Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tripping oneself up--SAFETY WARNING!

A likely scenario:
  1. The young lady on the left gets her ice skate caught on her skirt.
  2. She reaches out with her "good" arm--the one she usually uses--to break her fall . . .
  3. . . . and breaks her wrist, instead.
Been there, done that: I broke my left wrist--twice--trying to break a fall. And yes, I'm left-handed.

In all seriousness, any skirt long enough to touch the top of your shoe is almost guaranteed to trip you when you're skating, dancing, or even just running. And the skirts on the rest of the young ladies in this photo create almost as much of a safety hazard, in my opinion.

This is my favorite folk-dancing skirt. It may not be obvious from this photo--it was difficult for my husband to get a shot from a good enough angle--but the hem comes to just above my socks. The hubster was kind enough to measure this skirt from the floor up, and found that the hem is approximately 10 inches above the floor. My personal experience has been that I can't dance without tripping in anything longer than this. (I changed from my wedding gown into a shorter white outfit to folk dance at our wedding reception.) Translated into skating terms, I think that means that a skirt has to be short enough to clear the top of the boots to be safe. Tell me, is a skirt that's a mere 10 inches above the floor any less tzanua (modest) than the skirts in that first photo?

So I ask my sister Jews to do themselves a big favor: If you're going skating or dancing, or going to play tennis, please, please leave that "sidewalk sweeper" skirt in the closet and keep your bones in one piece!

I wish my readers a Happy--and healthy--Chanukah.


Blogger RaggedyMom said...

This sounds so obvious, but as evidenced by the picture of the girls, is a necessary PSA.

We live upstairs, and if my skirt is too long (while carrying a baby, holding a toddler's hand, and shepherding a preschooler up those stairs, not to mention . . groceries!), I find that it becomes a tripping hazard.

I know of one girls' school that prohibits floor-sweeping skirts. I'm not sure if it's a safety thing or an attempt not to be too trendy.

When I was in high school, skirts that fell anywhere between ankle-length and knee-length dubbed one hopelessly uncool. But nowadays, midcalf-length skirts are very common and have become popular, and even "cool". As my grandmother says, "Go know."

Finally, you reminded me of something. When I was 8, I fell off of the monkey bars at school, and while falling, remembered the story that my father had broken his back as a baby after falling off a bed.

To protect my back, my 8-year-old mind decided midair to break the fall by sticking my arm behind my back. My left arm. And I'm a lefty too. A trip to Parkway hospital and a few weeks in a cast, unable to write, were the end result of that adventure.

I'll echo your wishes that we all stay happy, safe, and well!

Sun Dec 02, 11:56:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"This sounds so obvious . . ." Yes, I admit to being surprised that the safety factor doesn't seem to register with everyone.

I'm so glad that the standards of fashion have become so much more flexible in recent years. When I was your age, in the 70s--yeah, I know I'm relatively ancient, as bloggers go :)--mini-skirts were the only acceptable length. It was so completely socially unnacceptable for a person under retirement age to wear a longer skirt that even at some Orthodox synagogues in Manhattan, where I then lived, women were wearing skirts that barely brushed the top of the knees. These days, one can wear a skirt of any length whatsoever, and no one will even blink an eye.

As for your monkey bars story, ouch. The first time I broke my wrist, I was in gym class. Thank goodness that carbon paper still existed at that time--my classmates were drafted to share their notes. (I suppose one could do this via laptop and e-mail, these days.) That's also when I learned to write and iron--does anyone iron anymore?--with my right hand.

And speaking of safety warnings, ya know those "Wet Floor" signs? If I hadn't ignored one, I wouldn't have slipped down a flight of freshly-waxed stairs. It's even *more* "fun" to break your wrist when you're a job-hunting adult and can't type two-handed for several months.

Mon Dec 03, 01:29:00 PM 2007  
Blogger rivkayael said...

I once had an interesting conversation with an EMT instructor's woes about Orthodox women EMTs wearing skirts on an ambulance (she was shocked that I identified as Orthodox but was wearing EMT pants or scrubs to class). Apparently, it is ok for some chumrot to override one's safety and the safety of one's patients...!

That picture should be labelled "don't do this at home". And the instructor ended up throwing those people off the ambulance.

You may be interested in this and particularly this and this by Rabbi Alan Yuter (who is the rabbi of an Orthodox congregation I believe) with regards to laws regarding dress. He definitely would not hold with floor sweepers in the ER or ambulance...

Tue Dec 25, 02:08:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Apparently, it is ok for some chumrot to override one's safety and the safety of one's patients...!"

My complaint, exactly. What justification is there for any person to observe a chumra (strict interpretation of Jewish law) when doing so will put that person or others in physical danger?

Tue Dec 25, 06:11:00 PM 2007  

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