no main paging, please this is strictly my experiences and thoughts, and is by no means any sort of actual experiment.
So, this morning, I had the joy of meeting with both vice principals and the school liaison officer at the high school. My TeenChild did something extremely dumb last week at school which resulted in 3 days of suspension and culminated in this meeting at 9am.
At 9am, I prefer to be snuggling back into bed for an hour or 2, especially on a nasty, cold, snowy morning like this. I am not a morning person. And I seriously dislike dealing with that many authority figures and a cranky teen on 3 hours of sleep.
As many of you know, my family lives in subsidized housing. As soon as someone at one of the schools sees that address (it's well known as the town "ghetto", although it really isn't unsafe or "bad" anymore), their attitude changes. Usually just a little, but they kind of talk down to you, treat you just a little "lesser than". I hate it. I can read the attitude change and hear the tone difference immediately. It makes me feel like saying, "I may live here, but I know just as many big words as any of you, and can probably spell them better!"
So this morning, faced with gross weather, an unpleasant meeting, and the unfortunate hour, I decided I was going to full out dress up. So I wore a black 3/4 sleeve blouse, a dark red wool A-line, knee-length skirt, black tights, and black, calf-high, high heeled dress boots. I did my makeup nicely (dark on the eyes, good strong lipstick, powder), and put my hair up in a tidy bun. I even broke out my long woollen camel coat (Bill Blass. Thrifting FTW!), and wrapped a long black scarf up and over my head like a Hollywood starlet riding in a convertible. I looked GOOD. Like, husband-did-a-double-take GOOD. But more importantly, I looked CLASSY and not "like a poor person".
I was treated like a real human. I was not spoken down to, nobody seemed to be "dumbing down" their language for me, nobody made any remarks about where we live and how we need to "not live down to the image of the area" (seriously, been told that before.) My son was treated more respectfully than I have seen in the past, even. I had met with both of the males before (officer and one VP), and had not met with the female VP before. Both of the ones I had met before had treated me more casually and were more dismissive of what I had to say previously, but were respectful today. I was even able to speak without being interrupted.
So, it went well, over all. I think (hope!) His problems are going to be resolved, and he is back on the right path (please, cross your fingers for me!)
I decided to continue my experiment. Other-husband had to run up to the store anyway, so he decided to dress to match me. We looked like Mr and Mrs '50's when we left the house (he wore a button down shirt, wool blazer, homburg hat, and nice scarf tucked into the blazer, along with good black jeans, boots, and black leather gloves).
We were basically going on a junk food run, since the kids will all be home for the rest of the week. Seriously, I got donuts, soda, snack cakes... stuff we haven't been getting for a long time, but everyone needs some junk food now and then, hey? I think the only "healthy" stuff I got was bread and a bag of sweet potatoes! I paid with my EBT card (food stamps). The guy behind the register didn't bat an eye or miss a beat. He just quietly said "EBT?" And I said, "yes", and he ran it through and handed it back to me.
I wonder how we would have been treated if we were not all dressed up... oh, wait, I don't have to. I had gone through this cashier's line before, buying mostly healthy food with a few snacks, while wearing torn jeans, a ratty t-shirt, and big, cloddy boots, and he'd sighed heavily and slightly rolled his eyes when I handed him the EBT card. He had also said "EBT?" much more loudly on that occasion (it was only a few weeks ago), as though he were trying to call attention to it.
And people say that it doesn't matter how you dress...