I just don’t think increased skin exposure has anything to do with it. Western civilization adapted just fine to the notion that Peggy Hill can show her knees in public without harming The Children, and if bare midriffs and mid-thighs become the norm we can handle that too.
But seriously, girls of today: don’t walk around with words like “hottie” or “sexy” on your clothes. Self-promotion is one thing, but you shouldn’t look as though you’re trying too hard.
And stop appearing in those stupid Girls Gone Wild videos. You’re doing it all wrong: when you show a man the twins, you’re supposed to make money off the viewing, not him.
That’s how we did it in my day, and it does still work.