I do not like to sweat. It’s gross. An hour after sweating, I start to smell bad, and as a (relatively) Proper Southern Woman Of A Certain Age, both sweating and smelling bad are social sins of (nearly) the greatest magnitude, right up there with having spinach in your teeth or wearing white shoes after Labor Day. I understand, however, that regulation regarding white has been somewhat relaxed in recent years. Thank goodness for that, because around here it doesn’t cool off good until late October, and all my really comfortable skirts are white.
I didn’t used to ever wear white (Ok, if you’re from north of the Mason-Dixon line, that sentence might coulda made you cringe) (also that next one, but I assure you they’re both grammatically correct for the North and Central Georgia dialect). When one is the mother of 4 stinky boys, white is foolhardy. A long time ago, when we had 3 young boys to hustle into the car for church on Sunday’s, Terry would get them all buckled in, then give a shout, at which time I’d scoot into the bedroom to get dressed. Wearing something nice is a glaring invitation for everyone under the age of 10 to projectile vomit or smear peanut butter on you. Ask any mother of young children, I am positive they’ll agree. And since I didn’t want to attend church in a ratty red bathrobe, this was the best way we could come up with to limit the schmutz. White, of course, was more than an invitation. It was a challenge. It was a red cape in front of 3 yearling bulls holding sippy cups of grape juice in one hand and Georgia red clay mud pies in the other. It declared to the entire church congregation that I was a woman with far more courage than common sense. So no, white didn’t happen much between 1988 and (what year is it?)…say…2012.
However, one morning I woke up and realized that there was only one child left at home, and he was of an age enough that he cared just as much about the condition of his clothes before Sunday worship as I did.
(I just had a theory: The reason pastors so often wear those black robes is so they don’t have to be too concerned about what to wear on a Sunday morning…)
So, now white happens. When it’s 103 and 90% humidity and one wants to go to church without looking like a wilted begonia, one wears white. Linen comes in white, also soft airy cotton. And if one wear soft linen or cotton in white, one automatically looks like one just stepped out of the shower and probably smells like fresh sheets just off the drying line. In fact, when wearing white, a Southern Woman Of A Certain Age stops sweating. Oh, she might “glisten” a little, or perhaps develop a “dewy complexion” during the brief stroll from the car to the sanctuary (or the coffee shop, if it’s a Saturday), but none of that nasty sweating that only horses and athletes seem to enjoy (ick). Now I can wear white all the time, and thanks to those Bleach Pens, even an errant splash of coffee (I admit to a drinking problem) or a drop of spaghetti sauce (also an occasional eating problem) causes no harm, because you can BLEACH whites! Which makes them far superior to, say, powder blue
So, the coming of Labor Day causes a bit of a cognitive dissonance between the Common Sense self that declares “WEAR WHITE UNTIL IT’S TOO COLD! LIKE AT CHRISTMAS!” and the Old School Southern Lady type who sniffs and says things like “look at her wearing white after Labor Day. Bless her heart.” Goodness knows no one wants to have their heart blessed unless a casserole comes along with it.
Younger ladies can get away with it. It can be excused as either ignorance or having a Free Spirit. You know how the next generation is, they’re too busy posting on Instagram to be concerned with the old rules of behavior. It makes sense I guess, if you’re having to remember all those iRules all the time, that when to wear white becomes quaint and pointless.
On the other hand, if you have pointless rules like “no white between Labor Day and Easter”, then getting to wear white becomes something to look forward to. And these days, I look for stuff like that anywhere I can find it.