I have been to work in skirt for two days now. I had some perfectly good reasons to:
- My usual jeans are hopelessly threadbare, even having holes in indecent places.
- Other trousers I have are hopelessly out of fashion and don’t even fit any more (they have stretched bigger – I haven’t lost weight).
- There have been some more springlike weather than the usual something-in-between.
- I’ve felt like I need some imago change for a while. So it was good to try out one possibility.
This experiment has yielded some unpleasant results, though. Or depends how to look at things…
The results are as follows:
A workmate (a he) I get along with quite well told me that his mouth was almost left agape at me. Now, I am not in a line of business, where complements are handed out generously. I am not even in a land where inhabitants would be generous with them. Vice versa, they rather keep themselves reserved, critical, detached and honest to the point of rudeness, especially in IT. So it was a blow to me. Not that I wouldn’t like to look jaw-dropping sometimes, I rather do, who wouldn’t, but there is always something more behind a complement like this. At the moment I heard it, I once again became afraid of losing a friend and gaining yet another “someone to avoid”. (If you do read it, think about it, please.) Fortunately in this case I know it is alright, but this was my first fear nevertheless. And the reason might not have been the skirt at all – I didn’t press to find out.
But it got worse. I went to a client of mine to get the first details of a new project. There was only one man I had to meet, but there were several at the secretary, probably waiting for their turn in a meeting nextdoors. While I took off my coat the other guys started picking on the man I had come to meet. “I didn’t know you had private meetings with such beautiful girls here” and the like (I tried hard not to remember them, but there was more, some of which I do remember but will not repeat here). I ignored them, I always do, this is my defense reflex, but I felt really awful. I could feel my host getting uncomfortable as well (or was it only my projection on how I would feel in the situation?). (Fortunately the meeting went well, that man already knows me.)
And it’s not really that short a skirt, I tell you…
The reason for my feeling bad – aside from the rudeness of that other encounter – is this: I am not there to show off my appearances but actually I am on a very practical, serious and intellectual task there. I have to be sharp and logical and ready to perform my work well and their complementing me stirs up my emotions to cloud all that. Furthermore, I feel that being as feminine and nice-looking as to stir their oafish comments compromises my feeling of being taken seriously at work. I need to be taken seriously. Those who know me, do take me seriously – and I am more happy to know they want to work with me than, about any complements about my looks, ever – but I feel like I have to prove myself to everybody at the first time. Prove that despite my looks I can think, too.
And my looks aren’t that good, also. Don’t you dare to contradict me here!
Maybe if I had gone into modelling (I couldn’t very seriously because I am 6 cm short of industry minimum, btw) I would enjoy getting complements on my looks.
Or if I was as cynical as one R., who has (in my mind) insulted some other women by saying they should use their strong side to get that smth (meaning: show off their nice looks and surely they’ll get it) – even bragging about it himself.
But my chosen line of work is quite indifferent as to the appearances of people, I even think that too often good looks are a hindrance there.
And, you probably guessed it – there was an even worse incident. This time, fortunately, not at work. But if you wear a skirt, you wear it everywhere. In the bus. In the shops. On the street. And there are not only your IT-professionals from work – people with a certain shyness and probably some more school behind them -, there are people of all social and economic classes. It was on street that I got that painful reminder. I was peacefully walking down a street with my friend, past some really drunk middle-aged man (drunkenness should not be an excuse but an embarrasment in itself) and off those comments came. He was that drunk that it was hard to understand all his words and in my rush to get away-away-faster-away I didn’t try, too, but he apparently took me for a prostitute and it was a really stomach-churning experience. This incident alone could make me avoid skirts from now on. Only once before have I been thought of being so low, and then it was a pedophile (I was only 12), who wasn’t even drunk (but wouldn’t stop following me as easily as that one today, too).
I know all of the blame is really on that man, but I can’t help but wonder whether I could have avoided it somehow. And the first thing to come to mind is that skirt. The best way to avoid those is to dress as though you were going to work the fields. He wouldn’t have probably muttered more than “nice a**”, if I had been in jeans. Another way is to keep off the streets. Not really an option. Ignore them? I do. But emotionally, completely you can’t. You can only avoid it getting even worse than that.
Now you think that’s all, no skirt for liriel any more, but actually – all these situations are something a girl like me has to get used to, that I have gotten used to (to the point of forgetting why I don’t wear skirts more often), even though they are not pleasant. If I hadn’t thought about blogging the situations above I might have forgotten about them in a few days. Only reliving them now made me realize how clearly they are not what I would want into my life.
I think I’ll wear a skirt sometimes in the future, too, but I might change it for a longer one. It might be more “me” as well. I don’t really care about my looks and it should show. I don’t really care about looking like a cute smart kid from school, I’d rather be a bit of a weirdo. But it is not today that I can change something. Tomorrow will see me in that skirt again, I don’t think I can find a new and more “me” version before next week – and next week is an optimistic opinion.
* Soundtrack – Lush “I’ve Been Here Before”