Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is the ultimate redneck getaway, and when I was fourteen my family went there to vacation. As we passed billboards for South of the Border (a decidedly racist ‘resort’) and Jesus Christ, (yes, there are entire billboards devoted to Bible quotes) I grew increasingly excited about spending some time in this white trash Mecca.
Like many southerners who move to other parts of the country, I have a love/ hate relationship with the south.
I both loathe and celebrate my roots—relishing the iced tea, array of accents and slow sweltering summers,
while hating the rampant closed mindedness and militant Christianity.
Of course, every part of “the south” is vastly different and as far as I was concerned Myrtle Beach was like visiting the circus.
It turned out to be everything I wanted and more; huge Ferris wheels, bumper cars, tourists with no teeth, vats of cotton candy consumed by people of unparalleled obesity, tattoo parlors on every corner and a fabulous selection of mullets, skullets and chullets drinking Ice House beer while bobbing in Jacuzzis with women clad in Budweiser bikinis.
Yet, of all this sensory magic, the following takes the cake.
I was picking up sea shells during a late afternoon walk with my mom when I spotted a woman. She was bending over, about 30 feet ahead of us, making a very specific shell selection. Possibly in her mid-thirties, she had a leathery tan and bleached blonde hair preceded by several inches of black roots (later rocked by SJP in Sex and the City). It was her clothing that nearly stopped me dead in my tracks.
She wore a large piece of blinding neon pink, yellow and green tie died fabric stretched across her entire body. The fabric was sorta loose with openings for the legs and arms and head. A scrunchy coil of elastic connected the fabric across her back. I was trying to figure out what exactly this contraption was when she suddenly stood up revealing a phrase emblazoned in HUGE capitol neon orange letters across her entire front:
“I WANNA SEX YOU UP”
She stood there, eying her shells, in all her tie-dyed glory.
I was looking at a onesie on an adult.
Also, she was pregnant.
I wanted to stop and ask this woman about her wardrobe selection. I wanted to understand, really get, at what point in her preparation for the day she looked in the mirror and thought, “I’m ready.” Most of all, I wished I had a camera.
I kept walking, wondering, never knowing, and a few seconds later the woman gathered her shells and headed on down the beach.
Nowadays the adult female onesie is all the rage. My friend Stephanie just got me one for my birthday (solid black, no words) and I see ladies rocking them all the time.
In the same way she set the precedent for the SJP roots exposure, I secretly credit “I Wanna Sex You Up” pregnant woman for bestowing the crude template for the modern onesie on the world of mainstream fashion.
The south is a lot more progressive than you think.