Dear random grown man who decided to take time out of his day to tell me I should be “ashamed” for putting my daughter in yoga pants,
Before I begin, I just have to say it: wow! You must really be passionate about the moral backbone of this city! To take precious time out of your day to share that passion really speaks to your dedication. Your several presumably much younger and already more successful roommates must be in such awe of your moral stamina. Still, it must have been a tiring day in your battle for the future of Rochester’s heart, because you walked away before you could do much more than tell me how ashamed I should be and bark a couple of lazy way-to-go-Mommy’s at me and the six-year-old I was with. If you had stuck around, you might have learned the whole story.
Secondly, they were not yoga pants. They were leggings. The difference is small, but present. Also the word “pants” assumes that they reach her ankles, as pants are wont to do. I don’t know if you are familiar with “shorts,” but shorts are a form of leg-wear in which the bottom hem of each leg stops short of the ankle, ranging anywhere from mid-calf to upper thigh. The child for whom you were so concerned (remember that she was a child--that will be important later) was wearing black shorts that just reached her knees. It was a really hot day today, I’m sorry no one has introduced you to shorts before. You might have been more comfortable, and more willing to stick around and discuss your passion with me.
Thirdly, no one “put her in” those apparently offensive shorts. She takes pride in dressing herself. Of course, should the need arise, we will steer her in the right direction—tank tops are not for winter, fur-lined boots, though cute, are not suitable for the beach, the like—but on the day-to-day she selects her own clothes. She decides what she feels most comfortable wearing that day. Today, she was comfortable in her tee-shirt with the DJ cats and black shorts. Be glad you don’t see her at home; there, she is most comfortable naked.
See, I think that is wear your moral opinions differ from mine. I think everyone should wear what makes them comfortable in their own bodies. If you are comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, then you should wear that. If you are comfortable in a skirt and high heels, then put that on and go forth. If you are an active six-year-old girl who doesn’t want loose fitting clothes getting in the way of your running and jumping and climbing and cartwheeling and falling and skipping and conquering of worlds, then forego the skirt, sweetheart, you’ve got shit to do. Today, I felt comfortable in a white sleeveless white bodysuit and a skirt. I’m honestly more surprised you weren’t scolding me for my clothes; I’m pretty sure in the right light that that bodysuit becomes see-through.
I do so dearly wish that you had stuck around to explain yourself. If an outfit isn’t for practicality or physical and emotional comfort, then what is it for? I was unaware of the dress code that applies to young girls in public. What should she have worn instead? What colors? What style? I’m so embarrassed that I brought her out of the house without her...tunic? Corset? Please advise.
There is a fourth matter that I wish to address, and it involves the parenting that you felt so strongly about that you had to interrupt me on the job to bless me with your wisdom. Remember, the six-year-old is not mine. I was working. As were her parents. They are strong, hardworking, compassionate people; despite both of them working full-time, her parents have taught her many valuable lessons. Her parents taught her that if someone else is dressed differently than her that it has no bearing on her life. They taught her that, just because she might disagree with someone’s tastes or hobbies, that she should let them live their lives. She knows, because her parents and I always make sure to remind her, that she is to always respect the people around her. If she wants to give criticism, then it better be to the betterment of someone’s life, otherwise she can keep it to herself. Her parents didn’t raise her to approach a woman to tell her in front of her presumed child that she is failing as a parent. Her parents didn’t teach her that it is okay to bother a person for no better reason than to tell her she is ruining her daughters life, that she should be ashamed of herself, that she is a bad mother. Those would be some piece of shit parents. Can you imagine how ashamed they would be to have raised a child who became an adult like that? Now that would be some terrible shame.
Speaking of children, it is worth mentioning that the body you were staring at long enough to form an opinion so powerful that your mouth was not strong enough to keep it inside was a child. She was six-years-old. The “yoga pants” were covering her butt and her thighs, so you were staring at them before you passed me on the sidewalk and delivered upon me your honorable musings. You can understand why I bristled at that, and why I called you a creep and a pervert. I didn’t mean to mistake you for one, but usually it is only creeps and perverts who form passionate opinions about how children display their bodies. Usually it’s only creeps that think that women’s bodies should adhere to their personal viewing standards and pleasure, and only perverts who apply that same logic to children. As I have been both a child and a (frequently harassed) woman, you can certainly understand my confusion. Hence, why I told you to stop staring at a little girl’s butt, you creep. And remember, you never took out your headphones, so I had to shout it.
Of course, and despite what my language here might make you think, I am a good nanny. I want this child I care about so dearly to live as long and happy a childhood as she can. When I was catcalled on Monroe Ave with her, I did not do what I would normally do, which is to flip him the bird and call him a piece of shit. She didn’t hear it, so I did not draw her attention to the sick behaviors that will one day plague her adulthood. Quick aside, because I know you’re probably just itching to know: on that occasion, I was wearing jeans and a sweater, and she had on a purple dress to her shins. I hope this is satisfactory.
Anyway, I did nothing that time because she didn’t notice it happening, and I didn’t want to bring her attention to the fact that certain men in the world feel no qualms about shouting about how they want to take a girl home in the middle of the goddamn day, while she’s walking with a child. However, that very same child heard you say “Wow, you really let your daughter wear yoga pants? You should be ashamed of yourself.” She heard you admit to staring at her body. She heard you try to shame her parents. She witnessed the entitlement it took to insert yourself into our lives. And as you were walking away, I was not going to let her see someone just take those words and lie down with them.
So I responded—of course you did not hear, because of the headphones. So I responded louder—and my friend who was with us did as well. Then you repeated yourself, only louder, and told me sarcastically, “Good work, Mommy. Wow. Really good job.” Honestly, you can do better. Do you think Jesus’s words were so successfully spread because he used sarcasm against those he was trying to convert? Come now, you’re a Moral Warrior. The word is your sword. Don’t wield it so half-assedly
All this time, you never stopped walking. Why is that? Talking to strangers takes bravery. To tell a stranger that the entire philosophy on which they live their lives, that the whole outlook on which they use to guide the upbringing of another human is wrong, that takes courage. So I remain particularly stumped as to why you turned down Vassar without stopping even once to defend your ideals. You just kept walking. It was almost as though you didn’t want to hear any response, because you had nothing of value or interest to say. It was almost as though you were scared of the confrontation you so comfortably started. But that can’t be it. If it were, then that would mean it wasn’t courage that inspired you to speak your mind, but stupidity, which would suggest that the ideas being said were also stupid.
So onward you walked, presumably to go boast to your roommates of your conquest over the ignorant young mother who dressed her kid so provocatively, then to rest after another long day of riding your highest of horses through the Sodom that our city has fallen to. Feel free to correct me should you need to, but it was my assumption that you felt so comfortable approaching me because I have the appearance of a teenager, one "irresponsible" enough to have a kid that age. You must have been tired after a long day of violently vying for virtue, because it would take a truly pathetic coward to prey on someone he thought was so vulnerable.
It's all moot anyway. Unfortunately for you, though I may have the face and fashion of a high schooler, I have the bitter disillusionment and worldly resentment appropriate for one who has lived 29 years as a woman in this country. Thus, as you most egregiously witnessed, I am a stubborn mule to convert. My words towards you would normally have been much more foul, but I am a good nanny. When she looked up at me, to gauge my reaction to this, I wanted her to see a woman of conviction and passion standing up for herself, unafraid to be intense, to be heard, to be assertive, to be combative when the rights to her expression are being threatened. I wanted her to see a woman getting loud for herself. I wanted her to see that she was loved enough to stand up for. But as a good nanny, I watched my language. I did not tell you to die lonely in a fire, and to walk balls first into traffic, and to never speak to another woman again because literally every woman on earth can do better and you don’t deserve even the most vile among us. I didn’t call you a pube-faced shitbag.
My friend who was with us, however, is not a nanny. She had nothing stopping her from shouting “WHY DON’T YOU SUCK MY FUCKING DICK” loud enough to be heard by the entire city. The sarcastic applause you gave her performance suggests that you think the child heard all that. I know her wellbeing concerns you ever so, but put those worries to rest. My friend told me to cover her ears, and I did. She heard no dick-sucking suggestions.
But she did see two women standing up for her right to dress as she pleases. She saw two women defending the choice of her mother, who showers her with endless love which is so eagerly returned. She saw two women unafraid to get aggressive, unwilling to bend, refusing to apologize. So thank you, stranger. You helped her see that.
Just another Rochester nanny
PS Fuck you, you pube-faced shitbag.