Dress code wouldn't fly at Hogwarts

June 24, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND

Summer reading season is here, and as a person who is supposed to be on the cutting edge of pop culture, I feel obligated to read at least one of the two summer blockbusters, which are the stories of Harry Potter and Hillary Clinton.

Choosing between the Wizard and the Lizard is not going to be easy. I'm not real keen on wild, phantasmal flights of fantasy, witchcraft, sorcery and fairy tales. And to be perfectly honest, I'm not that excited about the Harry Potter book, either.

If someone put a gun to my head, though, I probably would go with Hillary. That's because I have a tendency to like strong women - and I don't understand men who fear them.

If women would run the world, leaving us men free to fish and watch sports on TV, I'd be so comfortable.


Failure to read Harry Potter, however, means that I will be out of touch with all the kids of the world. As if I could be more out of touch. So to "throw the kids a bone" and show them I am "hip" and "cool," I will do something that is much easier than reading a book: I will publicly come out against the Washington County School Board's new student dress code.

The dress code will ban see-through shirts, bare feet, bandannas and "excessively baggy pants that fall off the hips."

You have to love a policy that outlaws feet. And bandannas? What's Rin Tin Tin going to do?

To be fair about it, I think board members ought to be forced to wear the items they take away from the kids.

Memo to Washington County's middle and high school boys: In the rest of the nation, excessively baggy pants that fall off the hips went out of style about two years ago. I know that Washington County as a whole is fashion-challenged, but it's over. No one, save on a few living-in-the-past TV shows, is wearing them but you.

Speaking of fashion - Houston, we have a problem. Or more accurately, School Board member Bernadette Wagner has a problem.

The board is outlawing bandannas, but I do not believe I have ever seen Ms. Wagner when she wasn't wearing a bandanna around her neck. Always a very tasteful bandanna, I hasten to add (I don't want to get a gavel over the old bean), but a bandanna nonetheless.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure I've ever seen a female school board member, state or local, who wasn't wearing a bandanna. Must be some sort of national law. Now I realize this presents the danger of touching off a deep, philosophical debate over the differences between a "bandanna" and a "scarf," but to me it's semantics. So bro, if you want to show up for third period math class wearing a do-rag, just make sure it's made out of silk and it will be real tough for them to get a conviction.

Among other things, the board has nixed "pants that do not cover undergarments at all times." I realize what they're trying to accomplish, but technically, they've just made it illegal to visit the men's room.

And "shirts that show cleavage?" The elected board better hope that Washington County school boys don't grow up to vote - which of course they don't. Again, I understand, but I'm glad this rule didn't come along when I was in school. Remember all those findings that "proved" high school girls were better able to concentrate on their studies than high school boys? To me, the only thing it proved was that the school system hadn't gotten around to banning halter tops.

And it gets worse. On the southern exposure, girls cannot wear "skirts that do not cover the mid-thighs when seated or do not extend to the fingertips when standing."

This is going to have some major, major consequences in school subculture. The main one being that the first girls asked to the prom are going to be the ones with really short arms.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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