Labor Day, 2012: Underneath It All

Remember when Clinton was asked, “Boxers or briefs?”

Why do I ask?

Because yesterday, after meeting for worship, as I was walking down Brattle Street towards Harvard Square, a group of college-aged Mormon women passed me on the sidewalk. (There is a Mormon church directly across the Longfellow green from Friends Meeting at Cambridge— so Quakers and LDS-ers often find ourselves in the same place at the same time.) Struggling, as I do these days, with super-anxiety about the election, their high-heels, lots of make-up, bouncy-curled ‘dos and Sunday-best clothes depressed me.

Tagging along behind them,  smelling their perfume, I found myself thinking some very dark, very weird stuff. (Because that’s how anxiety works.) “Oh, dear!” I thought, “getting all gussied up like that looks like fun. Appealing.” ( I suspect part of me was just plain jealous they were tripping down Cambridge’s notoriously treacherous sidewalk in heels, no problem!)

And, in that weird, crazy place I immediately connected that appeal, such a precious commodity these days, with the presidential race and wondered: “Is this how Romney wins? He taps into this let’s play dress-up for real thing?”

Crazy, right? But it gets worse. Because I live in this wonderful Somerville/Cambridge Bubble where most people don’t dress like they’re going to the most fancy wedding in their whole lives just to go to church, I couldn’t even trust myself to say: C’mon, Patricia! Because I KNOW I don’t really understand what going on in, say, Ohio. (Just to mention a critically important, must-win-to-win state.) I really don’t know how the sight of that gaggle of gussied-up women would play in Cincinnati or Cleveland.

But just as I was, once again, sinking into “Oh, God, we’re doomed and I have to move to Canada,” a tattooed guy on a bike whisked past. A tattooed angel. Because at the sight of him I remembered: Oh, right! Under those fancy clothes those women are wearing Mormon underwear!

Now I have no intention of getting all snarky about “temple garments.” I have no intention of making fun of Mormons. What I want to do is this: Remind myself, as I was reminded, yesterday, remind YOU that, yes, women have come a long way, baby. We can wear our underwear on the outside if we so choose (thanks, Madonna!).

That verb “choose”? It’s ours.

So I’m trusting that on November 6th, a significant percentage women of this country, with or without make-up or high heels, will make the right choice.



Join the Conversation


  1. Yes the right choice will be made. The empty chair will lose and Romney become the President. There is nothing you and your loser Marxist in chief can do about that!

  2. I am living in Dallas.I miss the Friends Meeting House in Cambridge. I am thinking about voting for Obama because he is black, and I am thinking about voting for Mitt because he is from Boston. I am not into politics, and I am having conflicting thoughts on who should I vote for.

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