If you identify as female, either right off the line, or somewhere in the aftermarket, I think you are going to understand what I’m talking about. Why on earth is our clothing designed to malfunction only in ways most favorable to voyeurs and never the opposite? You have probably guessed right that this fun bit of indignation begins with a story.
The other night I was with my ex, son and a friend and her son at the Original Pancake House. Far superior, by the way, to the International House and their misleading name with not a single smoked fish or blood pudding anywhere on the menu. I think I had noticed walking in that my skirt seemed to be more binding than normal, but I paid it no mind. A little tightness is to be expected when gorging on kielbasa and basted eggs. It wasn’t until I got home that my ex pointed out, “Uh, you know the waist band of your skirt is way down below your ass.” My son picked up a few new words that day. I really have to watch myself with that. In any case, I found that by simply pulling it up, it was once again comfortable. My only saving grace is that I was wearing tights underneath, so thank the stars for a cold day.
I was trying to remember how often it felt wrong, you know, at the office. More expletives; pronunciation reinforced to a 5 year old sponge. It wasn’t the first time I found myself becoming unreasonably angry with the guys who work for me. Not long ago they stood conversing with me at length, and then let me go to two meetings in a row with jalapeno mustard in my hair. In their defense, I think they either truly didn’t notice, or assumed it was some sort of yellow and green accoutrement they didn’t understand. In any case, it’s clear no one is going to warn me away of making a complete ass of myself.
My ex explained that this kind of thing happens to all women at one time or another. Dress tucked into the back of pantyhose. Poorly constructed button triggered to snap just below the appropriate line of cleavage. Kick pleats and slits conveniently located on a seam stitched by one of the three blind mice after a night with Wild Turkey. Never ever do you hear someone complaining, “Dammit! This stupid snap came loose and completely covered my décolletage!” You never hear that. But why? Oh please, you know why. It’s the same reason men’s buttons are sewn on with high tensile steel thread, as are the butt seam of slacks. Even Rush Limbaugh has to make a pretty deep bend to split those poor suckers. Nobody wants to see that, so every precaution is there to make sure they don’t. No so true in our case.
All of western culture female apparel is clearly designed as the complete opposite of say, Middle Eastern garb. In the Mid-east, and not that I’m condoning this at all, women’s clothing is designed to absolutely minimize the chance that any bodily attribute not desired to be shown will suddenly make an appearance. In the West, total opposite. Skirts, essentially a tube around your midsection, can slip down, go up, be looked up in such a variety of ways that special uncomfortable leg and foot placement when sitting etiquette has developed. Even the long ones can be stepped on at the hem and pulled right down. Oh, believe me, I know. Most dresses are made of such light material as to head for the shoulders at the slightest breeze. Yes, even pants. The right fit (in other words, not super dumpy looking) are skin tight around the ass, with the worst ones undesirably showcasing camel-toe. Shirts and blouses, except for the winter ones, are almost universally cut to reflect the popular ‘hoochie’ look. There is one word for those who try to buck this trend – butch.
Understand, I’m venting here. Most women already know how to work within the system and achieve looks that are cute, feminine, and fairly low risk. I’m just learning how much care is required in making that a reality. Sure, I could go super butch, but honestly, I need all the help I can get to have any hope in being identified as the correct gender. If, however, I can manage that without mooning anyone or having a boob pop out, well, all the better.