“My wife told me that one of the 4th graders in her class asked, ‘How many times are you going to wear that outfit?’ Then she gave her a smug, twisted lipped look.
I’ll be honest, this story gave me pause for a few reasons.
First: I’m a 36-year-old working father who wears jeans and a polo every day, and before I became a professional, I wore a t-shirt and jeans every day, and never, not once, has anyone, 4th grader or adult, ever asked how many times I planned to wear ‘that outfit.’
Second: I was obviously more bothered by this than she was, and when I asked her why, she said ‘Women just say stuff like that’ as if it was as normal as someone asking for the time. All of this made me feel like my wife, an educator with an educator for a husband, was expected to have vast wardrobe money, even though we had white collar educations, with white collar student loan debt, but were living on blue collar wages. And all of it made me wonder why any of this is acceptable, and for the first time I got this small understanding of the social struggles women experience, and it made me want to rage.
Third: I couldn’t understand how a 10-year-old girl would already understand this sort of thing and feel justified in telling a teacher that she needed to ‘get a new outfit.’ Did she pick this up at home, or from a sibling, or from friends, or TV, or all four? We live in a rural low-income Oregon town. I wonder how she treated the people around her when they didn’t have a variety of ‘outfits’ that met her standards, and how many little girls in that class felt ashamed to wear what their families could afford.
Fourth: My wife could wear the same outfit every day for the rest of her life, and she’d still be a beautiful, caring, compassionate, well educated, mother of three who spends hours fussing over her students, and donating time to the education of our community. How many times she wears an outfit has no bearing on who she really is, or what’s she’s all about.
And to be honest, I don’t know how many times my wife wore that outfit, and I don’t care, because that isn’t the point. And if you are reading this, and you think otherwise, you are part of the problem, and it’s time for you to spend more time giving back, and less time judging how people dress. Because garbage like this obviously begins young, younger than I ever imagined, but it can end now, with adults focusing on what really matters.”
This story was written by Clint Edwards from No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog and author of I’m Sorry…Love, Your Husband. His new book can be found here. Follow Clint on Instagram here. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.
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