When I was young, there were clothes that only “loose” girls wore. The kind of clothes if we spoke about we’d say, “My mother would kill me if I dared”. We called the crop top a tumbo-cut and it was known to be worn by females out to nab men for purposes of sex; because why would any woman show off curves that are to be kept hidden, if she wasn’t looking to get some? It was like a signal that one was ready to get down and dirty.
These things I accepted without much thought; it was a no brainer really. In all the skits we watched, we instantly knew the slut to whom the moral of the story would be dedicated, by how short her dress was, how tight her pants fit or by how much skin she showed. No one got up on stage in a tumbo cut, micro-mini, heels and makeup only to take the character of an ordinary girl around town.
So you can imagine my shock when, a few weeks after moving to Eldoret, I came across an elderly Indian woman in one such tumbo cut. It was pale pink, like the flowy skirt she wore. The similarly pink fabric she draped over her shoulder almost as an afterthought did nothing to cover the flab of tummy that showed clearly between her top and skirt.
It was daytime, no one else seemed bothered by her going about her business, and the woman was clearly not giving eyes to any man around her. It all made no sense at all!
I’ve always loved looking through mum’s photos from the time she was young. Growing up in a time when mini-skirts were worn by either prostitutes or girls who simply didn’t give a fuck, I thought my mum and her girls from the 70’s pretty badass in their minis and wild afros. And they were in high school; a Catholic school no less! How absolutely amazing was that?!
Minis were of course off limits to us children of the 90’s. Why? We didn’t ask. You do not ask your mother why she could do something and you cannot.
I did wonder, though, why it would be considered indecent for me to wear minis whereas the same rules did not apply to my mother; my mother who was to me, the epitome of all that was right and morally right to ape. Sure she did not wear minis anymore but if she could when she was younger, what was so bad about me doing the same?
I wondered but never actually wore miniskirts at home or anywhere really. I never had the push to provoke my mother this way. My high school skirts were usually slightly just above the knees but by all definitions would not be considered mini. I wore my first mini in campus.
By this time, of course it had truly sunk just how shallow it was to equate what a girl wore to how modest, “pure” and thus how much more attractive she was.
I knew big hearted, smart girls who were too sexually curious for their religions of birth and who in a bid to maintain the revered virginity façade, taught me to my utmost shock, about creams that could rebuild one’s hymen so a girl could fuck as much as she wanted and not later hurt her marriage prospects or family honor.
I knew girls in school, who wore the longest skirts and went home in the least figure-hugging buibuis; and who in the same breath sneaked out on weekends for some dick.
And I know that clothes are just woven threads that have absolutely no bearing on how sexually (in)active or available a girl is.
To believe otherwise is naïve or simply as foolish as it is to respect and disrespect people depending on what they dress.