My daughter's public school is requiring uniforms this year for the very first time so I've spent the past two weeks dutifully buying a mind-numbingly dull assortment of navy shorts, khaki pants and white Polo shirts, forking over the money with a heavy heart.
While other moms, the normal ones, I suppose, gush that this is going to make everything so much easier in the morning, I am just puzzled.
Is that the goal? To make everything easier? Why don't we just make them sleep in their clothes the night before? That would be real easy.
When the vote came last spring, I sloppily voiced my opposition to uniforms based on a lightweight but passionate argument that "Well, duh, they're ugly."
It was a strangely Valley Girl-sounding argument, I'll admit, but it was the best I could come up with on short notice. I was hoping for more of an "Ask not what you can do for your school" effect, but alas, the words didn't come. And it turned out just sounding, well, whiny. I wanted to talk about the snuffing out of creativity and individuality, and how this soul-sucking sameness will just destroy their little spirits, but I couldn't get it right and concluded with, "and like I said, they're ugly."
The ballots were counted quickly, and despite, or perhaps because of, my dough-headed protest that was only slightly more articulate than that of, say, Scooby Doo, the parents voted in favor of school uniforms 2-to-1. For a time, I became a pariah at my daughter's school, the poo in the punchbowl, the Mel Gibson at the bar mitzvah.
After the vote was announced, I felt a lot like I did back in 1972, when my naive teen self was actually shocked that George McGovern lost. This should give you some idea of why I have never been successful at anything political. Unless you count my win as senior class president, but I really think that's just because I promised to give everybody a KitKat bar.
Maybe I should've used the same strategy on the pro-uniform parents.
"You'll love them, eventually," a wise mom told me last week, as we pored over the sea of 100 percent polyester vestments that my pod daughter would wear. "You could drop nuclear waste on this stuff and it would just bounce right off!
The other argument seems to be that uniforms make kids behave better and get better grades.
This, it turns out, has never been proved.
It's like an urban legend, so if you believe it, you probably also believe that a tooth will dissolve overnight in a glass of Coca-Cola.
I'm just saying.