A few years ago at a junior high school orientation, one mother asked about the school's dress code. The principal deadpanned, "We tell the students that we do not wish to see their underwear." This drew a huge laugh, because nowadays it isn't clear why they call it underwear since much of it isn't under anything.
I'm no prude, but when I was a teenager, I went to great lengths to make sure my underwear was covered up. Tank tops with spaghetti straps were completely out of the question. I even remember using safety pins to attach my bra straps to my sleeveless tops, because exposing any part of a brassiere simply was not done.
My, have times changed. Apparently bra straps are very much in style, judging by how many of them I see on my son's high school campus. I guess I should be grateful that the girls are even wearing bras, since their skintight tops appear to be sprayed on. Their pants are sprayed on, too, and it isn't unusual to see the skinny little straps of thong underwear peeking out.
To be sure, these girls are darling and have spectacular figures, but oh my! Thank heavens for winter when at least some of them don sweatshirts. With the weather soon to warm, I'm sure we'll be seeing more and more Lily of France. It's a wonder the boys can function.
In all fairness, I should mention that boys are not immune to the peekaboo underwear craze. On any given day if you were to lift my freshman son's T-shirt, you might be able to read the words "It's all about me" on the elastic band of his SpongeBob SquarePants boxers. His affliction is mild, though, compared to many of the boys on his campus whose waistbands fall below - yes, below - their rear ends. Funny how the belts they wear don't seem to help much. These young men have to do a bowlegged John Wayne cowboy strut just to keep their trousers from cascading to the ground.
It's a riot watching these boys try to get around. The rebel in me wants to sneak up behind them and give their jeans a swift little tug, sending those babies to the ankles. It wouldn't take much. I want to tell them, "Listen, Buddy. As a woman who owns high-heeled shoes, I am no stranger to fashion over function, but you guys can't take two steps without almost losing your drawers. 'Sagging,' by the way, makes your waist look really long and your legs look really short. Most unflattering."
Somewhere along the way, it became more of a fashion faux pas for boys to air their knees than their underwear. Clueless clothing designers have forced growing boys to buy cavernous sizes just to avoid the dreaded knee exposure. The result is huge pants that ride ridiculously low on the hips, cover the knees and display Tony the Tiger boxers for all the world to see. This is one silly trend. What teenage boys think is bling bling looks totally dorky in the eyes of anyone over the age of 21.
As far as the girls go, let's blame Madonna. Flagrantly flaunting her underwear as outerwear, Madonna set the trashy standard for America's future pop princesses. Cyndi Lauper, the Spice Girls, Britney Spears - the list goes on and on. Before we knew what hit us, teenage girls across the land were following suit, horrifying their parents every time they walked out the door.
And now, along comes Janet Jackson.