Never wear anything with elastic near your kids

May 8, 2012

It’s hard to believe you have to dress in any particular fashion just for a routine visit with your adult children. Oh, sure, if it’s a special occasion, I can understand that no one wants their parents looking like they fell off the back of the turnip truck. We get that.

But I mean, come on, we’ve all taken care of those children before they had even invented pull-up diapers.

We’ve extracted them from embarrassing situations like the one time I pulled my young son out from under the skirt of a large woman in a department store; the kids were playing the cow jumps over the moon. The woman ran screaming from the store as if the dish was chasing the spoon. The explanation to the authorities took the better part of the weekend.

As mothers, we’ve seen them off to elementary school with their shirts on inside out, shoes that didn’t match and for some strange reason a pair of opera gloves; my only hope was this was not a fetish in its early stages of development.

I can’t even think about what they were wearing in high school; in fact, I rarely remember what they looked like anyway, since the only hint I had that they actually resided in the house was the sounds of heavy metal, steel gnashing, thousand decibel sounds coming from behind their door.

So we’ve had our moments together. But now your children are older and your visits are carefully monitored. Your appearance is scanned much like a sit down with a Mafia Don, ever vigilant for a mole wearing a wire.

Unfortunately, what they are looking for are signs of demise. Any little stain, like a mustard droplet on your blouse, might mean it is time for the will to be reviewed.

It doesn’t matter that you’d been wiping stains off of their faces and clothes for the last decade.

To their way of thinking, you start with a small stain, let it go and before you know it, your parents might actually spend all their hard-earned money on themselves, which means in the larger picture of things, they might end up leaving their estate, upon their passing, empty! Basically it is time to assist the living with those assets.

But with graduations, weddings, end-of-the-year banquets and recitals, that invitation in the mail should put you on guard. It’s as much a physical and mental check-up, just like if they took your car in to see how much mileage is anticipated before you may need to think about rebates and stuff.

So I would follow a few simple rules. The number one rule is to never wear anything that has elastic. This is a dead give away that you no longer care about life and have mainly given up on looking fit.

I don’t care how tight those pants or jeans are, you can always claim the store sent you the wrong size, but with an expandable material for a waist, there is no denying that the next thing to go is your torso, which will fold down around your thighs like an accordion in the middle of a polka dance-off.

You should also be wary of large floral prints. A few flowers are fine, but you don’t want to look like you just won the Kentucky Derby or have someone following you around with a watering can.

Always consult store personnel on what to wear; there are plenty of people out there with real taste. It only hurts for a little while.

If you want an example of how to present yourself at these events though, try to think of yourself as one of those endangered species on programs like Nova or Frontline. Recently they showed a documentary on the lonely turtle, making its way quietly through the waters from Mexico to Japan, just to lay some eggs.

That should be you. Silent, plain, quiet, cruising unnoticed through these events. Because you were not observed, your children will think you looked fabulous. Just saying.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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