Oh, hi. We started writing this story pre-pandemic when we used to do all sorts of things that we no longer do. When we used to feel all sorts of things that we no longer feel. When we weren’t languishing (that’s apparently the dominant emotion of 2021, inspired by this New York Times article). So much has happened and it never felt appropriate to post this story. But recent events have brought this topic back around so we’ve decided to revive it and make it new again.
L: guess what?
L: my little cousin gabby is pregnant!
A: i’m so glad i’m not pregnant
L: and she’s 9 days late
A: omg i remember that feeling
A: will was late
L: ellie was also late
L: i hated waiting
L: late is particularly hard when it’s your first
A: everything is particularly hard when it’s your first
L: so true
L: i babysat for gabby when she was a baby
L: and now she’s having her own
L: which is crazy
L: this is really making me feel old
A: you are old
L: you are mean
L: anyway, funny story about when i babysat for her
L: almost 30 years ago
A: see? old
Flashback to Summer 1991.
Speaking of babies, Laura pretty much was one in 1991. She worked in a NYC law firm as a summer associate. She and the other summer associates worked hard and played hard. But more than anything, they were constantly trying to make a good impression. Everyone wanted a full-time offer at the end of the summer. And there were 60-something people vying for fewer than 60-something spots. Competition at its finest.
One Wednesday as the summer associates were packing up for the day, Laura changed out of her suit. Paint-a-better-visual alert: her suit consisted of a navy knee-length skirt and blazer combo from Ann Taylor, an off-white silk camisole but not the cute ones they have now, and Hanes silk reflections nude-ish/white-ish pantyhose with black patent leather pumps. So she changed out of her Working Girl get-up and threw on jean shorts and a t-shirt because she was leaving to babysit her little baby cousin, Gabby. That’s when her phone rang. The landline that predated caller ID. But Laura knew the extension, they all knew the extension. It was Mark Baker’s extension. Mark Baker was the law firm’s hiring partner. Gulp.
So the fresh-faced summer associate in jean shorts and a t-shirt picked up the phone. Mr. Baker asked her to quickly stop by his office so he could give her a new assignment. Shit, she had already changed out of her high fashion ensemble. Shit, she was getting her first assignment from The Mark Baker. Everyone crammed into her office and told her to run to the bathroom and change back into her suit. Everyone except for one person. One person said - if I were you, I’d just wear my shorts.
And just like that, a new rally cry was born, the shorthand phrase they used all summer. The one that reminded them that even in the midst of intense competition, camaraderie looked and felt better than the alternative.
If I were you, I’d just wear my shorts.
Wearing shorts would have been a bad decision.
Wearing shorts was sabotage.
Wearing shorts would have been disrespectful and made young Laura seem like she didn’t care.
Thing is, we kinda get it.
We get why she told Laura to stay in her shorts.
We get that sometimes competition can bring out the worst in us.
If we’re being truthful, sometimes we feel like young Laura.
And sometimes we feel like the wear your shorts girl.
Sometimes we root for Meghan and Kate to be best friends.
And sometimes we relish in their drama.
We find ourselves wondering, why does there have to be a hero and a villain?
But every time we fix another woman’s crown, every time we watch Elle Woods support and lift up those around her (yes, Laura’s obsessed with Legally Blonde), every time we remember that there’s room for all of us to succeed, it’s empowering as hell.
We got the lesson.
We just have to remember the lesson.
Fine, go ahead and barf.
Us at a recent-ish kids baseball game. One of us accidentally blurted out ‘yes!’ when the center fielder from the opposing team dropped an easy fly ball. And then one of us shamed the blurter-outer by saying something like, you know that is someone else’s kid out there. And when the holier-than-thou friend says something like that, all the blurter-outer can think is - I hate my holier-than-thou friend. I wish my holier-than-thou friend would stop being so holier-than-thou. And then the two friends sit there in silence. Until the blurter-outer and the holier-than-thouer admit they both can do better. Until the next game.
Psssst. Gabby had her baby. A girl. 6 lbs 8oz. Born 10 days late. Lyla Kathryn. And now she’s pregnant with her second child. And now we’re feeling even older. Yay.