Jewish World Review April 4, 2003 / 1 Nisan, 5763

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Flip flops hashed at the lunch table | I have every reason to believe that I am being quoted at the high school lunch table today. As a woman who has mothered three teens I can assure you this is not a good thing.

This morning the youngest appeared ready for school wearing flip flops. I said that flip flops were inappropriate for school. Flip flops are for the pool, the beach and picnics.

She informed me that the school dress code allowed flip flops and asked if I was prepared to go against the school?

"Remember who you're talking to, young lady. The original Tyrannosaurus Rex." I reiterated that flip flops are too casual for school. "Your job at school is to work," I said. "Flip flops look like you're going to slouch and lounge. You wouldn't wear your big, fuzzy, yellow duck slippers to school, would you? Well, flip flops are like house slippers."

Then I made a fatal mistake. I kept talking. "House slippers are something you wear around the house, they're private. Same for flip flops, they're a private shoe."

Peals of laughter.

Then, because the child goes to a Christian school that hammers the message of reserving private things for the private relationship of marriage, she says - between squeals of laughter -- "Oh? Private? Like flip flops are private shoes to share only with your husband?"

More laughter. If the kid didn't stop laughing she'd be too weak to go to school.

"You're going to tell the lunch table, aren't you? You're going to twist my words and tell the lunch table that your wacko mother said flip flops are private shoes that should be saved for marriage."

"Depends," she says. "Are we getting a pool?"


"You said flip flops were for the pool."

"We are not getting a pool."

"Am I going to the beach?"


"You said flip flops were for the pool and the beach and if we're not getting a pool and I'm not going to the beach, why do I have flip flops?"

"Because the two of us having arguments like this may one day prepare you to pass the entrance exam for law school."

"Can you wear flip flops in law school?"

"We won't know until you finish high school. My point is you should dress appropriately, which is why the dress code doesn't allow sleeveless tops, spaghetti straps and shorts. They aren't work attire, they're hang loose attire. The school let the flip flops ride because they were too tired to argue."

"Are you feeling tired?"

"Not at all. I'll probably clean the garage, sod the yard and shellac the driveway when I break for lunch.

"You can put on boots or sandals or tennis shoes or clogs or 4-inch heels. I don't care. But you're not wearing flip flops because, in my humble opinion, flip flops are not a work shoe. And you are going to school to work, so you can get into college, attend law school and then sue your mother."

She'll probably quote me on that, too. Life changes after a parent has been quoted at the lunch table. You see kids at ball games and they scatter like you're radioactive nuclear waste. You walk by a group, the laughter dies and they whisper in hushed tones. You find notes under your windshield wiper that say, "Please, for everybody's sake, take the shock treatments." Such is the price of parenting.

"See ya later," the girl no longer wearing flip flops said with a kiss good-bye.

"Have a good day," I said, "and tell the lunch table I said hello."

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman