In her poem Peanut Butter, Eileen Myles calls summer, “a time to do nothing and make no money,” and so my experience of the season goes: summer preoccupies the self with anti-capitalist pursuits—“swimming, the sensation of being dirty in body and mind”—but the fall economy knows how to make up for that. With the first nip of fall air comes the return of my desire to work hard and buy things. It’s that back-to-school feeling, a September sense of renewal I still haven’t shook, years out of university.
The first looks I long for are always the same: white oxford shirts and knee socks, grey flannel and tartan, uniform dressing. I’ve never worn an official, institution-sanctioned uniform but I’ve faked it for years, since the first day of school in 1996, the summer post Clueless, when I wore a black and white plaid mini kilt with a faux fur collar cardigan and platform mary janes. This year, I’m craving Jacquemus Fall 2013: box pleated skirts with tall athletic socks and slides, like a schoolgirl after swim practice. I’m also thinking about Birkenstock Boston clogs, which I strutted through the halls of Hopewell Junior High in circa 1999.
Nostalgia and the need for the new are two complimentary forces the fashion system churns on, its wheel and axle. We are constantly, subtly readapting the past, while claiming innovation in the now. Nostalgia comforts, novelty keeps us wanting.
Although I only ever dress the part in early fall, I watch schoolgirl porn year round. Not exclusively but reliably. What I look for in porn first is novelty, as much in action as in personality. I’ll develop a taste for something—orgies, anal, spanking, Sasha Grey, James Deen, Faye Reagan—and watch that obsessively until I’m bored and need a next. Later, I’ll return to these tendencies with a nostalgia like returning to cork soled clogs (my sexual interest cycles are much shorter than my style cycles; months versus years). The schoolgirl, though, is a mainstay, kind of like a good blazer. While Sasha Grey will forever be, for me, so 2008, and Deen my 2013, the schoolgirl can never be fixed in my real time, because she is fixed in an imaginary life span; she is eternally recurring youth.
The appeal of the schoolgirl is her youth, which is reflective of our culture’s obsession with youth, which I don’t think is healthy or particularly interesting, and should be challenged, but the schoolgirl’s juvenescent juiciness is special because it’s not just about her youth as an object, it’s about our youth as subjects. It’s about trying to reclaim sexuality at first bloom, when we wanted so bad but weren’t practiced in the taking. Or at least it is for me. My most recurring dream (like, bi-monthly) involves me fucking my first boyfriend, the one I never fucked because I was too insecure to. In my dreams, I am me now—confident, communicative, aware of the workings of my vagina—but our desire for one another is as overwhelming as it was at fourteen. That’s how I feel about the schoolgirl: she is what I wanted to have and to be but didn’t because I was a queer-confused nerd.
Unconsummated lust is hot.
Schoolgirl fetishism flirts with the barely legal, but it’s really an all-ages sport. The girl in the uniform needn’t be underage herself, because the uniform itself is young—it’s transformative power is like a time machine, like botox and a boob job.
In David Cronenberg’s History of Violence, M.I.L.F. Maria Bello seduces her small town diner owning husband (Viggo Mortensen) in her high school cheerleader gear. “No wives in here, mister,” she tells him, climbing on top of his rugged man chest. He flips her over and takes off her innocent white panties, whipping them around like a pom pom (ra ra). As he starts going down on her she moans, “there wasn’t much of that in high school.”
Though playing the cheerleader is different than playing schoolgirl (getting the cheerleader is about seizing the spectacle of youth, the popular girl, the exhibitionist, whereas slipping it to the schoolgirl is more of a power-knowledge-pleasure affair), both are about recapturing a spring past. Both, also, involve similarly silhouetted getups; easy access minis. What Bello’s receiving bow cat shows—and this aligns with my own experience—is that sex gets better with age and practice (meow). Dressed in her old habit, the mom of a teenager can become a teen again, and she’ll likely cum harder than her teen self ever did, because she’s learned what’s up. The age of innocence is made better by an age of consent.
Because the schoolgirl is bound up in youth nostalgia, my vision of the schoolgirl is defined by precedents from my pubescence: mostly mid-to-late nineties TV and movies, like Clueless, The Craft, Cruel Intentions, Lost & Delirious, The Virgin Suicides, and (Hit Me) Baby One More Time. There’s a massive Japanese fetish culture around their nautical school attire, which I’m only vaguely familiar with through Sailor Moon. Tumblr tag search “schoolgirl” and much of what you’ll find is hentai. That’s just an aside to say that this treatise is culturally and generationally biased by my positionality (I am, however, open to all positions).
Garments are imbued with desire through expectation, the awareness when wearing of what others are seeing, a well-defined catalog of associations. When I’m dressed in a schoolgirl inspired look, I’m wet from an appreciation of how I can be undressed: how the buttons on my shirt can be undone, how my skirt can be lifted up, my ass spanked. Because I’m getting older—wiser, more mature, fuller figured—the uniform dressing I’ll be putting on this fall is less pornochic and more freak, as in Lindsay Weir and, “We are the weirdos, mister.” Longer skirts, kilted pants, lug sole flats, marbly socks, and Dirty Girl hair. The desire is still there but it’s sapiosexual and that’s the other big turn on of the schoolgirl—beneath a serious, studious surface lies a bounty of submissive, sensuous smut, sorta like this essay.