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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)

TITLE: The Perfect Pants
By Cheri Hardaway


The desire to belong makes people do crazy things, especially 13-year-old girl people. I now look back on Slave Day and chuckle, but back then…

I can’t miss the bus, but there is no way I will wear these pants today. I have to look all cute, like the cheerleaders, or else I won’t get picked.

“Mom!” I bellowed. “Please don’t tell me you didn’t wash my brown pants.”

She doesn’t have a clue how important today is! I rolled my eyes and sighed, exasperated.

Mom leaned in my bedroom door and tossed me the brown pants.

Thank God! I forgot to thank Mom.

Minutes later I stood before my full-length mirror, admiring the tight fit of my brown pants. They were the perfect pants for the perfect day. I had been on the outside looking in since I came to this school, but today was going to change all that.

Five hours later, having suffered through classes until noon, I huddled in one of many small groups in the schoolyard. My friends and I had talked of nothing but this day for the past month, and it was finally here!

Our football team wanted new uniforms, and the funds weren’t in the budget. There are two important things about Texans: 1) We worship football; and 2) If it’s for football, we’ll make it happen. To that end, someone – probably one of those perky cheerleaders – had come up with the idea of having a Slave Day to raise money.

The girls who wanted to would be auctioned to the boys for the afternoon. Any girls with the bad fortune of not being picked – along with all other students of either gender who had sense enough not to want to be slave or master – would take turns working the concession stands. The whole thing was in fun, and the monies collected would go to the football team.

All in fun, if you weren’t a 13-year-old girl consumed with being accepted. To me, today was deadly serious. Today was my day. After the jocks bought the cheerleaders and all the couples partnered up, us singles would have our turn to be somebody.

I held my breath and shut my eyes when my name was finally announced. What if no one bids? I will be so humiliated!

“Five dollars!”

I recognized Herman’s voice and groaned. He’d had a crush on me for a couple months now, and I’d not been very nice to him. He was just a math geek.


Who was that? I peeked from one eye. I couldn’t see anyone.

“Fifteen.” Herman wasn’t to be outdone.


“Twenty-five!” Herman won the bid.

Math geeks must be able to earn lots of money, because Herman had bid on and won three of us girls that day. I wasn’t pleased about having Herman as my master, but I comforted myself by remembering that another guy, though unidentified, had also bid on me. Maybe I wasn’t a loser after all.

After an hour, I was re-evaluating my desire to fit in. I’d finished cleaning out Herman’s locker. I’d paid his overdue fines at the library. Now I found myself, side by side with my master’s other two slaves, crawling across the football field. We were entertainment for other students smart enough not to have been bought or sold. They’d chosen instead to give their money to the team by buying hotdogs, nachos, or cotton candy.

Moments later, popularity became grossly overrated and fitting in took on a whole new meaning. Herman ordered us to pick up the pace, and I was wondering if I’d be able to get the grass stains off the knees of my favorite pants when I heard it: R – I – P! From the bleachers, laughter gave way to catcalls, just as cool air hit my cheeks – and I don’t mean the cheeks on my face.

And I’d thought being purchased by a math geek was embarrassing…

My only conscious thought as I fled from the field was: What pair of underwear am I wearing today?

This memory brings a fond smile today because I finally belong – to God. He is my Master. I no longer base my worth on what others’ opinions of me might be. I know only too well how the enemy uses fear of man to lead people down the wrong path in life.

Herman paid $25 to “own” me for a day, but God gave His life to free me for eternity.

Author’s Note: Loosely based on a true experience I had in middle school (1973). Today I serve only one Master – the Lord Jesus Christ.

© 2007

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This article has been read 1026 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/26/07
This is a delightful story. Do I ever remember being 13, when nothing seems as important as being accepted. Your message is just right, too. I'm so glad Jesus paid the price for us to be accepted.
Dee Yoder 07/26/07
(Wince.) Your story brings back painful moments of trying to fit in for me, too! I clearly remember adults telling me to not worry about fitting in so much; it wasn't that important, and when I grew up, I'd know it wasn't. But I had a hard time believing that they could possibly "understand". So much worry for nothing! Good writing.
Sheri Gordon07/26/07
Oooh -- I like this. What a brave woman you are for sharing one of your horribly embarrassing teenage moments.

This story made me realize that I too often still look to others for my self-worth, rather than relying only on my true identity in Christ.

This was a very fun read. (Did you ever find out who the "other guy" was?)
Lynda Schultz 07/26/07
Neat story. I was reminded of an aunt of mine who always made a huge point of reminding all of us NEVER to leave the house without decent underwear on — you just never know what could happen! Good work.
Donna Powers 07/26/07
This story truly captures the intense longing of a teenage girl to be "someone." How well I can relate. This is well written and very enjoyable. Kudos to you!
Joyce Poet07/27/07
My friend, you have no idea the lengths I have gone to just to "fit in." I had a hard enough time trying to fit in at home, so yeah... great lengths. And I succeeded in receiving many trophies, many ribbons, many honorary mentions, etc. But to what end?... I STILL did not fit in. And then there was Christ... patiently waiting for me to find my place in HIM all the while. Hey, I remember those pants... the kind you had to melt yourself to pour yourself in to them... lay down to zip them up and sometimes do so with a pair of pliers. LOL Goodness... the 70's/80's, skin tight jeans, wings (feathered bangs), leggin's... really don't seem so long ago. I'm reminded of my own embarassing, even horrifying moment in school. But the good times outweighed the bad. Tons of wonderful memories. Still, I would NOT want to go back there! GREAT WORK!
Sara Harricharan 07/27/07
Hat's off to you for something so true and well written. I could certainly relate to wanting to fit in here. I wish I knew who else had 'offered the bid' but the teen drama was right on here. Great job! ^_
Melanie Kerr 07/28/07
Excellent story. You built it up to a climax that I hadn’t anticipated. The things we do to fit in – it doesn’t stop at the age of thirteen.
Joanne Sher 07/28/07
Perfect title for this piece - and it reminds me SO much of my junior high years (and, ashamedly, sometimes even now) when I struggle so to be accepted. Excellent.
Dianne Janak07/29/07
Loved this story.. Im a Texan also and concur... it is football country. I loved the way you forgot to thank your mom and the mystery of the other boy.. and then the lesson of something happening more embarrasing than the guy you were with... brings back those memories..> I wonder if the ones who seemed to FIT IN... actually felt like they did?? Always wondered that... Dianne
Myrna Noyes07/29/07
As someone else who struggled to fit in as a young teen, I can certainly empathize with your MC! You captured the emotions well in your oh-so-true-to-life story! Good job! :)
Loren T. Lowery07/30/07
I can see some my daughther's antics in this story as she struggled to "fit" in as a teen. Great story.
Jan Ackerson 08/01/07
Perfect rendition of teenage anguish!

I can't imagine any school nowadays doing the slave/master thing--it strikes me as in really poor taste!

Wonderful writing here, very engaging and fun to read.
Betty Castleberry08/01/07
I chuckled when I read what the two things that are important to Texans are. Being a Texan, I know there's a lot of truth in that. This was well written, and I really like the conclusion. Well done.
Julie Arduini08/01/07
I think you did an excellent job capturing the real worries a 13 year old carries, you nailed it. It was a great lesson, and a well told story.
Brenda Welc08/01/07
I really really really like the last line. Awesome writing !
Lynda Lee Schab 08/03/07
Ha! I love it! Oh, the humiliation. Yep, definitely remember those days of desperately wanting to fit in. Oh wait. I still struggle with that. Sigh. I'm working on it.
Great story telling - your POV was excellent. Nice job!