Title IX was newish when I hit junior high and decided I didn’t want to take home economics. This was back in the day when all girls took home ec, and all boys took shop. Nothing wrong with home economics, I just, personally, thought it sounded like a snore. The boys got to mold plastics and use power tools. The girls learned how to make white sauce. I could not see how white sauce fit into my future.
My parents, in a much-appreciated burst of advocacy, petitioned the school board to let girls take shop, and ultimately prevailed. Although the board’s ruling came too late to save me from Mrs. W’s high-fat cuisine, it did clear the way for kids like my younger brother to learn how to sew an apron and do his nails (I kid you not. He is still, to this day, extremely well groomed.)
Fast forward several decades. Title IX opened up a vast array of opportunities for girls. But while both boys’ and girls’ sports require me to sling hot dogs at the concession stand, write checks so large they make me tear up, and hit the grandparents up with all sorts of fundraising campaigns, there is one key difference.
My daughter is on the dance team. And for the dance team, I have to rhinestone a costume.
Make no mistake; the dance team girls are athletes. If you don’t believe me, try kicking your leg over your head for the next three hours and then tell me whether you didn’t pull a hamstring, a groin muscle, and everything in between. But I have never been asked to rhinestone a baseball jersey or apply sequins to lacrosse pads. I do not have to alter ski gear. And while my boys have occasionally required the use of kinesio tape, neither has ever required the use of Hollywood Fashion Tape® before entering the field. In short, boys’ sports do not require me to use any crafting skills whatsoever.
This inequity makes me uneasy, but frankly, it’s probably not because it throws us back to the days of girls vs. boys as much as it is an aversion to rhinestoning. Let’s just say it is not a core competence.
But as sports parents know, when your kid signs up, you sign up.
And thus, a recent Saturday morning found me beside other dance team moms, coffee at hand, using industrial-strength, cancer-causing glue to attach dozens of rhinestones and sequins to a piece of nylon that wouldn’t cover one of my calves. (I noticed no fathers were present.)
This is my daughter’s first year on the team, and I certainly will be required to rhinestone again. The coach has decided that the girls’ time is too valuable to devote to modifying their costumes. My time, however, carries no such premium.
Just call me the Rhinestone Cowgirl.