Finn bought a Barack Obama T shirt several weeks ago and has been wearing it to school. That may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but here in Alabama, in the conservative Tiny Kingdom, he might as well have gone naked and painted “I HATE FOOTBALL”on his butt and he’d have gotten the same reaction. He reported engaging in several “lively discussions” which I was happy to hear about. He was also on the receiving end of some insults, which were unfortunate but not unexpected. He garnered a few high fives in the halls as well.
Overall, I was proud that he had the balls to stand up for what he believed in a very visible way, especially at such a tricky age. He’ll be thirteen next month, and about fainted when I picked up cross-country carpool and got out of the car and walked across the parking lot to talk to a friend, thus exposing myself to his friends. I was dressed and everything, and I think I’m a reasonably cute mom, but he acted as if a haggard witch had emerged from the minivan specifically to embarrass him.
The day after the election he wore his shirt in celebration, although he said he was careful to remain quiet and let his shirt do the talking.
“But when I got to the cafeteria, it was awesome,” he told me. “Most of the lunchroom staff is African-American, and when they saw my shirt the man who helps replace the bins of food pointed and said ‘Cool shirt,’ so I said ‘Barack On.’ And the lunchroom lady said ‘Oh honey, how you doin’ today?’ and gave me like seven chicken fingers and usually they give you four.”
“Sounds good,” I said.
“My friends were jealous, but I don’t think the cafeteria ladies were spreading the wealth around. I think they were just celebrating.”
That’s a relief.
Two years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: My Name Is Anne Glamore and I Am A Member Of Curmudgeons Anonymous
At a recent football game, a neighboring high school performed a halftime dance routine at a football game that “stunned and appalled” one Tiny Kingdom woman. She found the routine inappropriate for public viewing, as the girls wore mens’ button down shirts and ties and proceeded to “suggestively shake and shimmy.” Later they tore off the shirts and revealed dance costumes underneath.
I have not seen the routine in question, but I’m an expert in both football dance routines and shimmying in a button down shirt, so I have a little something to say about this topic.
From 1982 through 1985 I was a member of the Dorians, the Tiny Kingdom’s dance team. In keeping with our mostly Republican, all white demographic, we performed routines so conservative that we might as well have been the toy soldiers in The Nutcracker. There was nary a wiggle or waggle to be found. Then we’d march off the field and watch while the other teams shook their asses and laid it down. I found it highly frustrating.
We scored a coup in the fall of 1985, when the band played “Thriller” and our choreography called for us to turn our backs to the stands and shake our fannies from side to side, using our hands to accentuate the motion. For a few seconds during each show I felt like a Solid Gold dancer, but it was a small reward for two years of marching with the occasional kick-ball-change. At least our high-kick line rocked.
But what does this have to do with the current situation? Well, as it turns out, the other high school disagreed that their costume and routine was suggestive of a striptease. Again, I didn’t witness it.
But about three years ago, when Bill and I decided to add some pizzazz to our sex life, I bought a book that was full of ideas besides hopping in the bed and going at it. I wrote all about it here. The book promised that if I walked around in one of Bill’s button downs and a pair of high heels, he’d appreciate the show. The tip was so successful that I shared it with my Bible Study, all of whom have reported amazing results. (One attendee recommends inviting your husband home for lunch, where he finds you vacuuming in this getup. They never made it to the bedroom, and she suffered rug burns that she says were totally worth it.)
Unless you have actually worked as a French maid in the past and held on to your uniform, the button down shirt is the thriftiest provocative outfit you can wear if you’re getting ready to make googly eyes with your lover. Sexier even than the Garden of Eden costume, because in my experience, a man likes to rip a little something off a woman and fling it on the ground.
So I’m thinking that the idea that the dancers’ costume had no sexual overtones was a bit naive. My scientific experimentation has proven the outfit to be titillating and seductive, and that’s exactly what I intend each time I put it on. If you were a Dorian and saved your seamed fishnet pantyhose, well, that just adds an extra layer of entertainment.
Let’s all take a vote. You can try out the shirt and hip shake to gauge its effect before voting if you need to. In fact, I encourage you to do so.
Three years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: All About You
Finn has succeeded in making decent grades, particularly in his Advanced Algebra class. At the start of the school year we drew up a contract with him, setting forth our expectations for his grades. The agreement stipulated that if his total GPA was above a certain number, he would be entitled to a cell phone.
This was his first year of junior high, and he had to learn to juggle numerous activities. In addition to the core curriculum he had the advanced class and two electives, Band and Spanish. He also ran cross-country every afternoon and of course kept up his once a week drum lessons. I was looking through scrapbooks recently and realized he’s on his third set of drums and fifth year of lessons– he’s well on his way to being able to replace Charlie Watts when he gives out.
Here he is with his first set of drums:
Here he is about a year or so ago doing a gut-busting drum solo:
I was positive Finn would remain phoneless. Algebra proved to be a challenge, and it revealed weaknesses in his study habits. We enlisted the help of the MasterMinds tutoring service in a last ditch effort to shore up his grades, and I’ll admit that I was snobby about the idea of tutoring, having never been tutored myself. When we got to the headquarters, however, we discovered that everyone who is anyone algebraically was being tutored, and the waiting room was a prime social hour. Plus, Finn’s tutor was much better than I was at explaining the commutative property.
So he’s entitled to a phone, and this afternoon we’re heading to Verizon to get it.
While we’ve been adamantly opposed to any technology for the kids that would take their focus away from reading and playing snipers in the front yard, I’ll admit that it will make things much easier on me once Finn is able to reach me when a practice is over, or when he has caught a ride home.
Tomorrow, for example, is not only Halloween, but also Homecoming, and Finn plans to walk from school to the village with a friend to watch the parade, then join other friends for Halloween activities, and then head to the football game. I’ll need him to check in with me and let me know where he is and who he’s with. He’s experiencing a new level of freedom, and so am I.
I’m taking the opportunity to upgrade my phone as well. I have the free phone that comes with a Verizon account. I need a phone with a QWERTY keyboard. I mainly use my phone to talk, but now I’ll be doing a small bit of texting and I’d love to be able to check all my emails and moderate blog comments from the phone as well. It would also thrill me to be able to tweet from my phone.
I’m completely flummoxed when I stand before the array of phones at the Verizon store and I figured I’d turn to y’all instead. Do I need a Blackberry, even though I’ve made fun of Bill’s addiction to his for years? Would something else like the Dare or Voyager or ENV2 be better? I’m committed to Verizon so don’t go suggesting that I get an iPhone, lovely as that sounds.
Prying information out of boys is like interrogating a particularly recalcitrant prisoner. Often I get the best anecdotes purely by accident. Bill has a passel of first cousins in Columbia, South Carolina, who are now getting married one by one. We refer to them affectionately as “the dancing Glamores” because they showed up en masse at our wedding and proceeded to lead the entire reception in a risque version of the Electric Slide, and everyone is expected to participate in that activity at each subsequent nuptial. The next one is in November, and the boys came home as I was scheduling it on the calendar.
“Are they listed as “the dancing Glamores” in the phone book?” Drew asked.
“No, we just call them that because of their dancing prowess, which is another name for talent,” I answered. “They’re expert Electric Sliders.”
“I know the Electric Slide!” Porter said. “We do that in gym.”
I don’t think I’ve written about the strange activities that pass for gym these days. I’m befuddled by the fact that at other schools the kids are learning the rules of real games like tennis and lacrosse, while our children spend an inordinate amount of time on square pieces of wood with wheels, engaging in a game called “scooter hockey.” Drew says that between the wheels, the flailing legs, the hockey sticks and the balls, it can get dangerous, so he usually scoots to the corner of the gym and spins in circles until he falls on the ground.
But although the boys cannot stand learning the Electric Slide, it clearly has real world application, so I told them to pay attention because they’d be needing those skills soon.
“But it’s such a joke, Mom. The coach is like, kick your leg higher, Glamore,” Finn complained.
“You don’t even go to that school anymore,” Porter said. “When I do the Electric Slide I wiggle my butt and the girls laugh. But only when Coach isn’t watching.”
“Dude, wiggling your butt is a major part of the dance,” I said. “Keep it up.”
Sounds like we have dancing Glamores of our own here in Alabama. They have until November to learn the steps and add their own style to the dance.
People write me asking me to review all sorts of things and generally I refuse, because the requests are generic, or the products have nothing to do with me and my family. We don’t do princesses or baby toys, and organic baby food isn’t big at our house. If you’ve invented a non-odorous soccer cleat, or a food that results in a friendly, cooperative teen, however, I’m your target audience.
I did agree to review Tiny Prints cards because I am a paper product whore. I’ll admit, when I first heard about Tiny Prints I pictured those wee frames with your baby’s footprint in it, and that is not at all what this company is about. (To set the record straight, I don’t have any of those footprints, nor do I have any bronzed baby shoes. I’m unsentimental like that.)
Tiny Prints makes full sized cards for all occasions, including invitations, holiday cards, birth announcements and so forth.
Here in the South people seem overly fond of flowery cards, in my opinion, but I have a definite bias against flowers in any form — fabric, wallpaper, upholstery, and so forth– except for real flowers themselves. I especially liked the Tiny Prints funky holiday party cards, not because I ever throw a holiday party, but because the cards did not have a single poinsettia leaf on them, and that is a good thing. You should check out the web site if you have an event in your future.
While I don’t have bronzed booties of my boys, I do have a hunk of sand with three indentations I made at the height of my craftiness, years ago. It was the end of a long, hot summer, and The Voice of Reason and I brought back sand from our annual beach trip, which was no small feat considering all the toddler gear we had to lug back as well. She’d read about an “easy” project where you mix sand with concrete or plaster of Paris, pour it in a mold, have your child put a hand print in, and then save it for posterity.
It seemed simple enough.
But if you are going to do this, I’d pick a day where it’s about 70 degrees, and limit yourself to one well-behaved 10-year-old. Somewhere I have a picture of us, which either 5 or 6 kids (we’re not sure if her youngest was born yet) and pails of plaster, bowls of sand and kids running amok. There’s another picture, too, where we’ve come to our senses and brought the highchairs outside and put Drew and Porter in them so that we have two fewer boys running around. I won’t speak for the Voice, but my padded bra is slung on the van, because it was well over 100 degrees and we were both sweating like big dogs.
An outsider wouldn’t really be able to tell that the sand has three boys footprints in it, but by God, I’ve saved it, because it reminds me of a sweltering afternoon that was rescued only by juice boxes and a large gin and tonic.
The fact that I can’t find the picture pains me.
Three years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Virtual Book Club #4
(with many book suggestions!)