Saturday, July 21, 2007

Flea markets, boundaries and the daddy factor

Yesterday after work, I passed by Greenhills Shopping Center, with the goal of snapping up some good buys (read: affordable and of good quality). Shoes needed replacing, and wardrobe in general needed some, "punch." I like going to the Greenhills tiangge ("flea market") as haggling is part of the shopping experience at this place. I wasn't disappointed -- in less than an hour, I headed for home with some pretty neat items within my budget. But that's not really what this post is about. In one of the stalls, as I waited for the saleslady to return with some tops I requested in my size, a couple happened to pass by. The woman perused a bunch of spaghetti-strapped, lace-fringed clothing items on display while her husband watched. She fingered the pieces one by one, apparently deciding on the right colors then he said "Ha? 'yan? They look like undergarments!"

"Well, this is what she likes," she replied.

I casually glanced at the bright-colored items and then at the couple while inwardly cheering "Go, daddy, go!"

It depends on the parents. You are the parents. It's up to you to guide your kids into making wise fashion choices. Do not lose your confidence in bringing up your kids properly... went on in my mind, hoping for mental telepathy to do its thing at that moment.

The saleslady I was waiting for arrived at that moment, my good buys in hand. The husband apparently held his ground because he and his wife walked away without purchasing any of the spaghetti-o innerware-being-marketed-as outerwear pieces. I know he somehow reiterated his protest over his daughter wearing something like that but I was too busy with settling my own purchases to catch the exact words. My thought as I walked off with my shopping bags: sometimes a Daddy really needs to put his foot down, especially when it comes to guiding his daughters, even when it's only about the seemingly insignificant issue of fashion.

Guess what -- all that is just an intro! I really wanted to share a post I read at Modestly Yours a couple of weeks ago (two posts actually). The first dwells on an incident that's not hogging the headlines anymore yet the lessons that can be drawn from it are timeless. I'm posting it in full. The second, which touches on fashion choices, is quite sensible and thought-provoking (which all entries in Modestly Yours are); it springs from the recent death of designer Liz Claiborne and takes off from an article in The Wall Street Journal. Both posts somehow weave the role of parents into these matters, but the second zeroes in on the crucial role of fathers, plus the sense of propriety in general.


An Open Letter to Paris Hilton

Dear Paris-
Congratulations on being released from jail last week. We don't know each other, but due to the choices you've made in the last few years, I can't so much as log-in to my email without reading the latest headlines about you, so since I know what's going on, I feel compelled to offer my take on your situation.
You and are close in age and I grew up in a privileged family too, although not nearly as wealthy as yours. But there's one thing that my parents were able to give me that your parents' endless money apparently could not buy for you - boundaries.
It seems that up until last month, your life was just one big party after another and there wasn't any form of attention or exposure that was too much for you. Although I read about how during your first few days in jail you would not let yourself eat or drink for fear of being photographed on the toilet by one of the guards as your jail cell had no privacy. I'm sorry that you had to go through that.
About twenty days ago your party ended. Not when you went into jail the first time, but after your wealthy, well-connected family pulled out all the stops to get you on house arrest, and the judge sent you back to the slammer anyway. That was probably the first time in your life that someone enforced boundaries even though you're 26 years old.
I believe that you must have felt completely hopeless and helpless at that point. From riches to rags. (It was "The Simple Life," but there was no make-up and crew. It was just you and that small cell.)
Feeling helpless isn't always a bad thing, though. There's a verse from Psalms that says "From the depths, I have called out to You, God." Sometimes we are only motivated to call out to God when everything we have has been stripped away. Apparently that happened to you in jail.
I know people are debating about whether or not this change in you is real, but for your sake and for the sake of all the kids that look up to you, I hope it is. (I have two small girls who I would shelter from your escapades anyway if they were to resume, although what goes on in the media ends up trickling down to the rest of society no matter how hard you try to stay away from it.)
Paris, fame and wealth are not virtues or vices. They are responsibilities. For whatever reason God decided that you should be born into one of the most wealthy, well-known families out there today. The fact that you were born rich and famous was not your choice, but Paris, what you do you do with that money and fame lies solely on you and might well be the very purpose of your existence. So please, take a look at what you've been given, and make yours a meaningful life.
Best wishes for the future,
Allison Shapiro


[Author Naomi Schaefer Riley] then quotes a woman dear to my heart, Stacy London, the co-host of "What Not To Wear:" "You don't want to show too much skin at work--unless you're a lifeguard." True. Ms. London, whose father is Herb London, president of the Hudson Institute (a conservative policy research organization), attributes to her father the instillation of "a certain sense of propriety and right and wrong in me, which plays into my fashion sensibility."

Read the whole thing here

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Just the other day, my younger sister pointed out that my dad was a conservative dresser, meaning he was the one who would oppose to any shirt which he thought to be too small or too fit or hanging. But after this, i figured that that's just what dads do. I guess they have the edge of being male (and knowing how some guys really think), so dads really take it upon themselves to protect their daughters from what things they can't even imagine could be thought about them.

Maybe shopping should be done with fathers...

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