For the past 31 years, I have taught high-school English, mostly in Texas, grades 10-12 (16-18 year olds). Texas is a conservative place overall, and while our cities are increasingly blue / democrats, schools are the last bastion of old Southern traditions. Principals actually address dress code for staff at the beginning of each school year, and teachers can and do get fired if they don’t follow the rules (other excuses might be given, but sexy / trashy/ unkempt dress for females is not tolerated. ) “Teacher dress “ is a real thing and I can spot a fellow educator from far away.
When I was a girl growing up in Dallas in the 1960’s, my mother ensured that I was “raised right.” I had school dresses and church dresses and play dresses (with shoes to match). My bff , born in Germany, was asked to go home and change bc she didn't wear a dress to school in 1967. My mother also ensured I had nightgowns, robes, under garments, slips and petticoats to go with all my outfits. As late as 1994 my mother wouldn’t let me out the door in a sexy well-fitted British suit that cupped my ass just a bit. She refused to let me get my ears pierced at age 13 bc only “fast” girls did that. We fought on that forever till I threatened to do it myself.
So it was with deep satisfaction that I celebrated my retirement by getting the one thing I could never have as an AP English teacher, doing the one thing that would piss my mother off violently. Thank god she is dead. Men buy sports cars for their mid-life crises. I got a tattoo.
Sure everyone has them now you say, but for my social group, I’m just a bit risqué. It’s a lotus, a beautiful flower that grows from the muck, and a unalome, a Buddhist symbol signifying life’s journey.