I came up in the time of jailbait. Of Bobbi Brown in the “Cherry Pie” video. Of Winger’s “Seventeen”. Of Kelly Bundy. I worshipped them in all their studded leather bra top, ass-shorts, thigh-high boot-wearin’ glory. I thought they looked like a million spacebucks. They were rock ‘n roll.
I spent the entirety of my teenage years being as close to naked as possible without actually being arrest-able. If the top weren’t either essentially a bra or an off-the-shoulder half-shirt, and the shorts weren’t skintight and racked up my buttcrack like a doorstop, I bet most people wouldn’t have even recognized me. Even my black leather motorcycle jacket was cropped. I couldn’t even commit to a regular length jacket in cold weather, that’s how dedicated I was to my craft.
Every day was like an audition for a Warrant video, and it was awesome. I wish my classmates would have rightly recognized this awesomeness and called me something totally cool like “DangerGirl” or “SwagBag”, instead of what girls actually called me, which was “I’m Gonna Kick That Slut’s Ass” or what guys called me “You Definitely Don’t Have A Dad At Home.”
And I tell ya, except for all the guys who continuously groped me and tried to drag me off into woods and alleyways against my will, it was a fine time to be alive. My sexuality felt like the most powerful thing in the room, and I reveled in it. I had never felt anything even remotely close to power in my entire life, so I was having as much fun with it as possible. Up to that point I had been a social leper growing up, so I loved turning heads for the first time in my life. Even if it was for superficial reasons, I still loved it. Who wouldn’t?
Hell, one time when Anne and I were 16, we were walking into a gas station on a Friday night, and a guy literally crashed his car into the ice machine outside of the building, and when he climbed out of the wreckage, he yelled to the attendant, “Sorry, man! I was looking at those two girls instead of the road!” Anne and I looked at each other like, “Whoooa.” (I made a mental note of what I was wearing that night and made sure to repeat it as often as possible: Black halter-top catsuit, black knee-high boots, whore-red lipstick. Done.)
(Sidebar, I think a lot of the reason that women are discouraged from wearing things that are “too revealing” is because the power of the female body is too threatening to the existing power structure. Even I’ve gone back and forth on it several times in my life, it’s that much of a mind-fuck. As Sheena Easton so correctly sang, “Nations go to war over women like you”, because women’s bodies are powerful as fuck. If the male body were as powerful as the female body, literally every man would walk this Earth naked and nobody would think any less of them for it.)
As the youngest of three girl children, not only did my mother not try to stop me from leaving the house dressed like an extra from Reform School Girls (because by the third kid they just don’t give a shit anymore), but she encouraged it. Any time I would come out of a Contempo Casuals dressing room dolled up like a Hollywood hooker, she would literally applaud and exclaim, “Ha ha ha ha! You look AWESOME! Strut it, kiddo! You’re only young once!”. She thought it was an absolute hoot. She had a real devil-may-care attitude about it that I really appreciated at the time.
As it turns out, I appreciate it even today, because I have a wardrobe that still consists mostly of jailbait-wear. It’s not a hard habit to break – it’s a habit I refuse to break. Even when I try to dress reasonably and put on a t-shirt that merely “fits” and doesn’t appear to be three sizes too small and sprayed onto my body, the first thing I think is, “Frump Town! Looks like a dewd!” and then change into a half-shirt. I assume that if I’m not wearing something nakedy, that I immediately transform into Burt Lancaster. I think slutty-looking clothes just look good.
A few months ago, as I walked around Forever 21 and realized that I was old enough to be the mother of literally every young woman who was shopping there, I started to worry that I had turned into that pathetic older woman. You know, the one who still shops in the juniors section and wears plastic barrettes and doesn’t hear the whispers behind her back. The one who desperately clings to her youth as it’s inevitably slipping away. The one who thinks those high school boys are still checking her out when what they’re really thinking is, “Is that Tyler R’s grandma, or Taylor B’s weird older stepmom?”. The one who doesn’t realize that people are just being cheeky when they say, “Wow, you’re old enough to drink?!” A brief moment of fear enveloped me…
…riiiight before I realized that I don’t give a fucking shit.
I am old enough and wise enough to accept that jailbait is who I am. It’s the tiny, tight, spandex fabric I’m made of. If anybody has a problem with it, they can feel free to avert their eyes, because you can have my slutty-looking clothes the day you pry them off my dead, slutty-looking body. Hell, not even then! Please, by all means, bury me in spandex. With cut-outs.
Also, it helps that anytime I pass by someone and I hear them say, “Isn’t she a little old for that half-shirt?”, I deliberately mis-hear it as, “Isn’t it a little cold for that half-shirt?” and I think, “How nice of them to be concerned about my comfort!”
tl/dr: Wear what you want, tell the world to fuck off. – Love, SwagBag