Sunday, August 26, 2012

Can't I be pretty and serious?

When I was in junior high school I wore short skirts and high heels.  In high school, I gravitated to holey jeans and baggy shirts.

Nowadays, my work wardrobe is jeans, short-sleeved camp shirts, and sneakers.  My home wardrobe swaps out t-shirts for the camp shirts. I'll wear jean shorts instead of long jeans in the summer at home.

My work wardrobe was a conscious decision.  I work in the male-dominated software industry.  I prefer that my co-workers notice my mind, not my attire.  Or my gender.

Many years ago I worked with a well-endowed, female report writer who dressed in flashy, tight clothes.  I don't know if she was good at what she did or not.  No one ever said.  The comments I overhead about her were never focused on her work qualities.

I took note of that.

I've always been a tomboy, so my current wardrobe isn't that much of a departure.  My low key style means I don't spend a lot of money on clothes.  (I spend it on dog treats.).  I'm allergic to nail polish so I keep my nails buffed and natural.  I start to itch from most makeup, so I go without.  I've had bad experiences with hair dressers, so I cut my own.  Easy.  Comfortable.

Still, I hadn't realized how ingrained my philosophy had become until recently.

I've belonged to a gym for 18 months.  Unsure what clothes to buy, and unwilling to spend a fortune on workout clothes, I've worn cotton street shorts to the gym.  There is still a little (a lot) of the insecure 12-year-old inside me, so when someone joked about my shorts, I felt compelled to buy real workout shorts.

I ordered a pair of Adidas shorts from Amazon.  I was not aware that the "diva" stripe meant pink.  The first day I wore them, I mated them with a black t-shirt, a pink sweat band, and my black and white Nikes.

I got to the gym, and during Body Combat class, I saw myself in the full length mirror.  I looked pretty.  I looked like one of those women who dress up to go to the gym so she can sit around and look at guys.

I was appalled.

I don't want to look pretty.  I want to look like I'm serious about my exercise.  I want to look tough.

Sigh.  When did I become the kind of person who objects to looking pretty?  Can't I be pretty and serious?

Apparently, not in my mind.

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