Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nurturing Dorkiness

I have been thinking lately about kids and clothes, and popularity...

I was one of those somewhat dorky kids in high school. Not pretty, not the right clothes, tried out for plays and ended up building sets. Chose being last place on the swim team over running for student council. Hung with other dorks, played Dungeons and Dragons with my brother's friends...

Yeah... you getting it now?

But I think I turned out okay. And so did my other geeky friends.

When I got to college I flourished and noticed a lot kids who were "popular" in high school kind of found themselves adrift in college without their cliques to define them. Not all of them, but a lot of them. These were often the kids who ended up on drinking binges all through college, who often lived their adult lives glorifying the good old days in high school.

I used to curse the fact that I dressed so dorky. If only I had gotten the right perm (!!!), had enough money to get the right clothes (or could FIND clothes like the cool girls wore!) that all would have been right with the world in high school.

But I turned out okay.

Now that I have kids of my own, I feel like I have this need to dress them all cool, and because boys' clothes are BORING, I tend to steer toward funky clothes, shirts with little skullies on them. I get drawn to dressing my five year old like a skate punk.

But then I started looking around at the skate punks in my neighborhood. They gather in the park to smoke cigarettes, clearly skipping school just to sit around looking bored. And we have actually SEEN them do drug deals in the McDonald's parking lot, and I wonder if dressing my kid all "cool" will LEAD him to hang with a group of kids that will steer him down a path I don't want him to take. You know... maybe if his fashion allows him to fit in really well with a bunch of kids who swing to far to the left or to the right, he might end up in trouble of one kind or another.

So, let's see... I don't want him to be TOO preppy or TOO punky, too popular or unpopular... maybe more... middle of the road!?

More... Target? More JC Penneys?

I mentioned it to my husband and while I was contemplating that maybe my parents dressed me just dorky enough... had allowed me enough shopping money each fall to just barely fit in, but not TOO far in (or too far out), Michael began to see where I was going with this.

He suggested maybe it would be a good thing to develop Noah's current interest in Star Wars.

Maybe move them all slowly into Star TREK when they get a little older. Dust off the 20-sided dice and the Monster Manual and see whether they are more drawn to Paladins or Magic Users. Buy them the full set of Lord of the Rings books.

Show them the wonder of the pocket protector!!

Yeah... I'm okay with my kids being dorks. All the coolest people used to be dorks.


MariBy said...

Oh yeah, you got it want them dressed just dorky enough to be in the middle of the pack. Nice and safe. :D

Snowbird said...

Did I ever tell you that I love dorks?

Cindy said...

Dorks rule! I know because I married one. ;)

JeSais said...

the coolest and the richest...I'm guessing Bill Gates was a total dork.

Michèla said...

Yes,we sure did!

Karin Zirk said...

Dorks of the world unite. Plus don't forget, that no matter how cool you may have been once upon a time, when you hit 30 you're done. There's no way to be cool after 30. If you try, you're pathetic, if you don't, you're middle aged.

gail said...

I've always felt sorry for people who peak by high school. Imagine how superficial and one-dimensional your life would be if that had been the high point. (shudder) Teaching your kids to be imaginative, comfortable in their own bodies, happy in their own company, are wonderful gifts. I think expensive, too-cool clothes get in the way of those things. Who can build castles in the clouds if they are bogged down in keeping up to date on coolness? Obviously not me. (and hush, you are, too, pretty)

Lisel said...

This post really got me thinking about my own boys and their developing dorkingess. Thanks for putting into words what I was thinking too!

Here's my reply I hope you don't mind I linked here!

HT said...

Hi there- I found you through Lisel's link. I concur! I am the mama of 2 boys and hope for slightly geeky/dorky empathetic boys. They have a sporty dad who has a nice dorky love of Broadway & Frank Sinatra, so I'm hoping the sports and showtunes will do the trick. I never had much time for the "cool" kids.