Shorts under Skirts by
(21 Stories)

Prompted By Good Riddance

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If you’re not a woman, and/or weren’t a girl in the 1960s & 1970s, you won’t remember the yoga-like-torture-move-postures some of us went through on the school bus. Shorts on under your skirt in the bus on the way to school (because you weren’t allowed to wear them, so Mom wouldn’t let me?), shorts off under your skirt in the bus on the way home (because I wore them at school so I could hang out on the jungle gym and not be flashing everyone, but they weren’t allowed, so Mom wouldn’t let me?). (I love school buses, by the way, so can the next prompt be something we loved that has gone by the wayside that we wish would come back? School bus, top of my list).

I almost broke my neck sometimes, standing on one leg, making sure none of the boys could see, sheesh.

Don’t get me wrong. I love skirts and dresses. Still wear them all the time. But when we were little girls and had to wear them to school (no pants allowed until I was in 5th or 6th grade) the shorts-on-the-bus maneuver was a must. I almost broke my neck a few times, standing on one leg, making sure none of the boys could see, sheesh.

And I do not mean cute stretchy shorts, like the ones in the photo below.


I’d wear those every day even now. I mean these. With zippers and waistbands and darts and pinchy crotches.


Profile photo of Jennifer Swanton Brown Jennifer Swanton Brown
Poet. Nurse. Teacher. Mom. Daughter. Sister. Knitter. Swimmer. Contemplative in training. Follow "A Twirly Life" (

Tags: shorts, skirts, school buses


  1. John Zussman says:

    This was a problem I never had, so for the benefit of other recipients of a Y chromosome, I hope you will explain further. Why did you wear the shorts one way and not wear them the other way? Or were you actually putting them on and taking them off on the bus? If so, why?

  2. Suzy says:

    I have to admit that I was as confused as John was. I think I’m older than you, Jennifer, so maybe the shorts thing came later, but I couldn’t figure out why you were putting them on on the bus in the morning, and taking them off on the bus in the afternoon. Sounds very complicated!

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    Ditto to the other comments. Grew up in the 60s – no pants allowed at all at school. We had an experiment one week my senior year to see if our heads would explode if we wore pants (of COURSE, no blue jeans!). The world didn’t come to an end, so I think the next year, bell bottoms were allowed, but I was on to college. I went to high school during the era where skirts weren’t allowed to be more than 3″ above the knee; had a friend who was sent home once for that infraction.

  4. Patricia says:

    I also wore shorts under my pleated uniform jumper every day, but I never took them on and off. Our school didn’t have a locker room to change in (and no actual PE class), so if you wanted to bust loose at recess you had to be prepared!

  5. Well, considering that this was supposed to be a quick write, I’ve spent more time reading comments from people who couldn’t figure out my not at all clear way too cryptic short writing. So much for short. (Or shorts.) All I am going to say is I took shorts off and put them on a lot of the time on school buses (I wasn’t allowed to do something that I was trying to get away with and if I don’t remember why, that’s probably just as well) and I don’t miss that maneuver, but I do miss the school bus. Here’s where I would put a cross-eyed emoticon if this were FB and not this classy website.

  6. On the other hand (so ta speak) I do remember the contortions that pubescent males went through to catch a glimpse without getting busted. Given all that, I understand your POV, Jennifer. Back then, it seemed that girls’ lives were more complicated.

  7. Risa Nye says:

    When I was in elementary school there were things called “pettipants” I think. They were made out of a nylon-like slip material and were designed for just that purpose–keeping boys from looking up or under your skirt or dress (no pants allowed). I had a couple pairs: white with lace at the hems. Imagine a pretty version of Spanx without the squishing.

  8. Patricia says:

    OMG Risa, I remember the portmanteau pettipants! I never thought of them as an anti-peek garment, but as a substitute for two garments: panties and a slip (petticoat), remember those? They were such an improvement in the evolution in undergarments–so much more comfortable especially for us active girls.

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