WARNING: The following blog post may cause disturbing flashbacks for girls who attended middle school in the 1970s. Proceed with caution.
Middle school is not a happy experience for most kids. On top of dealing with the physical and emotional changes of puberty, middle school is full of challenges. Learning your way around a new school, changing classes, figuring out how to open the lock on your locker, navigating the cliques of popular girls and mean girls, along with demanding teachers, mind-numbingly boring teachers, and the occasional teacher who seems to have risen from the black lagoon for the sole purpose of terrorizing students – it’s not a pretty place.
But most horrifying of all was gym class, but not for the reasons you might assume. While I thoroughly hated every minute of teetering across the balance beam, “running” around the track, and other forced recreational pursuits, it was not the actual physical exercise that gives me nightmares to this day. No, it was, it was…sorry, let me get a grip here.
Ok, I’m just going to say it – it was the gym suit and wearing it was mandatory. Let me describe it for those of you with nerves of steel. It was a one piece maroon colored romper of sorts that zipped up the front. It was sleeveless with elastic leg holes that landed about mid-thigh. Your mom had to stitch your name across the back so that each embarrassed girl could be properly identified by all those around her. Ugly? Yes. Unflattering? OMG, there are no words to describe its hideousness.
While I’ve worked hard to move past the G.S., it will always haunt me. Who designed this atrocity? Who decided it would be a good thing for awkward adolescent girls to wear it while engaging in activities they detest? I hope someday those questions will be answered and those responsible will be held accountable. Until then, I’ll try to put it behind me and be grateful that we’ve progressed enough so that today’s middle school girls can at least wear shorts and a tee shirt. Amen.