I looked good on Saturday.
And I think it’s okay to say we look good when we do. For some reason it’s more… ah, acceptable to point out our flaws and shortcomings (especially for a girl like us) but I think if we feel good, if we think we look good, then we should say so.
And I looked good on Saturday.
I had one of my favorite dresses on, paired with one of the cutest pairs of heels I have, and my makeup was fire. I knew I looked good when my wife said so, and that really made my day. I was on cloud nine.
I was meeting up with the MN T-Girls for dinner that evening and I set aside the day for a makeover, shopping, and some quiet time at a coffee shop to read my new book. It was partial retail therapy, partial self-care. It was needed. I had planned a day where I would be very visible to the rest of the world and I knew I’d be interacting with a lot of people from baristas to cashiers to people just going about their day. As a t-girl I am aware of the possibility that someone will stare (POSSIBLY because I am sitting at a Starbucks in a killer dress and stilettos), that someone will laugh and point, or will harass me. It, unfortunately, comes with the territory…. and it’s not okay.
One thing I don’t really anticipate is getting hit on. I do get hit on online through Flickr comments, tweets, and emails (this is not bragging, I wish it would stop), but getting hit on in the real world is, well, it’s uncomfortable and not something I ever feel ready for.
And it’s NOT affirming. Not to me. I don’t feel validated, I don’t feel cuter, I don’t feel more feminine, nothing like that.
But some men of the world don’t care what we feel or think when they hit on us. They might think we will be flattered or charmed or whatever, but I think most girls just want to be left alone.
And yes, I know, NOT ALL MEN.
I had arrived at the restaurant about 30 minutes before the reservation time and I checked in with the hostess. As she stepped away to make sure our table was ready, a man from the bar made his way over to me. He put his hand on my shoulder (please don’t ever do this) to get my attention. Instinctively I turned around and before I could react he said I looked beautiful. Stunned by his boldness (again, don’t touch girls), I turned away after quickly saying thank you, hoping he’d get the message that I didn’t want to speak with him. He pushed the “conversation” and commented on my heels and other small talk. I was getting annoyed, like really annoyed. My lack of interest in continuing the conversation was pretty apparent and he was either not taking the hint or choosing to ignore my body language.
Thankfully the hostess returned and I approached her, but not before the man sidestepped his way in front of me (again, don’t do this) and asked if he could do anything for me. I told him that I was just here for my reservations and the hostess spirited me to my table.
Once there was a little distance between the hostess and I and the man, she asked if he was bothering me. I said he was and then added “but it’s okay”. And then I corrected myself and added “no, it’s not okay”. I meant it was okay in the sense that it was over, but what he did, touching me, stepping in front of me, ignoring my body language, was not. We got to chatting about men like him, and she shared with me the things that have been said to her and like me, she added “but it’s okay”. I had the feeling that she was used to men behaving in this way and she was, sadly, used to it. As if it came with the territory. After a moment she also said “well, it’s not okay” and we just stood there for a moment in our thoughts thinking about our experiences.
We flashed each other a brave little smile and she told me to enjoy my dinner. I thanked her for rescuing me and we both went about our evening.
I’d like to add that her, and the entire staff, could not have been more welcoming and pleasant to our group.
The world can be your mirror and sometimes we see other people doing things that we might have done in the past, or might do everyday. Sometimes this reflection, their behavior causes us to pause and re-examine what we do, or did. As someone who is bi-gender I experience the world in two very different, distinct ways. That evening I saw what some men do, and how uncomfortable it made me, and how uncomfortable it made the hostess. It was a reminder that I must always be a gentleman when I am a boy. I like to think that I am. I don’t do the things that he did, nor do I recall ever doing so in my life.
It’s easy to ignore an email email or scroll past a Twitter comment that is too flirty or sexual for my liking. But having it happen in real life is harder to deal with. I don’t want that kind of attention.
Stay safe, girls.