Style. You're a fickle beast.

The girls said I was too boring in my baseball post... How about this? It's about fashion.

Saw a kid with some crazy hair on my way in this morning. His hair was cut very short all over, except for a 7 inch rat tail. The rat tail was styled in two ways: half of it was slicked straight back (like a good rat tail should) but the second part was slicked up the back of his head and over it... all the way to his forehead (like a rat tail/Mohawk). I felt for the kid and wondered what in the world his mom was thinking. It made me think of my childhood, and three style mishaps I had.

1) In grade school, I pegged my pants (like this girl). The hallmarks of a sweet peg were its tightness and its ability to stay put for long periods of time. A good peg could withstand most of the day without being re-rolled. I remember feeling really stupid the first time I pegged my pants, but it went over so well at school, I thought it must be cool... I kept doing it.

I remember where I was and what grade (5th) I was when I stopped pegging. The bell had just rung to come in from recess. I was standing with a red kick ball and walking toward the building when a girl named Charlotte tapped me on the shoulder. She was a pretty and popular little girl, so I stopped and said, "hi." She didn't say hi. Instead she gave me this little number: "Jeff, we don't peg our pants anymore. It isn't cool." With that she walked away.

I bent down right then, unrolled my pants, and walked into the building feeling peggless and sad.

2) I was in 4th grade and I thought sweat pants and climbing on stuff was pretty awesome. I had climbed up on a volleyball standard in sweat pants and I was standing with my foot on the hook where the bottom of the net went, and holding on to the top hook to stabilize myself. I was fairly impressed with myself, and I stood up there swinging my free leg around.

Some of the girls that my friends and I had crushes on came walking by, including the girl I always went "steady" with. I yelled out to them, and kicked my free leg pretty fiercely, trying to show off. In my excitement, my leg standing on the hook slipped off of the hook and I began to fall straight down. The hook caught the leg of my sweats and as the girls looked on, I fell and my sweats tore all the way up the leg. I stood up quickly, not realizing that as I did, my pants flapped wide open, revealing the goods. In my humiliation, I didn't know what to do. I took off running for home.

3) In 8th grade I thought my sister (who was 4 years older than me) was the coolest. Because she was in high school, she always got more expensive, and nicer clothes than me. One day she was out shopping and came home with a white polo shirt with colored polka dots on it (it was the early 90's). I thought the shirt was pretty cool, told her so, and she said that it was a unisex shirt, so maybe I could wear it sometime. Looking back, I think she was just humoring her little brother by being nice, but I didn't know better & thought she was serious. One day when she had already left for school, I went into her closet, took the shirt, and decided to wear it to school. In my mind, I looked awesome. In the mirror, I blew myself away.

My first period was gym. We did the fun run that day, so I changed, ran, and afterward changed back. As I pulled the shirt from my locker, I remember feeling excited to wear it out into the halls again. I pulled the shirt over my head, shut my locker, turned to leave and heard, "Hey Jeff!" I turned and several of the really cool 9th graders were standing there. I figured they were going to compliment my shirt (since it was so awesome), and I said, "Oh, hey guys." One of the coolest (that I'd played baseball with for years) then said, "Nice shirt. Did your mom dress you?" and they all started laughing. I didn't really have any sort of comeback... knowing that my although my mom hadn't necessarily dressed me, my sister (in essence) had.

This is how it felt:

I guess at the end of the day, the kid with the rat tail is paying his dues on the way to being a normal adult... just like the rest of us. Lucky little devil.


Ming said...

Much better! Even though I've heard all 3 of those stories & seen that clip of Freaks & Geeks before...I was still more entertained reading this than I was your baseball post! Nice work.

Lauren said...

I had to learn that it was possible to wear too many scrunchies in your hair the hard way. Yet, somehow we all come out relatively un-scarred. Amazing.

Melanie said...

rat tails...everything does come back again doesn't it? I too am a victim of the pegging, although I think we just called it rolling..not sure, I may have blocked it out of my memory. I think my grade 5 picture, might be grade 6 is the worst...cable knoit sweater(blue - think it might have been a boys sweater) over a lovely white lacey collared blouse, with an even lovlier (hideous) hair clip of a bow sticking out the side of my head. Yes I was a trend setter indeed!

Wendy Weiler King said...

Laughed out loud at least four times while reading this.

But I have one question: You were going "steady" in the FOURTH GRADE?! We weren't doing that in good old Waukee until much later... like SIXTH. I guess Mindy is right about your "history" with women! ;)

Joe said...

This was indeed funny, Dolphinman. I remember pegging my pants so tight I used a safety pin to keep them in. I relish the thought of you running home with your pants flapping in the wind. How did you grow up to be so freakin' cool?

I find the growing pains continue right on through adulthood. I have a T-shirt I like so much, I must have overworn it because one day a couple of guys who I don't even know that well commented semi-mockingly: "Joe must be feeling it today, he's wearing his lucky shirt." I felt like I was ten again.

Kyle said...

"My first period was gym."

I think you meant to say "My first period CAME DURING gym."

But it's ok. The rest of the post gave it enough context that we knew what you meant.

Mark said...

Kyle: +1

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