This past weekend Kyle and I decided it was a great idea to brave Target on a Saturday afternoon with two kidlets who would be missing their afternoon naps for this excursion.
Because we like to live on the dangerous side of life.
Anyway, we ended up splitting up in the store, he with Kiedis, Tova with me, so we could get things accomplished faster before Kiedis got completely out of control. He went towards whatever he needed, and I went towards the Halloween stuff (which was in the plan to peruse, and I fell in love with some things, but they're too expensive for us right now and that makes me sadpants).
As I was passing the baby clothes and trying pretty hard not to stop and check out because the kids are fairly set for now, save for winter coats and snow boots, I passed a mom with three girls, pre-teen to mid-elementary age. The oldest girl was in Heelys (and I was thinking my god they still sell those?) and they were all ... I'm not sure how to say it. The mom was dressed more like she was going out for a night at the local outdoor mall/bar scene, you know -- designer (bedazzled) jeans, Affliction-esque fitted t, long blonde very-purposely-done hair and make up, and heels.
At 3pm at Target.
Her daughters weren't much better -- very teeny-bopper trendy mall brand outfits, and they all had one of those multi-colored feather extensions in their medium-brown to dirty-blonde hair.
Now don't get me wrong, I get dressed to go to Target too. I know that all the fashion experts say you should always put a little bit of effort into what you wear out of the house, and I try to since I don't get out much. I've seen quotes on Pinterest to the effect of "Dress everyday as if you're going to run in to your worst enemy" and "Wear clothes you wouldn't be embarrassed to be found dead in" which are both fairly macabre but have valid points, to me at least. It's worth the effort to get dressed if you're going to leave the house because you never know what's going to happen or who you're going to run into.
So, I mean, I get it. I just didn't prefer the level to which this lady was modelling to her daughters was necessary to leave the house for errands. I don't know their lives, but they all seemed VERY appearance conscious in a very superficial way and that always makes me sad because as women we can be so much more than that, and as mothers we should strive to help our daughters find their worth BEYOND their outward appearance.
Anyway, I see them, the girls are being slightly obnoxious, the mom is too busy strutting her stuff down the main aisle to notice, Tova's staring somewhere between "WTF is wrong with them" and "THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE HERE OMFG" and I'm on a schedule so I maneuver around them and continue on my way to oogle seasonal decor.
Fast forward about 45 mintues, and we're in line checking out, juggling two carts and two kids and trying to make sure we got everything we needed. Kyle has Kiedis in a cart closest to the cashier, and Tova and I are behind him in line with our own cart directly behind him in line.
And I hear it from the next register line over.
"But MAWM, why would she dye her hair THAT color? Why would she dye her hair PINK?!?" intoned an a way only a pre-teen girl can.
Oh no, no you just did not.
My hair needs redone as it's faded to a light magenta, but to the naked eye it does look pink. I look out of my peripheral vision and sure enough, there's that gaggle of girls I saw earlier by the baby clothes. It's the middle child complaining loudly to her mom, who is too busy posing in the line to acknowledge her daughter beyond a flat half-hearted "I don't know." Soon enough the younger girl, who was around probably seven, starts in too, louder than her sister with "Why did she make her hair pink? Why is her hair pink Mom? Mommy why is her hair pink?" and then I hear the oldest girl who's about 13 chime in.
"God, why would you do that to your hair, it looks awful. It looks like cotton candy exploded on her head."
Now, at this point, I'm getting pretty upset. It's one thing to genuinely be curious about why people look different from each other, and I often stop and talk to kids who I can hear asking about my hair. Call me an ambassador of Offbeat Living, but I let strangers touch it, I talk about how I get it this way, I generally share my motivation, and try to be as nice as possible to physically illustrate that indeed you cannot judge a book by it's cover. But for them to then get all Mean Girl shitty about it, especially within earshot, is just bad taste and pretty much confirmed my early suspicions about what kind of people these girls and their mother were.
I finally stop peering from the corner of my eye and full tilt my face towards them to make sure it was me they were talking about.
And that's when I noticed that the middle girl was pointing at a magazine on the aisle cap, the latest InStyle with Katy Perry on the cover.
With pink hair.
So I'm internally chastising myself for assuming that they were talking about me, but at the same time they're still going on and on about why on earth someone would willingly do that to her hair, and while I was unimpressed with the particular dye job on Ms. Perry's noggin it's still the principle of it, that they were bashing someone for making a non-traditional choice and it was still getting under my skin. The people behind us in line had even picked up on this and were obviously a wee uncomfortable about the situation, with me right there hearing all this judgement spewing forth from the mouth of babes. I was on the receiving end of more than one knowing apologetic smile while standing there.
Within a couple of seconds I was just at my limit of intolerance as they were getting louder and louder and starting to compete with one another as to who could say the meanest thing about her hair, so I did the only thing I know to do.
"Sometimes people like to dye their hair different colors because it's fun," I said in my best stage standard, projecting loud enough to be heard over their squabbling.
They stopped dead in their tracks, their mom turning to me in slight surprise.
I made direct eye contact with each one of them, my best Mom-face-of-disappointment bestowed upon them as I pulled Tova out of the cart, showing myself to be a grown-up and not some petulant teenager. I have never seen girls squirm so much, being caught being mean by someone who looks similar to the person they're essentially bullying.
The mom kind of gave me an apologetic smile as her girls suddenly began to gush about my hair, saying they liked it (riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight) and talking about their feather extensions as if that was an equal modification. Personally I think feather extensions are kind of gross, but I have a bird aversion as well as an aversion to extremely trendy things. The only time I thought they were cute was when my grandma and my youngest cousins got them, because I love whenever my family tries to branch out beyond their very conservative existence. Despite my general stomach-churning reaction to feather extensions, I was kind to the girls and complimented them on their feather color choices, saying how nice they were (though they appeared to be pretty terribly done, the hair at the root very knotted and tangled before the extension even began) and tried to be magnanimous as possible as I encouraged them to enjoy being different and trying new things.
At this point we were holding up our line a little so I said goodbye and gave a slightly condescending head nod to the mom, who just smiled over-brightly and then hissed at her girls to be quieter.
I don't think I changed their opinion of people who look different very much, but I'd like to hope I at least taught them a small lesson about being bitches when people can hear you.
Keep that shit in your heads, ladies.
Or better yet, learn some tolerance and embrace people's differences as what makes them truly beautiful instead of the kind of clothes they wear or color hair they have or where they live or who they love or the lives they lead.
Sigh. End Rant.