Thebookbench is inspired by what my family is reading. I have tested the limits of that in the past by including the ingredients list of a SlimJims package as reading material. I hope catalogues count. Here goes.
Saturday afternoon was a piece of autumnal perfection here in New Jersey. My family happily spent it at five year old Ethan's first flag football practice. As soon as we arrived, Ethan ran onto the field and nine year old Aaron found another kid his age with whom to play in the nearby woods. Our eight year old daughter Hayden saw two girlfriends at a picnic table and hung out with them while Bill and I were able to enjoy the football from the bleachers. Ahhh, peaceful. Hayden came over to us after about twenty minutes. We asked her what she had been up to. She answered that she and the girls had been picking out their favorite costumes from a Party City catalogue that arrived in the mail that morning. Bill and I gave her the absent minded "Oh, that's nice." We focused on the football. She continued to flip through the catalogue. Hayden asked us some question about what she was reading. Surprise took so over my brain that I can't remember the specifics, but it was something like, "What's the difference between a pirate and a pirate wench?" or maybe it was "Why is this nurse named Hot Flash?" I do recall that it prompted me and Bill to simultaneously say, "Let me see that," perhaps with different intentions. Trust me, I wrestled, I mean got to it, first. While toddlers, boys, girls, and men each had about two pages of costumes, four plus pages were devoted to the Adult Female category. And I mean adult in the adult bookstore sense of adult. Since when did Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, firefighters, and "Straight A Students" all start wearing micro miniskirts, push up bras, and thigh high stockings? Hayden questioned why referees would wear high heel shoes and super short shorts. You don't see many NFL game officials showing that much skin, well, at least not in Green Bay. I'm all for women, and men for that matter, feeling attractive and having fun with a little dress up if they want. Although let me point out that there were no sexy male costumes, just goofy or ghoulish ones. My problem here is that these supersexualized images arrived in my mailbox and in a deceptive way. The cover of the Party City mailing does not have Treasure Pirate, Joy Rider, and the other girls on it. Instead, it looks like it is going to open up into a catalogue full of family friendly Halloween costumes.
Back to the football field. Once Bill and I established that our daughter and her friends had spent most of their time choosing from the Girl and Teen Girl sections (one wants to be Gabriella from High School Musical, one a skeleton, and one a Glam Witch), we sent Hayden into the woods to play with her older brother sans catalogue. Despite the bears, we figured there would be less trouble there. I should just be happy Hayden only looked at Party City's print catalogue and not their website version which includes zoom and 360 degree view features, more pouting, and sexier posing. On the one hand, it bothers me that I have to think twice before sending my kids to bring in the mail. On the other hand, maybe this is all just sour grapes on my part. I thought I had prepared to dress up as my husband's fantasy this Halloween. After all, I've got a comfortable Starbucks hat and apron waiting in the closet. I guess I'm going to have to tart them up somehow. Where oh where will I find bright green thigh high stiletto boots?