Teaching in T-Shirts and Skirts

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Last week, for our lecture on dreams and nightmares in the Hollywood blockbuster, my Cinema History III class screened Back to the Future (1985). As usual, I wore the husband’s “Save the Clock Tower” t-shirt.

On Thursday, to accompany our lecture on sound and sound design, my Style and Storytelling in Cinema class watched Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Since I know you’ll ask: yes, I was beside myself. Yes, I was tapping my feet during “Moses Supposes.” Yes, I was swooning while Cyd Charisse slid down my man’s leg during the “Broadway Melody” number (I even tweeted about it as she slithered…). And, yes, my students liked it — at least they seemed to; we’ll discuss the film in depth next Tuesday, so I’ll find out more then.

Great Scott! You know you wanna order one.

So that the husband’s Back to the Future t-shirt wouldn’t feel so alone, I (finally) ordered a Stormtrooper-in-the-Rain tee. You can see it below all Instagram’d up and hanging from the Singin’ in the Rain poster that currently adorns my office. (Get your own musical stormtrooper at RedBubble.com!)

Normally, this little blue t-shirt wouldn’t pose a problem for me as I’d pair it with a blazer or cardigan and some jeans. But right now, I’m knee-deep in something called Skirt-a-Thon 2012, wherein female academics from all over the country and the UK (hey, Faye!) wear skirts for the entire month of April (well, M-F) and subsequently post their skirting activities online.

Why are people doing this, you ask? Honestly, I dunno. Some of the participants from the South are partial to “the breeze” a skirt allows. Some of them claim the skirt is more comfortable than a pair of jeans or slacks (hogwash!). And some maintain that they just feel more confident before a classroom when they’re “all dressed up.” All I know is that these PhDs (and almost-PhDs) love them some skirts.

Moreover, I hear some of you asking, why in the world is Kelli Marshall, a person who probably hasn’t stepped into a dress/skirt since she married 13 years ago, participating in a skirt-a-thon? Good question, and one that Kelli Marshall is still trying to answer. Maybe she’s doing it to feel a part of the club? An excuse to buy new clothes? Peer pressure?

Whatever the true reason (it’s the peer pressure and loads of it), I am doing it — at least on the days I teach. No worries, y’all; on MWF, it’s all jeans, all the time.

This isn’t the blog post you’re looking for.

But back to my new stormtrooper shirt…

For expert skirt-a-thoners, like 99% of those with whom I’m participating, pairing this little fella with a skirt is no problem. After all, they’ve a gaggle to choose from; one ‘thoner even counted 27 in her closet. My skirt/dress count before all this business commenced: two. So for novice participants, the task is more difficult — and especially challenging for one who doesn’t want to wear or even OWN a pair of tights. (It’s still in the 40s up here, folks, and those subway platforms aren’t heated.)

After some consultation and nearly an hour of trying on clothes the night before (WTF is wrong with me?!), I finally decided on pairing my little white, plastic Gene Kelly with a black cardigan, a short black skirt, black tights (ugh, ugh, ugh), and Mary Jane’s. In my mind, this looked terrible, moronic even. But dammit: I was wearing the shirt, and I’ll do so again the next time I teach Singin’ in the Rain. To my fellow skirt-a-thoners, however, my outfit “seriously worked,” and they couldn’t figure out “what I was all worried about.”

Ah, there it is. The reason I’m participating in Skirt-a-Thon 2012: a sweet dose of daily affirmation, even if my fellow participants might be lying to me, just a little bit.

For another take on Skirtathon 2012, see Amanda Ann Klein’s post here.