Columnist: “Chasing pink, polka-dotted panties in the mist”
By: Jamie Miles: Columist
My daughter needed to select a famous American for her second grade biography report. The assignment included dressing as the subject. My mind wandered...Sally Ride, Sandra Day O’Conner, Betty Crocker?
“Barack Obama,” she decided.
That was cool. No gender-bender problems for this mom. Hannah could borrow boy’s navy blazer, cinch a red tie and pull her hair back into a ponytail.
The next day she changed her mind.
From Leader of the Free World to Leader of the 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Disney Channel timeslot.
I sensed need for motherly manipulation (or guidance).
Hannah lives to save distressed creatures. Who was famous animal rescuer? Filing through my vast knowledge of useless 21st century trivia, I remembered Sigourney Weaver in movie with orangutans. After googling this, “Gorillas in the Mist” popped up. Silly me, gorillas, not orangutans, and Dian Fossey became her famous American.
Watching the movie (before devouring written bio, of course), the two most traumatic moments for my daughter came when poachers killed Fossey’s beloved gorilla, Digit, and the revelation, “Dian Fossey SMOKES!”
“Everyone did back then,” I reassured. Smoking did not automatically topple one off famous American pedestal. (Well, maybe the American Cancer Society’s.)
Then she needed a costume and Dad volunteered to head up the shopping expedition.
Roaming the wilds of Wal-Mart and not wise in SuperCenter navigation, Dad took a wrong turn. Into the women’s intimates.
“Daddy, I need a bra.”
“Dian Fossey wore a bra.”
Living in Rwanda with a bunch of gorillas, I don’t know if crossing-her-heart was a high priority.
“Do you think she wore underwear like this?” In Hollywood’s portrayal, Fossey worried over missing luggage for, “My underpants and brassieres are in there.” Hannah’s selected panties were pink, polka-dotted and cut up to somewhere which might look attractive on someone twice her age and half mine.
Dian Fossey’s passion was not pink, plastic or in any way held together with dental floss. She hungered, but not for fame.
With an occupational therapy background at a children’s hospital her only training, she convinced renowned Louis Leakey to entrust her with counting gorillas in central Africa. Suffering the pain of broken bones, jungle rot, decaying teeth, living with civil unrest and weakened lungs that made breathing in the mountains laborious torture (for she did manage to buy cigarettes); Fossey ultimately gave her life to save the mountain gorilla from extinction.
Dear Hannah, a drawer full of lacy, in-your-face sexuality is only frothy whip cream on the delicious nine-layer stack of syrup-laden womanhood. Be vigilant. Never let the culture’s increasingly one-dimensional, hyper-sensual feminine images distract your life mission. Too many of our gender waste precious time chasing pink polka-dotted underwear.
Go find your gorillas and live.
Printed in the March 19, 2009 Edition.