27 Dresses*

When I interviewed for my job at a Catholic school, I wore my nicest charcoal-gray pantsuit and my St. Brigid's Cross.  The cross won me a smile and approval from the principal, who teaches a course on the lives of the saints.  Later, as I discussed details with the assistant principal, she said rather awkwardly that this was a "very traditional" school.

I nodded emphatically.  Yes, yes, I supported that.  Traditional.

She tried again.  "I mean, we're very traditional.  The girls all wear uniforms, so . . . "

I nodded some more.  I had worn a uniform for most of my secondary education, and I had found it wonderfully freeing, I said.  It was good for the students to have that kind of discipline, I said.  I supported that, too.

She looked as though I were still missing something, and finally, she just came out and said it: "You look very nice, but if you were to teach here, you'd need to wear a dress every day."

Ohhhh.  That kind of traditional.

It wasn't a problem, I said.  I wore dresses a lot of the time anyway.  This was true.

Buuuuut . . . there's something about being told you *have* to do something that makes you not want to do it, and over the years, the fact that I *have* to wear a dress (or skirt) every day has really started to get to me.  About this time every year, 3/4 of the way through, I wake up and think, "If I have to wear one more stupid dress today, I'm going to scream!"  Days when I don't feel so well, or it's below freezing outside, or (worst of all) days when there's a dress down day, and I could have worn pants, but I didn't know about it.

I understand their reasons for requiring a more professional look, and on principle, I think it's only fair, since the students also wear skirts every day.  I also admire them for taking any kind of a sartorial stance, in an age where people can wear jeans and flip-flops to the office any day of the week.  I see this as part of my uniform, the same way a Hooters waitress can't just wear baggy sweats or a modestly-cut skirt to work.

This morning, though, it hit me.  I'm so tired of wearing dresses.  I'm ready for summer right now.

*Okay, yes, I've seen the movie.  But not on purpose.  My cousin put it on, and while I did remain in the room, I was reading the entire time.  I did not enjoy one moment of it.