He raises his eyebrows half out of arousal and half out of disapproval. Well, I probe, what do you think? Do you like them? ‘Ummm. They are sexy.’ But that’s not an answer to my question, or is it? Yes, I like them; or no, I don’t. Those are answers. ‘They’re sexy’ is the shortest and most overplayed monologue I’ve endured over the years.
I remember getting in the car with my makeup done and a green skort on. I felt sexy, and cute and exactly how I wanted to feel at sixteen years old with my first serious boyfriend. He looked over at me and shook his head giving me this wordless monologue in a single look. The first time I’d heard it from someone who could make me feel inadequate. Sure, my Mom had even given me a similar monologue for wearing my friend’s short shorts outside for even a few minutes. But I mostly just felt annoyed. Teachers gave me that monologue over and over, but it didn’t make me feel anything but contempt. Hearing it from the very person I’d been trying to impress was a little defeating. Mike never out and out mentioned whatever that look was for and we never discussed it. We didn’t need to. I never wore that skort again. What I did do was stand in front of the mirror looking at myself and wondering just what was wrong with it, with how I look in it. Fast forward over ten years and my husband is giving me that very same look, but he puts words to the monologue.
‘Would you feel comfortable wearing that in public?” Translation: “How do you really want people to see you?”
“How do you feel in them?” Translation: “What kind of woman are you?”
“Well, they’re sexy.” Translation: “I don’t want other people to see you as desirable.”
For the majority of my life, I have resigned myself to wearing bermuda length shorts and skirts no shorter than my knee. Why? Because I feel called to a life of modesty? Wrong. Because I live in fear of trying to look a certain way to someone and ending up looking foolish to them. Or looking slutty. The truth is that until two summers ago I hadn’t worn shorts more than an inch or so above my knee since the time some boys pranked us and we chased them down the street in what we’d slept in- short shorts. And I didn’t do that for me. I did it to make other people feel comfortable with me. Around me. But two summers ago, I spent a ton of time at the pool. I re-evaluated my life. I started asking myself questions and I stopped giving a shit whether or not I made people comfortable around me (kind of). And I started caring about me feeling comfortable around me. That’s when I started this blog. That’s when I started truth telling. And let me tell you the truth. I feel damn sexy in those shorts and I love it. Even though it still twinges if someone I want to impress disapproves, I will wear those damn shorts and feel awesome in them. Not only has my body done amazing things, it looks amazing and I want to feel like that.
Why shouldn’t that be our mantra? How does this make me feel about me? If it’s your body, your hair, your clothes, your life and it doesn’t hurt anybody, why can’t that be the only thing that matters? I don’t blame my husband for his mini-monologue. He feels insecure right now, as he seems to be gaining the weight that I am losing. But that’s about him. He needs to make himself comfortable. I need to make myself comfortable and happy and healthy and sexy, if I want.