Yesterday I wore a dress. It was a very nice dress.
I have not worn this dress for quite some time because, well...it's a very hot dress, and when I go out into the world in it I can't quite handle what happens.
A few notes about the dress for context: It's plain navy blue. It doesn't show a lot of skin. It's not low cut. I wore it with sneakers and no jewelry. It's extremely comfortable, like I could run a 5K in it if I were the type to enjoy running (I am not). But it huuuuuuuugs. It hugs just right, in all the right places. And it lifts and maximizes and minimizes...basically it's a magic dress is what I'm saying. A magical warm hug of a dress.
So yesterday I was in the kind of mood where you decide you don't care what anyone thinks of you, which felt like an appropriate moment to put on this dress.
The interesting thing about dressing is that we do it in private, before we go out into the world. It's mostly our own thoughts and feelings that we really consider.
But once we go out, suddenly our thoughts and feelings are not the only ones present. The way a man glares at me can take me from feeling like a million bucks to wanting to throw on a potato sack and call it a day. Is the problem the man glaring? Is it the way I feel when the man glares? Is it that the man thinks he has the RIGHT to unabashedly glare like that?? Is it "what you get" when you feel like wearing a warm hug?
The dominant idea in our culture - and I dare say most around the world - is that women's bodies are for men's enjoyment, in one way or another. But the important thing here is that I'm not wearing that dress for anyone's enjoyment but my own...I love how it looks and I love how it feels. But at the same time, I know it opens me up to being extra objectified that day. Do I wear it anyway and try to ignore the looks? Or does it sit in my closet for three years because I don't want the extra?
At the end of the day I was happy to go home. My social experiment for the day was over, and I was glad for that.
I wore the warm hug around the house for the next few hours, checking myself out here and there. When I threw the dress it in the laundry basket at bedtime I wondered if I would ever wear it again.
Everyone does needs a warm hug now and again.