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Short shorts: sassy or trashy?

Who wears short shorts?

Um, that would be my 13-year-old daughter.

In the increasingly complicated world of teen-mother relationships, this is one of those battles I've slowly backed away from because I just don't have my heart in it.

Maybe it's because I grew up in a time when a mini-skirt was a statement of female liberation, not promiscuity. Maybe it's because I'm secretly relieved that hem lengths are the biggest problem I have when we could be facing much bigger issues like bullying and depression.

My daughter makes good grades. She has perfect attendance at school. She's a Girl Scout.

She's also a young teenager in that awkward child-woman stage who spends a lot of time watching herself in the mirror and a lot of time watching other girls around her. She wants to belong. And right now all the girls her age are walking out of dELiA*s with short shorts and micro-mini skirts.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a total fashion pushover.

She knows she can't wear them to school, where the dress code requires shorts right above the knee. She knows they're not acceptable for church, my workplace or visiting grandma. She knows I refuse to buy the $40 ones, which work out to about $10.50 per inch of fabric.

And she knows heels and shorts are definitely on the no-can-do list, along with thongs and see-through tops with bared tummies underneath.

Still, she knows I'll waffle if she finds a pair of short shorts on sale that pass the dressing room test and sufficiently cover her buns.

I can't decide if this means I'm a weak or a wise parent.

It's going to be a long summer.

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