Meelyn and Aisling may never be the same.
Last Saturday, we were at the 5:00 Mass, sitting in the rear section of the small nave where Aisling plays the piano. Also in our section were Karen, the cantor, and a mom with her two young daughters.
I couldn't help but notice -- I COULDN'T HELP BUT NOTICE -- that there was a teenage boy sitting with his parents in the last row of seats in the main part of the church, whose pants were sagging at half-mast (perhaps mourning the loss of suspenders?) so that we were in plain, full view of his blue underpants. But it was one of those times when I was at least grateful for the underpants, because those jeans were so low, we'd have been able to see half his rear end if he'd gone commando.
As I stood there, I found that it's nearly impossible NOT to look at someone's butt when it is hanging out of their pants, especially in a place like a church. Maybe at the mall, it wouldn't attract so much attention. Or there was this boy mowing a lawn last summer with his jeans belted around his thighs so that his entire butt could be seen; I drove by with the girls and started laughing hysterically at the ridiculous sight and when they asked what's so funny, I simply turned the van around and drove by again; this time as the boy's pants went around his ankles as he was pushing the mower and we got a clear view of his tartan boxers. The girls both screamed and I groped around in my handbag for a tissue to mop the tears from my shining face.
The boy pulled his pants up to his waist, and, after glancing furtively at the van, which was positively rocking with snorting laughter, had the grace to look chagrined.
Actually, Angie and her uncle Steve (the age-teaser; see the Thanksgiving post) both asked me, why did you look? My answer was, you can't NOT look. Seriously.
So we all stood there, looking, and the more I looked, the more offended I was. I mean, the kid mowing the lawn was a brief glimpse and I viewed it as a teaching moment, i.e. "Girls, SHUN BOYS WHO DRESS LIKE THAT." But to have to stand behind him during an entire Mass with my teenage daughters on either side of me, gawping, was not something I was prepared to do.
So when the offering was being taken, I slipped out of my chair and went up and tapped his dad on the shoulder and leaned down to whisper, "I am so sorry to be a bother, but when your son stands up, my two teenage girls and I, plus all the other girls and ladies in the rear section of the church, can see your son's underpants and half of his rear end."
The dad gave an embarrassed chuckle and said, "Ohhhh...." but before he could say more, I went back to my seat.
The next time we stood up, the boy pulled his pants UP and his shirt DOWN and we saw no more underwear.
Meelyn was wild with embarrassment and hissed like a little goose, "He is in my CONFIRMATION CLASS. How am I going to face him tomorrow? I am SO embarrassed. How could you DO that?"
I don't often get upset with Meelyn because she is a very level-headed girl, but this was too much. "Meelyn," I said firmly, in a voice which Aisling usually hears, "that's the problem with things today. The WRONG PEOPLE are always the ones to be embarrassed. How about we let the RIGHT people be embarrassed for their bad behavior, like that boy, showing such disrespect in church, and his parents, for letting him dress like an idiot. What, is it too hard for him to belt his jeans around his waist for ONE HOUR A WEEK? Does he have such an urge to catch a draft that other people should have to see his UNDERWEAR?"
Oh, I could have gone on forever. It made me want to gather all the dopes I've seen in church over the past forty years of my life, all the way from the Episcopal priest in my childhood years whose wife wore miniskirts so brief, it looked as if she'd sewed four washcloths together, to the lady at our current church that we call "Boobula" because of her propensity for Wonderbras combined with low cut shirts, and just SMACK EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.
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