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By Felix Adamo / The Californian
By Heather Ijames
This is about short shorts and the need to fight.
There was a young man at the gym minding his own business, lifting weights. A young girl walked up next to him to stretch. I'd put them both at 19 to 20 years old. He couldn't help but look every now and then, but he seemed like a decent enough guy, trying to be respectful under the circumstances. Yet it wasn't enough for her. This young girl, already wearing the shortest workout shorts and a form-fitting tank top, proceeded to take off said tank top, leaving her in a sports bra.
The guy kept doing the right thing, even moving away after the sports bra deal. And there she remained, nearly dejected, and I wondered ... has anyone ever told her why she should be glad that didn't work?
I don't have daughters, so I'll never know firsthand, but the question is: Why do parents who otherwise object to skimpy clothing nonetheless allow their daughters to wear it? Sure, the gal at the gym was an adult -- legally -- but I see this stuff in elementary through high school. And while you can't control an adult's choices, I still believe there's enough control with a minor.
Over the years, I've asked mothers with daughters that question. Their answers are usually the same. "I don't want her to wear that stuff, but ..."
1) There are bigger things to fight over.
Are you sure? Because the way I see it, when your daughter wins a man's attention because he likes to gawk at her body, then congratulations, she's set the bar real low for her man's fidelity. If she won his heart by pulling her tank top off at the gym, then can't another woman accomplish the same thing later down the line? How about after she's married to him and eight months pregnant with your grandchild?
And, what are these alleged "bigger" things to fight over if not for the desire to see a daughter happily married to someone who will respect her and stay faithful? Just like that guy in the gym, the good ones usually know better than to pick a woman based on that sort of stuff.
As I've said, I don't have daughters, but I do have boys. I'm already training my sons to do what the gym guy did; to look away, move, and wait for someone in their lives who won't take such lowly measures to get their attention. I tell them to stay away from short shorts and plunging necklines. If that doesn't mean anything to you and your daughters, then oh well. I'll only add that if my sons have half the integrity of their father, your daughters will be missing out on some good, loyal men.
2) I really hate the fighting.
Well, that's like saying you hate a root canal. News flash, baby ... everyone hates it. Buck up, be the adult, and fight for your daughter's self-worth and future. If you're not fighting with your child or teen over your give and their take, you're probably doing something wrong. I mean, come on, it's not like their logical. Fighting is a given.
3) It's just the style of the day. I can't find anything else for her.
Check this out. I made a couple of calls for you:
I asked Kohl's, "Do you have shorts that go down to mid-thigh for young girls?"
I asked Old Navy, "Do you have shorts in juniors, where, you know, a 16-year-old wouldn't have to shave so far up?"
Laughter. "Of course we do."
There you go. No more excuses. You're welcome.
4) I can't control what she wears.
I think I may hate this one the most. Last I checked, 14-year-olds aren't income producing members of the household. If you were able to put your foot down, then none of your hard-earned money would be used for shorty-shorts. Oh, and gift cards she gets from Grammie for her birthday? You can't control that? Well, I think you can. Take away her phone or Internet.
"But then she yells and cries and screams and makes my life a living hell." Yup. And she might also actually turn out to love herself more in the end, as well as one day find a man who will treat her like the lady you're trying to raise.
I hope, in the end, the fight doesn't seem so onerous. At least for the sake of your daughter.
As an aside, I wrote this column before Miley Cyrus' performance at the VMA Awards. And all I can say is: Thank you, Miley, for proving my point.
-- Heather Ijames is a community columnist whose work appears here every third Saturday. These are the opinions of Ijames, not necessarily The Californian. Send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.