Milestones: Dressed for success — a Henderson fashion guide

The following represents a fashion guide for our newest residents (rookie cops, first-year teachers and city department managers, especially) to help you fit in and feel more at home during your brief stay. It also may be used by longtime or lifelong Hendersonians who feel as if they may have lost touch with local fashion trends because of lack of attention or time spent at their second jobs to pay current sewage rates. It is provided to you by your friendly neighborhood columnist as a public service.

A-shirt (alternately wife-beater): A sleeveless undershirt of thin, ribbed cotton worn by either gender as the sole upper garment. It may be worn with or without brassiere. (Don’t look or you will see nipples.)

Belly roll: The roll of fat accentuated by the bottom of the bare-midriff blouse and the waistband of Speedos or other tight garment. These “love-humps” are frequently highlighted by belly-button rings (see piercing[s]).

Belt: 1. (noun form obsolete) An ancient device constructed of leather or synthetic with a metal buckle for holding pants firmly around the waist, especially for boys and men. 2. (verb) A common form of discipline in Henderson, especially for children and spouses (see bruise[s]).

Brassiere: An undergarment used to restrain the mammary glands (for females). Its use in Henderson is in inverse proportion to how much it is needed. It appears to have been banned in public places, especially grocery stores.

Bruise[s]: A stylish accessory to marriage or childhood in Henderson. Bruises provide a wonderful conversation piece for teachers, co-workers and neighbors alike.

Cellular telephone: A necessary accessory for driving in Henderson. If your cellphone is properly held, you can challenge other drivers by obscuring your view of them, or you can ignore them entirely in favor of your very important conversation. These may also be used to help bank tellers, cashiers and other service providers by lengthening the interval between customers as you extend your transaction time by having two conversations at once.

Cosmetics: Facial paints used to enhance, obscure or obliterate certain features. (For application tools, join the Garden Club. For application techniques, see a drag review.)

Dentures: Prosthetic teeth used to replace real teeth lost through neglect or abuse (see verb form of belt). In Henderson, this prosthetic is considered unnecessary.

Jewelry: A form of currency (see some in a pawnshop).

Jewelry, costume: In Henderson, jewelry should be the size of a dinner plate, made of a base metal yet appear to be silver, and gaudily detailed, perhaps with one’s name. It should be worn outside the clothing and send the message “This would be worse if I were rich.”

Modesty: A non-Henderson style of dress where physical flaws are de-emphasized. This makes people who “ain’t from around here” easier to spot (hint, hint).

Nipples: I told you not to look!

Pants, low-rise: A style of pants favored by young female Hendersonians so that they may experience the miracle of “plumber’s ass” along with potbellied, middle-aged men.

Pants, slacking: A style of dress favored by young males wherein oversized pants are worn falling to the hips to accentuate the buttocks. This style was first observed in prison, where it is presumed by sociologists to mean “I attended Vance County Schools.”

Piercing[s]: Traditionally, these are single holes in each earlobe of an adult female for the purpose of wearing earrings. In Henderson, multiple piercings of both genders of any age include body parts such as belly buttons, upper shell of ear, nose, eyebrow, upper lip, lower lip, tongue, as well as other areas too delicate to mention, much less stick with a needle. You know that you are sufficiently pierced with base metal costume jewelry when you begin attracting refrigerator magnets.

Rainbows: An unbelievably expensive form of sandal worn by the young of either gender. Rainbows have proved effective in helping students dismiss early from Northern Vance High School.

Shirtless (you will see pot belly, hair shirt and/or mannery glands): A form of undress favored by Henderson males over 40 while engaged in physical labor (e.g. modest movements that precede beer consumption). It is also popular while driving pickup trucks and in drive-through lines.

Shoes, bedroom (also slippers): Although intended as indoor footwear, Henderson women make the slipper stylish at any social occasion in any season.

Shoes, boys: At $120 or more a pair, shoes can make a stylish substitute for food.

Speedos: A brand of Spandex clothing primary intended for athletics like swimming or bicycling. In Henderson, Speedos constitute everyday wear, suitable for court, a parent-teacher conference, job interviews or a night on the town. The continued use of Speedos has kept Henderson/Vance County on Amnesty International’s list of human rights abusers for the past 19 years.

Spinnin’ 24s: A form of automotive enhancement where factory hubcaps are replaced by independently rotating outer wheel coverings. The older the car, the more necessary this is considered to be.

Suit: If you see someone wearing a suit, it is either Sunday, you are in court, or you have seen a member of the Henderson-Vance Economic Partnership in his/her native habitat.

Suit, bad (also plaid, furry, flashy, crime against humanity): If you see someone wearing a bad suit, you are either at a Henderson City Council meeting, or you are driving through Flint Hill at 2 a.m.

T-shirt: An undershirt with sleeves used, like the A-shirt, as a more formal primary garment. One must be careful when choosing one’s T-shirt du jour, as the length and color determine gang affiliation. The wrong choice could adversely affect your social season.

Tattoo: A form of ritual scarification whose purpose is to draw attention to one’s least flattering feature (do not see upper buttocks/lower dorsal/upper chest regions, even when the tattooed bend over suddenly right in front of you in line at Wal-Mart).

Thong: The second-most-effective way to exhibit cellulite (see Speedos). Thongs are also effective for camouflaging “plumber’s ass” (see pants, low-rise).

Thump buggy: A thump buggy is a fashionable automobile in which the rear seats have been replaced with large speakers in order to rattle the fillings of everyone within a 50-yard radius. The car should be small to increase the “rattle factor.” If your music is properly selected, parents will have ample opportunities for conversation with their young children as they attempt to explain the lyrics.

Got some that I missed? Post them below, or e-mail me at