On my way to Mammoth Cave National Park, I stopped in Bowling Green on a Saturday night. Dressed in my hiking clothes, I didn’t look any different than any other traveler or ordinary working person from the area.
One by one, the young people came into Ruby Tuesday’s dressed up fit to kill. The grey tuxedos of the boys were a great foil for the bright red and blue long gowns of the girls. These dresses had large silver spangled bodices and laced up backs. The lower portions of their gowns flowed like chiffon, although I didn’t touch the material to know if their gowns were made of this or another fabric.
Instead, I exclaimed, “oh! Y’all look so great tonight!” The kids just smiled. They had heard their parents say the same thing, and the same words from every grownup they came across this evening. Little did they know that they had crossed a bridge tonight: they had made a rite of passage.
Wearing the grownup clothes, the high heels, and the makeup for real instead of just playing dress up means that a young woman can now make more of her own decisions and live with with the consequences. The tuxedo, the cummerbund and the tie and cuff links aren’t just articles of clothing, but they are the outward and visible signs of a new status in life. No longer a boy, this person can fill man sized shoes. The world of work may call him soon, or greater responsibilities beyond.
Tonight, the kids aren’t thinking about this, however. They’re just out to have a good time. Their parents and grandparents have much to chew over with their dinner.