Jewish World Review Oct. 19, 2001 / 2 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Jeff Jacoby
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Out of the closet ... and into the school -- I'm installing a lock on the door of our bedroom closet. The girls have been using our clothes for school spirit days again.

It was homecoming at the high school last week, which meant the kids had an excuse to dress weird every day. The night before Seventies Day, I overheard one of them say, "There's not a decent Sonny and Cher outfit in here."

"May I help you?" I asked.

"Something in paisley would be nice," the youngest answered.

"Doesn't Dad have a leisure suit?"

"Sorry, fresh out," I said.

Twenty minutes later, the youngest emerged in bell-bottom jeans and a loose-fitting faded cotton top. She looked anemic and bedraggled -- like a page straight out of my high school yearbook. I studied her and suddenly knew why my mother suffered from a throbbing headache four years running.

The oldest daughter appeared wearing a fringed leather jacket.

"There are a lot of memories in that jacket," I cautioned. "Concerts, parties, social unrest." The social unrest happened when I was 17 and stormed out of the house in a huff. The front door slammed shut on flying fringe and hurled me into evergreens by the front step. I looked up and saw Mom peering out the kitchen window. She was smiling.

Wednesday was Celebrity Day. The girls were again rejecting my clothing, when in a fit of exasperation I yelled, "I insist you girls come out of the closet!" That's a phrase a mother uses with trepidation, but frankly I was getting defensive on behalf of my wardrobe.

They broadened their search to every closet within a three-block range. The next morning, Olivia Newton-John from Grease sauntered into the kitchen in thug mode. She was dressed in black pleather pants, a black tank top and a leather jacket. She had big curly hair, eyeliner the width of a tire track and 2 pounds of charcoal gray eye shadow on each eye.

I looked Olivia up and down and said, "I can't believe I am saying this to my own flesh and blood, but sweetie, that costume makes you look like a hussy."

"No it doesn't," exclaimed her sister. "She looks GOOD!" This coming from a kid dressed like Tina Turner. Tina slings a 40-pound bookbag over her shoulder while balancing in 4-inch gold stiletto heels and wearing a wig so huge it brushes both sides of the door jam. The most frequently asked question she will hear during the school day is, "How's Ike?"

On Thursday when I saw them head for my closet, I beat them to it and threw myself in front of the door. "We're dressing like farmers and country bumpkins tomorrow," the youngest said. " We told everyone you and Dad would have lots of stuff like that. Could we borrow plaid flannel shirts? A hat with fur lining or a quilted sleeveless jacket vest?"

"We don't have any," I calmly said. "I am afraid you have your extremely stylish parents confused with the cast of Hee Haw."

Stunned and shocked, they shook their heads and slowly walked away. I entered the closet, blew the dust off a John Deere cap and refolded a faded pair of bib overalls. Some things just aren't for play.

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

10/12/01: A Parent's Guide to Dating
10/05/01: "Taking Care of You"
09/28/01: Time indivisible
09/24/01: Refueling capitalism
09/14/01: A time to mourn
09/07/01: Lack of modesty stirs the troops
08/31/01: Scholarship search an education
08/24/01: The test for parents
08/17/01: Immodest proposals
08/10/01: Trying to R-r-r-re-re-relax
08/03/01: It may be shabby and chic, but it ain't cheap
07/20/01: Bride showered with sage advice
07/13/01: Baby Bear Finds Driving "Just Right"
07/06/01: Pale at the Thought of Bronze
06/29/01: A Dog's Best Friend
06/22/01: Rethinking fatherhood
06/14/01 Don't forget to lock the door
06/07/01 How grandma punishes her kids
06/01/01 Hearing voices
05/25/01 Cyborgs for Better or Worse
05/18/01 The death of Common Sense

© 2001, Lori Borgman