Dropping my son off at his high school the other day, I was reminded of a Bible verse. And no, it wasn't "Come unto Me, all ye that are heavy laden," even though students these days, between backpacks and gym bags and band instruments, cart around more luggage than I packed for a weeklong trip to Europe.
No, the passage I'm talking about is in the Old Testament, referencing the "fleshpots of Egypt." It came into my mind unbidden as I paused in the drop-off lane while two young ladies -- and I use that term advisedly -- crossed in front of us.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that, between them, they weren't covered in enough cloth to make a decent-sized handkerchief. All I saw was flesh -- and judging from the look on his face, I'm pretty sure that's all my son saw, too.
Clearly, this problem isn't unique to his school. Teenage girls across America routinely show up for school in short shorts and spaghetti-straps -- and that's in January. About the only difference between a high school and a mall these days, in terms of fashion, is that some malls actually have standards.
Of course, schools are supposed to have standards, too. Our county's systemwide dress code specifically prohibits "clothing which is disruptive to the learning environment." If the outfits on those two girls weren't disruptive, then they're not making boys the way they used to.
The school's own code goes even further, banning clothing that is "immodest" or "excessively revealing." I suppose the word "excessively" is open to interpretation, but if those outfits had been any more revealing, they could only have been shown on cable.
Look, I don't blame the schools for not enforcing a dress code, any more than I blame the cops for not pulling over every speeding driver. It's hard to target the leadfoots when everybody's doing 80.
Instead, I blame those girls' parents for allowing them to walk out the door looking like a couple of extras in a Britney Spears video. And I have to wonder: What were they thinking? Do they really believe that, if their daughters go around advertising their wares, they won't have any buyers?
I know some of you are thinking, what's the big deal? (Heck, maybe those were your daughters.) The big deal is this: I'm trying to teach my teenage sons to have some morals. To respect women, not regard them as objects for their own gratification.
I have to say, those things are much harder to teach when your daughters are parading themselves around as if they regard their own body parts as goods on display. It's not easy to respect someone who doesn't respect herself.
So please, parents: make sure your daughters are adequately covered. Because even if my sons aren't around, other boys are -- and they might think objectification is just swell.
Rob Jenkins is a free-lance writer who lives in Lawrenceville. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.