For 23 years, I have been in The Boys’ Room, readying my sons for church, weddings, graduations, or any other event that required them to dress up. I was in charge of making sure each boy had on the right shoes, the right pants, the right shirt, and a tie and jacket if necessary. I’ve endured a barrage of discontent emotions, language that bewailed the crime of dressing up, threats of dissent. What have I been missing all these years stuck in the “boys’ room?” I found out this weekend at the wedding of my son.
We arrived at the beautiful Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville, with a van loaded with 5 tuxes and one silver blue Calvin Kline dress with a Bolero Jacket, five pairs of black shoes and a pair of silver slippers. My oldest son was in charge of his own wardrobe. That is a sign of the fire and power of independence.
My two little guys, carrying their own tuxes, and I, carrying food for the Guys’ Room, two yummy trays—one filled with a selection of Subway Sandwiches and another with all the toppings and sauces. We stepped off the elevator to the right. . . there, through a glass wall were young men in various stages of undress (lots of boxers) changing into their chocolate-brown tuxes. . . . A little speechless, I swung around and slowly backed toward the room. A burst of guys’ giggling and laughing—yes, they still do giggle at that age—greeted me. I couldn’t decide whether to be mortified or amused when I turned my back. The glass window I faced was like a mirror to their room—guys still in a bunch of boxers.
The groom, my son, saved my dignity and retrieved the platters of sandwiches and toppings. Since that was the only elevator and the weather outside registered on my van as 98°, I walked with my back turned and my eyes closed for a while.
I dressed in the Girl’s Room. At first it was like entering a new world. Would I belong? It was a different world, with different colors, different language, different accessories available. No subs in sight! Clothes weren’t thrown around the room, but tidily set by each girls’ bag. I was a little awed.
There was a knock on the door. “Help,” called a male voice from the outside. I answered the door. There stood a groomsman, holding his sleeve out, a sleeve with some pizza sauce from one of the sub sandwiches.
“Tide stick?” he asked. Feeling a little guilty—I hadn’t thought about the consequences of a pizza sub, I turned around and asked, “Anyone have a Tide Stick?” I try to carry one in my purse, my car, my kitchen, but not today. .I did have bandaids, hair spritzer, Advil, children’s Motrin, extra socks, a camera charger, a Dr. Pepper, brown thread, needle, and scissors.
The Girls’ Room had Tide Sticks, emory boards, and Dr. Scholl’s For Her Rub Relief Strips. It really does prevent rubbing and blisters! Where had this been all my life?
Then I heard the most amazing thing—girl language. Little girls and grown-up girls all going about the tasks of getting ready. All kinds of words, words murmured in encouragement to the four flower girls. The bridesmaids wore the most beautiful, strappy red heels—and I mean heels. Without fuss, they dispensed Dr. Scholl’s miracle product and went on. I started un-wrapping my dress.
It was finally time for me to put on my dress. I needed someone to help me zip up the side because of the material. Nobody groaned, “My eyes. . . My eyes. . . .I’ll never see again.” Kind words, encouraging words, nurturing words, words from the Girl’s Room. Words that affirmed that being a girl, not matter the age, is really quite simply, wonderful.
What had I been missing all these years? I can imagine the words in the boys’ room. The fussing from the younger ones about the shoes, the tie, the clothes. The older ones probably were not so direct. They probably cracked jokes, dressing up their discontent with humor. Nuturing, encouraging, kind words? Not unless someone’s mama brought them in.
They were frustrated. They hadn’t tried on the tuxes when they picked them up (my 4 other sons did because they were with me). As a result, they wore pants hitched up to their chest under their shirts and vests. My mother the day before had hemmed my husband’s tux 4-inches. The store suggested he find someone to hem. Hmmmm. Chaos in The Boys’ Room.
The older ones, the groomsmen, provided companionship, stoic, supportive, probably like soldiers in battle. They weren’t getting ready for a soccer game or war. Those in The Boys’ Room were definitely out of their comfort zone, while those in The Girls’ Room were in their element.