Sunday, December 03, 2006

Old habits

The other day I was waiting with some other parents outside the school for the kids to be released. Everyone was making idle chit-chat as usual. I was chatting with a mom I don't know very well, but who lived on our street til she moved last month and who has invited me to a cookie-swap party at her house. She told me that she liked my new-ish haircut and that the new-ish color looked nice, too. "Oh, thanks." I told her. "I used to dye it really bright red when I was younger, but I'm getting old for that now," I laughed.

She responded very seriously, "I'll bet you were one of those goth girls when you were in high school, weren't you?"

"Uh, we didn't have this thing you call 'goth' where I grew up," I joked back at her.

She was not to be put off. "Well, 'alternative' then. You were 'alternative,' weren't you?"

"Okay, alternative-ish," I said. "I mean, as alternative as you can be in Tater-hill, North Carolina," hoping she'd let it drop. She seemed satisfied with my answer and turned away.

I thought about it off and on for a couple of days, trying to figure out why it is I found it so funny and weird. I still don't quite know except that aren't we all supposed to have grown out of these labels now? Or if age isn't the great leveller, isn't parenthood? Where you so often have to swap out whatever clique-ish costume you might once have been accustomed to for something you don't mind getting spit up on or that you can roll around on the floor in? Isn't being a mom our new clique, where we may not have New Wave music or musty vintage clothes or drug use in common, but we damn sure all have kids and the kidless don't get it at all?

I dunno. Mabye we don't ever grow out of this stuff. I mean, I do still look for those moms who look interesting or "cool" on the playground to talk to. Hmmm...

9 comments:

Belle said...

Well...we should definitely outgrow the labels, but unfortunately, the need to be cliquish still exists....even among moms, and other adults who should know better. At least it's like that where I am.

Beth said...

I agree...sorta. While I hate labels, I have to admit, I DO look for someone who has a great pair of shoes on...gets celebrity gossip(which I can't tell until I talk to 'em)and yes, has kids. How can you vent to someone about your kids if they don't have any, especially if they want some...they would LOVE to have a kid driving them nuts, know what I mean?

Am I making any sense at all? It's 7:28am...too early for me..I'm going back to bed..be sure not to call before noon.

Amber said...

Unfortunately categorizing, labeling, cliquishness etc never seems to go away. I don't know why- and I try not to do that- but I still find myself doing it sometimes. Can we blame human nature??

Even in bloggy-world it happens. The majority of the blogs I read are 'people like me' in some way- just because that's what interests me and what I can relate to.

Brony said...

I think it is hard to grow out of that. We grow up with it.

joan said...

You'dthink all that stuff would be behind us. However I still get in situations where I feel I'm back in high school with labels and popularity contests. It does seem to be less and less of it as my kids get older.

Mama D said...

Yeah, when people find out what high school I went to they are usually all "Oh, you went there?" Which means they think that I was weird. I happen to be proud of my school.

Yeah, labels don't seem to go away.

"Grandi" said...

I just think that was a weird thing to say to you - - lable-y or not! Having your hair bright red or any other color just sort of sounds fun and maybe a little quirky, but I don't think it would make me say something like that!! Maybe she has led a very sheltered life and hair color was not part of it! HA!!

Suburban Gorgon said...

Nope - we don't outgrow them at all. That I can tell you from my own experience. There are times when we look past them in favor of the greater clique of mommydom, but that's all.

beth said...

You know, I wrote a post similar to this a very long time ago, about how we all have motherhood in common and need to let go of the cliques...and yet, I was at a holiday party with a bunch of moms the other day and felt like I was back in middle school. There were a few of us, me included, who had some giggles at the expense of another mom who is sort of weird, unfashionable, and has some odd social habits. I hated that I didn't do anything to stop it, but while there I think it was the old middle school mentality - if I'm in the circle then at least I know the discussion's not about me...at least for the present. I don't like it, but I do size moms up from their appearance and make a call on whether or not we could be friends based on what I see, sometimes before I've spoken to them. I'm not sure that part is totally wrong though. Just being a mom isn't quite enough of a common thread for me to consider a real friendship I guess. I want to find people I would have been friends with even before kids.