My mother was a fan of kilts and plaid things in general (as you will recall if you read my post that included my description of the Stupidest Halloween Costume Ever Devised at 6:30 p.m. on October 31, or Really,Ever). Many years before the Halloween costume debacle, I owned another kilt, this one in a Royal Stewart tartan (that would be the red one you’re most likely familiar with, for those of you who aren’t Scottish tartan aficionados). It had straps that crossed in the back and buttoned into the waist band in the front.
Because the straps were a double thickness of wool, and because the buttons were stitched to the multi-thickness waist band, getting the straps buttoned was no mean feat. My mom had to do it for me because my fine motor skills weren’t sufficiently developed to do it (I couldn’t have been more than four), and I lacked the strength in my fingers.
Although I probably wore it multiple times, there was one time that stands out and has weathered the ravages of time, wine, and a very minor flirtation with illegal drugs to remain accessible to me.
I was at preschool—it was a Montessori preschool—and at some point during the day nature called. As nature does. I went to one of the teachers, and asked her to undo my straps so I could go to the bathroom.
“You don’t need the straps undone,” was her response.
I remember thinking how stupid she was. I did need to have them undone, otherwise I would be unable to remove the straps. I waited a few minutes, hoping that she would process my request, and realize her response was unacceptable.
I approached the same teacher again, and made the same appeal. Again, she declined on the grounds that it was unnecessary for me to have my straps removed in order to use the restroom. In my four year old way I was starting to get rather pissed off and impatient with this bozo. The straps held up the kilt. I needed to remove the straps to remove the kilt. Parlez-vous Anglais, you idiot?
I would give her one last chance. I waited a few more minutes. Things were starting to get a bit desperate here, so it wasn’t many more minutes. My four year old brain wasn’t much for coming up with new approaches, or finding new angles. I hit up the same teacher with the same plea for sartorial assistance.
“You don’t need the straps undone,” she repeated for the third time.
Really, you twatwaffle? Have I not made myself clear? These buttons are hard. My mom has to fasten them for me in the morning. I might be able to get them undone, but the odds are slim. We are nearing a point of no return here, and if you don’t give me a hand, you’re going to have more to deal with than just some stubborn buttons. I hope you have a mop and some dry undies handy, because we’re going to need them, if you get my drift.
Just at the point when I might have ended up with a nickname like Tinkle Tracy (four year olds are both creative and sympathetic in their nickname assignment), I decided to go to the restroom and try the damned buttons for myself. As I stood there fiddling, it finally dawned on me. What you no doubt have been asking yourself all this time finally occurred to me.
Why did you not just lift up your kilt—since it’s nothing more than a skirt—and go about your business?
So I did. But to this day I am not sure why the teacher, on seeing that I clearly wasn’t grasping what she was implying, didn’t say, “It’s just a skirt—lift it up and go.” Clearly she assumed I was smarter than I am, which is a mistake that many have made through the years. I humor myself she didn’t want to insult my intelligence by giving me so obvious an instruction, or she was confident I’d figure it out on my own. The truth is she came within about 45 seconds of need that mop.
Did you have a wardrobe malfunction as a child? Did you ever have to pee badly enough that you thought you might call someone a "twatwaffle" out loud? Have you ever been in a situation where people clearly thought you were smarter than you are?