Nearly ready to go to Jane’s house that Saturday afternoon, Tess came downstairs, where her brother Rick looked at her a little strangely.
“You gonna wear that to Jane‘s house?”
“No she’s not,” her mother said, pointing to the holes in the knees of her blue jeans, “not in those pants.“
“No ‘buts’ about it, Tess, you can look like a ragamuffin to play football or basketball outside, but I will not have you going to your friend’s house looking like a bum.”
“People judge you partly by how you look, how you dress. Daddy wears a uniform at work to show he’s an EMT with the Fire Department. I dress up to teach at school. When you go to someone’s home, it shows respect to them not to look sloppy.”
“Don’t you brush your hair before you go out?”
Tess thought for only a few seconds. “I don’t want to look messy.”
“Right. The same thing applies to how you dress. It should fit the occasion. People treat attractive people better, and dressing appropriately is part of the picture. When you get married, you’ll probably be telling your husband how to dress, and you’ll probably like to dress well so that he thinks you look good, too.”
The tempest in a teapot blew over. Tess put on a better pair of jeans. She went to her girlfriend’s house and returned home shortly before dinner. That evening, Tess and Rick and Tim were to be eating alone, because their parents were going to a Fire Department banquet.
Mrs. Williams looked very pretty in her dress for the evening, Tess had to admit.
Mr. Williams came downstairs in slacks and a blazer, over a striped tie and a plaid shirt.
Mother and daughter looked at each other, aghast at the clash between the stripes and plaid, and they said, as one,
“You gonna wear that?”
One of a series of fifty short stories by Douglas Winslow Cooper and
Brian Maher, written primarily for students in the fifth through eighth grades.