This story was originally written for TOOBY, but the editorial board required more editing than the author was willing to do. But I can still link to it.
This is all about the Rosh Chodesh tradition of letting students wear any shirt they want once a month. In our school, this meant you needed a bunch more perfectly tznius button-down shirts to wear – preferably Ralph Lauren.
Oh the shopping stress.
Some students would just opt-out of the competition and wear their uniform shirt on Rosh Chodesh. But I hated those uniform shirts (they were see-through!) and refused to miss a chance to not wear one.
Of course, no non-uniform button-down in the world has a built-in tznius button, so your choices were to button the top button and look like an uncool nun, or strategically insert a safety pin at your collarbone.
For this reason, I amassed a collection of those tiny gold safety pins, and would spend up to 10 minutes on a Rosh Chodesh morning trying to get it through just the back layer of the buttonhole placket in such a way that nobody could tell the pin was there.
“One problem we’ve noticed is that we teach girls about tznius and then they graduate and we feel that our words did not reach them. We feel that this is because we don’t teach tznius in a practical way- you girls don’t connect our lectures to your outside outfits. Therefore we came up with a wonderful idea- this Rosh Chodesh we will be launching our “I Want Feedback” campaign! If you want to participate, you take an “I Want Feedback” badge and pin it to your outfit and teachers will talk to you one-on-one about your outfit’s good tznius points and bad tznius points. Dismissed!”
Most people sleepwalked to first period, totally fine with this invasion.
I was incensed. “Shaina! Did you HEAR HER?”
“At least she said “If you want to participate,” Shaina observed.
“I SUPPOSE THAT PARTICIPATION IN THE YOUTH GROUPS IN OCEANIA WAS ALSO BASED ON WANTING TO PARTICIPATE,” I snarled.
“What are you talking about?” Shaina didn’t like reading.
I sighed. “This is not optional,” I translated.
I had to do SOMETHING. Even some of the girls who usually swallowed what the school doled out without complaint were murmuring discontentedly about this campaign.
That Rosh Chodesh, there were badges bearing the legend “I.W.F.” for “I Want Feedback.”
I immediately grabbed a handful of them, determined to lower the number of possible participants in this abomination, took my scissor out of my pencil case, and headed to the bathroom. I wedged one of the blades between the 2 halves of a badge, and it popped open, exposing the paper.
I took out a black pen and scrawled “ood” after the “F.” The badge now read “I.W.Food,” or “I Want Food.” Chuckling at my own brilliance, I proceeded to doctor all of the badges in my possession this way.