In the Spring of sixth grade, my school decided to have a “Fifties Day” where all the students would come to school in costume. Most girls at school were thrilled to death about the thought of wearing poodle skirts. I was – quite vocally – not so pumped. I was going through a phase where I thought I was a tomboy. I wasn’t, I just hated skirts.
Our Student Teacher suggested I dress like a guy from the fifties. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of the time period and his lack of understanding of age-appropriate costumes, he suggested I wear jeans and a white t-shirt and roll a package of cigarettes up in the sleeve because, apparently, that’s how cool guys in the fifties kept track of their cigs? I think he was thinking of this Camel ad:
I was like, “Dude, I’m eleven, this is possibly the worst idea ever but let’s do it! Minus the cigs.” (Sidenote: iStockPhoto sells an image of a small child dressed like this so perhaps our Student Teacher was ahead of his time.)
So, white shirt, jeans. Got it.
But, problem. It’s Spring in the Texan desert and it’s HOT. Jeans are not the best choice of clothing. I roll them up over my knees to cool off.
Bigger problem. The jeans are tapered. I now have an ankle’s allowance of denim wrapped around my thigh. My thighs are larger than my ankles and, slowly, my legs turn blueish and lose feeling. I roll the left leg down, but the right won’t budge. I can’t get the fabric back down over my knee.
Student Teacherman sends me to the bathroom with two girlfriends to try to get my pants off by whatever means necessary. I have the two of them tug, but the pants aren’t budging. A female teacher is sent in to help. She has me unzip the jeans so she can pull them mostly off and work on the stuck part from the other direction.
So now I’m standing in the bathroom in my underwear with a growing crowd of onlookers. It’s growing increasingly difficult to stand on my swollen leg, so the teacher suggests I sit. On the bathroom floor. I’m disgusted but in no position to argue.
Lady Teacher gives up. She can’t get my pants off. The Principal is called in because, really, when you become an elementary school Principal you’ve set yourself up to face predicaments such as these.
The Principal wisely advises that I put my pants back on and limp with her to her office. She needs to call my parents to get permission to cut off my pants. My dad answers the phone and immediately consents. The denim chokehold on my thigh is snipped apart and Dad is on his way to my school with another pair of pants for me to wear for the rest of the day.
Dad, with no real understanding of the general aesthetic for which I was aiming that day, brings a pair of bright purple shorts. My fifties punk-boy image is shattered.