Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fashion Faux Pas

I went out to dinner last night with two girlfriends of mine and in the midst of catching up, one of them revealed a strange and awkward problem with her boss.

She told of how her boss had called her into her office and proceeded to lecture her about how uncomfortable she felt when my friend said good morning to her.

Her boss claimed my friend looked her up and down every morning and it made her feel very uneasy, and like how dare she judge her and her outfit. "It makes me not even want to walk by your office!" Boss lady said.

Let's set aside the fact that we all know that's weird, my friend's boss is probably just insecure and now my poor friend will have to spend her days staring at the floor or ceiling when her boss walks by.

Of course my friend wasn't aware she did that. None of us notice we do it anymore: Checking out what other women wear to see if we like that for ourselves.

I do it all the time. I look other women up and down, and they look me up and down - my boss included. It happens when I'm walking down the street. It happens when I'm washing my hands in the bathroom. It happens when I'm in a meeting or when I'm out to eat. It's female fashion information gathering.

Granted, sometimes I'm internally mean, thinking, "Ugh, leggings with UGGs, UGH! Put on some pants!" or "Really? A silver jump suit?"

But most of the time I'm thinking, "Wow, I love that chunky necklace she pieced with that shirt." ... "Huh, I never would have thought to wear that color with olive green pants, but it works!" ... "Gasp, I MUST find out where she got those brown boots! They're so cute!"

Sometimes, I'll be bold and compliment the girl out loud - when I mean it, of course - and the girl always lights up. She spent time and effort standing in front of her closet, figuring out what she should wear today and a compliment - especially from a stranger - is YES! VINDICATION! I DO HAVE GOOD FASHION SENSE! YOU LOVE ME! YOU REALLY LOVE ME!

I had a high school biology teacher, Mr. Renkwitz, lecture on this very practice from a scientific standpoint as he was explaining the animalistic nature of attention grabbing for mates. Competition, he said, is what it was all about. I also very distinctly remember him saying that in the animal world, males are usually the ones with the brighter plumage, the bigger manes, the larger horns, etc. using these adornments to attract females. But humans were different.

"Women, will look other women up and down, checking out their appearance and think, 'Is she more attractive than I? Her clothes are a mess, she doesn't stand a chance against me.' But men will only look in three places and think, "Nice face, nice tits, nice ass, yeah I'd probably do her."

So is it social? Is it biological? Or is it that women just like clothes? Perhaps a combination, because why else would our next thought after noticing someone's outfit is, "Ohh, where did she get that?"


themedianerd said...

So true Lauren, so true!

ETJB said...