Thursday, May 3, 2012

Littles and Why I Love Their Reactions

I'm not usually a particularly flamboyant person. I do wear some odd things, but they're usually toned down enough that I can delude myself into thinking I'm being subtle.

Not today.

The reaction I got from adults was... inimitably Minnesotan. They are never anything but polite, but through gritted teeth they tell me "That's and... interesting... outfit..." and it isn't hard to translate that sentiment. I could see the flickers of "Is she in a play?" and "Is she in a cult?" in their eyes, even if they didn't speak those thoughts aloud. So, just like Gothic Charm School taught me, I answered their questions politely, smiled blithely, and generally behaved myself as I explained that, no, I am not scary or in costume; I am merely wearing clothing that I enjoy.

I'm still not sure that they believed me, but that matters little to me, really.

Gracie of Haus of Girls shows us how it's done.
Small children, however, do not react like that. The one thing I love about littles is that they have no understanding of social norms when it comes to clothing. Have you ever seen a child wearing the classic random-boots-and-a-tutu combo? Or a princess dress just because? Or a superhero cape made of a bedsheet? You probably have. And did they feel any shame about wearing whatever the heck they felt like wearing? Of course not. To a child, what is pretty is pretty and nobody is able to tell them otherwise. Children haven't been socialized in terms of societal expectations of physical appearance (here read: ruined) just yet, and that is fantastic.

And that is what I love about their reactions to my crazy clothing. To the little girls who tugged on their mothers' and grandmothers' jackets, the ruffles, the satin corset, and the lacy Victorian-esque blouse apparently made me look like a real life, if black-clad, Disney princess.

And if one little kid thinks my dress is pretty, it's worth it. If one little kid has been given an argument that adults don't have to wear "grown up clothes" if they don't want to, it's worth it.

The world might turn into a more interesting place.

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