Mental Dress Code

College has been a much different experience for me than anything else in my life, which is what I’d been told would happen. Living with a stranger; living in a hall way, a residence hall, of strangers. Classes being at odd times of the day. Clubs that meet on a regular basis (unlike my high school.) Students openly swearing in front of their professors, directors, coaches, and vice versa. One thing that really surprises me, though, is the cat calls.

They mostly happen when passing the fitness center. (Which is a fancy way of saying the workout room.) Unfortunately, for me, going this way is the most convenient way of going from the dining hall back to my dorm, and these days, the warmest way, too. Typically, I don’t have a problem. Most of the guys on this campus are actually pretty rad. But every once in a while, some idiot will call out to me. I don’t know what he’s looking at, to be honest. I purposely cover my ass with my laptop bag when I walk, and I’m generally not caught without my hoodie, which hides most of my shape. But I guess what a woman in dressed in has never stopped a douchebag from being a douchebag before. Since high school, I’ve conditioned myself to not react when people call me things I don’t like. I don’t look up, I don’t stop walking, I pretend it was aimed at someone else. And this works 99% of the time.

The 1% was only once.

The 1% was a time when I was just walking from my last class of the day back to my dorm, which, unfortunately, was all the way across campus. And as I passed the newest building on campus, someone whistled.

“Hey, hot stuff.”

It was not a voice I recognized, so I knew it wasn’t one of my friends just goofing around with me. There were enough people around me that it was probably not directed at me. I kept walking. As I kept walking, he called out again, this time from what seemed to be directly behind me. “Hey, I was talking to you. You, in the greenish sweatshirt.”

Well shit.

I kept walking. This asshole wasn’t worth my time or energy. When he kept trying to get my attention, (either going in the same direction as me or intending to follow me,) I flipped him off without looking behind me.

The little baby got all offended.

“Well excuse me, bitch. Learn to take a goddamn compliment. You’re not even that good-looking anyway, you ugly bitch.” He yammered on. I don’t understand why guys do this. Is it to make them feel better about the fact that they’ve just gotten rejected? Is it to make the girl try and feel bad for calling them out on the fact they’re asswads? “Maybe if you learned to dress yourself like you actually cared about yourself, you’d look a lot better.”

And this is where I nearly turned around and clocked him. This is where I wish I would have, but kept walking. I went to the dining hall to make sure he wouldn’t follow me back to my dorm, but he was gone before I got there.

I wear dorky t-shirts and jeans and hoodies and mismatched socks and old sneakers on a nearly daily basis. It’s part of what I’ve come to call my mental dress code. My mental dress code has three rules;

  1. I have to feel comfortable in it.
  2. It has to keep me the proper temperature for the proper weather.
  3. I have to like it enough that if I were to die in that outfit, I’d be okay with it.

This can change depending on where I am, who I’m with, and how tired/sane I am at the time. The younger brother of one of my best friends first met me when I was sitting on the couch in his living room, belting out Disney songs with his sister and our other friend, in nothing but dance shorts and a sports bra, because I was tired and had forgotten my pajamas. He seemed mildly concerned that there was a half-naked girl on his couch but said hello and then backed out of the room. (He’s now one of my favorite people on this Earth.) I’ve also been known to chill in the dressing rooms of Lincoln Park in minimal clothing during shows because the hot lights are SO HOT, and by tech week I’m comfortable enough with pretty much all of the girls to do so. These are rare cases, but you get my point.

I do dress like I care about myself. I care about my comfort first and foremost, and what people think about what I wear second. You can ask anyone I’ve gone clothes shopping with. I will look at the conventionally “attractive female” clothes, try them on, contemplate buying them, but all the while I’ll be tugging at whatever article of clothing it is, trying to make myself less self-conscious about it. If I buy it, I usually wear it maybe once before retiring it to the back of my closet. (See: the blue and black striped t-shirt dress I have.) But usually I just end up putting it back on the rack and getting a graphic tee or a new pair of (not skinny) jeans. I care about myself enough to dress myself in a way that I won’t be worried about how uncomfortable I am in what I’m wearing. Maybe that’s not what other people think I should dress in (“You’re so skinny! You have such a great body type, you should show it off more!”,) but I’m dressing for me, not for them.

So if you’re ever going to complain about how I dress like an ugly bitch, I politely ask you to shut up. You’re wasting your breath and trying my patience.

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2 thoughts on “Mental Dress Code

  1. I agree completely, more people should wear what they want to wear. Comfort is the primary function of clothing, personal style is second, and what other people think is a very distant last. I dress how I dress, and my friends for the most part dress how they want to dress; it’s actually a clue for me when I’m trying to meet new people.

    Namely, I avoid girls who aren’t wearing pants and guys who are only wearing 1/2 a shirt. You know, most shirts have these things called sides, and shorts need to be moderately longer than your underwear. Don’t get me started. >_>

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