NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

The Problem With Dresses…

February12

I love wearing them, they are fabulous, but I hate how people react to my wearing them. It’s like suddenly, “Holy Shit! She’s A Girl!!!” Fuck all of that! This morning a business neighbor (who said I looked elegant the last time I wore the same dress) said to me, “Oh you look pretty again today!” To which I replied, “Because I look like a sack of potatoes every other day.” He said, “Oh no!” I didn’t mean to be so rude, but c’mon! Am I only pretty or elegant or worth noting when I’m wearing a dress?

I do not transform due to the garment I am wearing. I don’t suddenly become the fair lady and skip the Eliza Doolittle bit. WTF?!

Perhaps this is precisely why I still have a hard time with dresses. I thought it was because of my legs showing, but now I am not so sure. It might just be because people change how they act around me when I’m wearing a dress. I don’t understand it at all. The dress I’m wearing isn’t frilly and I’m not wearing high heels or anything else that would make one think I should be treated differently (like a tiara?). WHY?! Why would you change how you act around someone because they are wearing a fucking dress? Ugh! STOP IT!

I’m just me. I am not even trying to be anything else. And you know what? The same goes for when I wear make up! What the fucking fuck?! People absolutely treat me differently when I actually put on mascara and lipstick. How in the why? Is there logic in this? Am I missing it all completely? I’m so confused by this, I must say. Women have been wearing these things for ages…stop the presses! Ha!

Thanks for reading my rant.

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30 Comments to

“The Problem With Dresses…”

  1. On February 12th, 2011 at 1:08 pm William Says:

    Hi

    Maybe your friend was just clumsy with words or was not sure how to express his feelings.

    As a fat guy, a fat woman who is wearing a pair of pants or a dress that fits her well is extra attractive to me. If I know the lady I might say “Looking good” or something. If I see a fat male friend who is wearing something nice, I may say some like “You’re looking slick” or “looking good”.

    William

  2. On February 12th, 2011 at 1:17 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Thank you for commenting, so nice to get a male perspective! Yes, clumsy is possible, but I think this happens anytime I wear a dress or make up. Perhaps it is because it does’t happen often and so it seems a dramatic or sudden thing. My favorite compliment to nearly anyone, “You look sharp!” Thanks! =0)

  3. On February 12th, 2011 at 1:25 pm Twistie Says:

    Stuff that for a lark!

    But I know exactly what you mean. People do treat you differently depending on how they perceive what you wear and how you present yourself. I had to think about this a lot back in the days when I did a lot of acting. I chose audition outfits as carefully as I chose audition monologues, because I wanted to give directors (especially the ones who didn’t already know me) the impression of someone who could look the part I wanted to play.

    Sometimes it amuses me how differently people treat me when I dress differently, and sometimes it makes me want to hurl heavy objects at them. In the long run, though, I think my background helped me choose to present myself any damn way I feel like it at any given time without worrying too much about the reactions I’ll get.

    After all, those reactions say a lot more about their personal baggage and assumptions about femininity than they do about me. They don’t know me. And the tiny corner of me that continues to observe human behavior in an analytical way is fascinated.

    It’s funny, but over breakfast, Mr. Twistie and I were having a conversation about how he’s a racial Rorshach (sp?) test. You see, he’s mixed race white and Japanese, but nobody ever, ever pegs that. He’s a big, burly guy who people recognize isn’t quite white, but since they don’t know ‘what’ he is, they fill in the blanks in the oddest ways. He’s often cast as whatever race that isn’t white and isn’t black the person talking to him finds most threatening.

    Over the years, he’s been assumed to be: a Pacific Islander (in fact, I thought when I first met him that he was most likely Hawaiian or Samoan because I knew there was an Asian background and that those ethnicities tend toward tall, broad men), Mexican, Iraqi, Afghani, Arab, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Native American… and the list goes on. Just last night at an open mic in Berkeley, he was pointed out as obviously a Black Panther! It’s the first time ever he’s been assumed to be African American.

    Interestingly enough, while Mr. Twistie was a little young and a little not black to be a Panther, his best friend whose extraction is mostly Swedish and who really, really looks it is the one with a Panther background. He actually worked for the company that provided their audio visual needs way back when. He also worked as a projectionist in a Spanish-language movie theater for a couple years. The night Immigration raided the place, he almost got himself deported to Mexico. When they demanded (in Spanish) his Green Card, and he replied in perfect Spanish “I don’t have a fucking Green Card.”

  4. On February 12th, 2011 at 1:32 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    You’re right! I shouldn’t give a shit what others think. But sometimes? Ya know, it just hits you a certain way. Thanks, as always, for speaking sense to me when I need it. =0)

  5. On February 12th, 2011 at 1:30 pm Gypsy Says:

    I think you may be reading into things a bit too much, just take the compliment and go with it!

  6. On February 12th, 2011 at 1:32 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    You may be right. Thanks.

  7. On February 13th, 2011 at 9:12 am G Says:

    Sometimes I wonder if the act of wearing a skirt or dress is so subversive that it needs commenting upon? I get the same kind of reactions and it drives me nuts too. I work in science and the standard uniform is some sort of business casual pants/shirt combo and maybe it is shocking or threatening to emphasize my differentness and bring the fact that I’m a woman out front by wearing stereotypically feminine clothing? I love dressing up but I don’t do it often, mostly because of the reactions from my coworkers.

  8. On February 13th, 2011 at 11:30 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Thank you, I am so glad that I’m not the only one who gets/feels this. It’s bullshit and maybe I was over reacting a bit yesterday, but these things build up over time. Oh the differences! Ha-ha! Thanks, hun! <3

  9. On February 13th, 2011 at 9:16 am Jenna Says:

    I do that, too. I tend to over analyze compliments when people give them out and I’ve been working on accepting compliments graciously (as well as give them when I notice something, too). there is something wonderfully civilized about it all 🙂

  10. On February 13th, 2011 at 10:38 am Veronica Says:

    I know exactly what you mean by this! I noticed this in the summer when I was wearing a lot of dresses, and the difference from trouser days to dress day was so obvious it was amazing. I brought it up with my brother (who is such a Guy(TM)), and he said it was because dresses are considered feminine, therefore I am considered more feminine. My gut reaction to this was to grumble something about male chauvinist pigs. He disagreed, which is what he usually does in these situations, but when I thought about it I decided I overreacted. As a (mostly) staight woman I may feel attracted to masculinity and/or things I think of as inherently masculine, so why is it so strange that men who are attracted to women find themselves attacted to feminine things?
    Even knowing this on an intellectual level though, doesn’t stop me from feeling weird at the difference.

  11. On February 13th, 2011 at 11:56 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Okay, this actually makes perfect sense to me because the people noticing/responding were mostly male. And it’s one of those things, perhaps, that we should be celebrating instead of railing against. I need to think on this one. Thank you!

  12. On February 13th, 2011 at 12:09 pm Ashley Says:

    My office is not a dress up office (like, you couldn’t even call us business casual, most of us wear jeans to work every day), so when somebody does dress up, male or female, everybody notices and says something. Usually if I dress up it’s because I have something to do after work that is none of my co-workers business, so if they ask why I’m so dressed up, I usually just say “laundry day”. There’s no real response to that, so usually the conversation ends there.

  13. On February 13th, 2011 at 12:10 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh! I like the laundry day excuse! Thanks for that!

  14. On February 13th, 2011 at 6:16 pm sandrad Says:

    oh dear, for me “laundry day” is true – “I’m out of jeans and yoga pants, I guess its a skirt for me, oh woe!”

  15. On February 14th, 2011 at 9:14 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Ha-ha! Yeah, too funny!

  16. On February 13th, 2011 at 6:49 pm Sarah Says:

    Man we have the exact same problem with the same root (cause? eh.) As a serial dress wearer people react in a ridiculous manner when I wear pants. Lots of bootylicious comments and plenty of comments that passive aggressively ring in the vein of “way to not be such a high maintenance princess for a change.” Cause putting a dress on is so much more glamazonian labor than pulling the pants up and all.

  17. On February 14th, 2011 at 9:14 am Not Blue at All Says:

    I see the dress thing as only slightly more labor due to my insistence upon tights/leggings being in the mix, too. But then with pants you must worry about a top and such, so perhaps they are the same in this way. Hmm…Funny that you have the exact same problem except with pants. I guess we just gotta dress for ourselves and tell the rest to get over it. =0)

  18. On February 14th, 2011 at 12:30 am Kath Says:

    I always rail at people making comments about me looking a certain personality type in outfits. I am the same person, no matter what my outfit is. If you like my dress, say “I like your dress.” or “That’s a beautiful/cute/lovely/nice dress.” But I wish people would piss off with commenting about how it “makes” me something!

  19. On February 14th, 2011 at 9:13 am Not Blue at All Says:

    You said it! “Makes me something” is how I feel I am perceived when “dolled up” or what have you.

  20. On February 14th, 2011 at 10:12 am purplekeychain Says:

    I struggle with this all the time. For a long time, I always wore clothes to cover myself up and hide, and any time I wore a dress or a skirt or something I considered “pretty” I was always really self-conscious because I thought it called attention to me. And, pessimist that I am, I felt like any attention called to my appearance was bad attention.

    I’m with you, though — I don’t think situations like this always deserve a “suck it up and accept the compliment” response, because sometimes there really is bullshit beyond or behind what is said, and sometimes you have to question that shit – even when you are just asking the questions to yourself.

    First of all, YOU are gorgeous, full stop.

    But then there is the horrible fact that fat women (and men) are totally and completely desexualized all the fucking time. More often than not, being fat automatically means you are out of the running for adjectives like pretty, attractive, handsome, desirable or sexy. Fat women and men are often denied their femininity or masculinity. A fat woman in a skirt sends the message that she is TRYING (I’m not agreeing with these statements, just stating them) to regain the femininity she has “lost” by virtue of being fat, or something equally ridiculous.

    Likewise, a skirt or a dress, on someone who doesn’t wear them often, usually causes people to comment. Going back to the whole misogynistic thing about skirts and dresses as representations of “beauty” and femininity for a woman.

    I feel like I’m rambling and not making sense. ‘ll just conclude with the fact that you’re super hot, in pants or a dress or whatever you wear (or don’t). So nerr nerr.

  21. On February 14th, 2011 at 10:33 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Thank you for the compliments, you are far too kind! But now I am wondering if I’ve dressed slightly more masculine because I was often over sexualized as a teen both in behavior and assumptions. I think that the assumptions lead more to the behavior than the opposite, but whatever. Also, I love the grunge look and was in high school when it hit big, but at that time I think it was the juxtaposition of fem/butch combined that attracted me. I carry this in my style even now. I celebrate it, but in my day to day lean more dressed down. I don’t know. This just brought up a whole bunch of shit for me I guess. Later that same day I had a fat meet up at my cafe and we took a group pic and I actually loved the pic. I am slightly more comfortable with the dress thing because of it. =0)

  22. On February 14th, 2011 at 1:11 pm Angela Says:

    I also started noticing this same phenomenon a few years back when I started wearing dresses and skirts. The first time I put on a skirt I got more compliments about it than I had ever received in my entire life. And like you, I was like WTF. And it’s not just the compliments, people’s behavior around me is very different when I’m wearing a skirt or dress and I don’t wear things that could be considered “fancy” in any sense of the word, were talking about jumper dresses and hippie skirts here. When I’m wearing pants(or frequently overalls are my version of pants) I get a very aloof almost hostile response from people, they don’t approach me and they do things like dropping doors on me rather than holding them. I admit that I look a little butch when not in a dress or skirt but that’s no reason to be rude to someone. In a dress or skirt I get the exact opposite response. Since I never wore dresses or skirts till my late 20’s it was quite a shock.

  23. On February 14th, 2011 at 1:16 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    I have noticed this, too, when wearing a dress, not so much with pants. This could be because I wear pants daily and so nothing seems strange. This seems like something we should perhaps experiment with, I think. Hmm…
    Thanks, got me thinking! =0)

  24. On February 14th, 2011 at 1:24 pm Angela Says:

    Yes, it’s definitely fun to experiment with. After I got over the initial shock it became something that I kind of play with and observe people’s reactions to and use to my advantage depending on whether I’m in a social mood or want to be left alone.

  25. On February 14th, 2011 at 3:05 pm purplekeychain Says:

    absolutely. i was just whining, uh, talking about this same thing not long ago — namely, that my travel experiences are horrible when i wear pants, but in skirts/dresses they are mostly pleasant. i am having a hard time articulating my point, but it has to do with people looking at you and saying “hey, that fat girl is wearing a dress so that means she really DOES want to be pretty, despite the fact that she’s fat!” i know that’s a totally pessimistic and “they’re out to get your!” statement but, hey, sometimes that shit is true.

    i used to never EVER wear dresses/skirts. i’d always buy them when out with friends, but never actually put them on, precisely because i was afraid that people would look at me and think that i was TRYING. not only trying, but FAILING, at being attractive.

    re: grunge, i love it! i grew up in the PNW (the BIRTHPLACE of grunge)! yes! i too dressed very masculine — and now that i think about it, i think it also had to do with me not wanting people to think i was TRYING. plus men’s clothes were the only things that fit comfortably without being an old lane bryant muumuu.

    re: oversexualized, i totally get that too. as the only black girl in my jr high and high schools, there were a ton of contradicting assumptions about me that i was constantly trying to defy – being ‘exotic’ and oversexed while also being frigid and square (“black girls don’t give head!” i used to hear at least once a week) and a bunch of other ignorant bullshit, and following that were the assumptions about me being easy and having low self esteem because i was fat and also guys had to “be careful” with me because black girls apparently don’t believe in birth control and all we ever want to do is trap “respectable” young white/non-black men into being our baby daddy’s, but don’t forget that we’re frigid and we never screw “outside our race” because black men are the only ones with big cocks or whatever. the whole thing was preposterous. so i got into the ‘grunge’ thing to throw another monkey wrench into the whole thing.

    ah, youth. if only it were that simple today.

    🙂

  26. On February 14th, 2011 at 3:30 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Yeah I never understood where people got all of those ridiculous stereotypes. Like, really?! Is every ___ person exactly the same as the next (no matter what you fill that blank with the answer is NO!)?! I had similar issues as a teen, being seen as both a slut and a prude, this was before I was fat. I was awkward as hell, but puberty being the gift that it is (sarcasm), my fat genes kicked in at age 15 and wham: Super Slut! Ha-ha! And guys would rarely ask me out because I was seen this way. I had no problem asking them out first anyway, but I was always too blunt for a lot of ’em. Probably why I never dated guys at my school. Ha!
    We should have like a fat-grunge-fashion day or something! <3

  27. On February 17th, 2011 at 10:14 pm Mulberry Says:

    Like it or not, people always judge by looks. The clothes you wear, your makeup and hairstyle, all make some kind of impression. The best we can do is learn what impressions we can make and then decide whether we want to provoke a certain reaction or ignore it.
    It isn’t just people. In any kind of sales situation, we want to promote what’s being sold so we can make it appear to be worth more. Surely you do this with your cafe; maybe you decorate it to give it a nice homey look so people will feel good about coming in, ordering a coffee and pastry while perusing the morning newspaper.
    As long as your family and friends treat you as the all-around fine person you are, don’t worry about it.

  28. On February 18th, 2011 at 9:00 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh, absolutely! Ugh! I hate any “sales situation.” I mean, I hate the show for show’s sake way of thinking. I know it’s a reality in which we live, but it just irks me. Yes, my cafe is inviting and pleasant, but it is a direct representation of me and not what I thought people would want or would be used to. In fact I did the opposite of most cafes. It stands out because I stand out. Simple as that. Thank you so much for reading & commenting! =0)

  29. On February 18th, 2011 at 3:34 pm Kath Says:

    I think you capture it perfectly when you say:

    “Yes, my cafe is inviting and pleasant, but it is a direct representation of me and not what I thought people would want or would be used to.”

    I feel the same as this about the way I dress. I do not dress to create an impression, I dress to express myself. What someone else thinks does not come into the equation. And I’ll challenge it when anyone tries to put their judgement on my shoulders. It’s not cool.

  30. On February 18th, 2011 at 3:35 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Thank you, doll. I felt a bit indignant when I wrote that line, but now I see it’s truer than I realized! =0)

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