On Playing Dress Up

The majority of my baby photos consist of me, either bald or afro-clad, wearing one of two articles of clothing: overalls, or a dress. As the first child born into my extended family, I was bound to be a really girly-girl or a really boy-y-boy because everyone wanted to buy me clothing in quantity for a small African nation and in quality for dressing Blue Ivy. I ended up being a really girly-girl. Yet, as I became old enough to speak and to have my own thoughts and opinions like “No, Mom, I do not think watching three hours of Britain’s Got Talent videos on YouTube is the best way to spend your Saturday” and “I really don’t like ‘said person’ because their head is obviously too big for their body,” I strayed away from the flaming betch I could have been and became somewhat of a nonchalant mixture of girly-girl and tomboy.

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then & now

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Always a keen eye for style, and selfies

The one girly thing that has stayed with me throughout all of these years is the desire to wear dresses. You can take me to any store, and by any store I really mean Free People, and give me a rack of dresses and I promise I will spend minimum two hours trying them on and then twirling in the mirror, which actually happened pretty recently. And by recently I mean yesterday. At Free People.

A few months ago when I was still locked in my need-to-please conformity stage of fashion, which I have luckily surpassed and cured like an unfortunate case of pink eye that you get the day your boyfriend breaks up with you, I was speaking to a close male friend about the way certain girls dress. The conversation ensued as follows:

Him: I really don’t like the way ______ dresses. Sometimes, I’m just like “what is she wearing????”

Me: Yeah, I get what you mean. [This chick did not have an aptitude for style.]

Him: I just really don’t like it when girls wear dresses to class. I just don’t get it… I think it’s weird.

Me: [Having a silent panic attack and feeling the need to get primal with this kid to knock some sense into his poor soul. Did not have any tools to strangle him with at the moment. Would have to resort to bare hands. Not willing to resort to bare hands. Settling for a curt reply.] Um, OK.

Boys, what is it with you? Would you prefer that I wore an Adidas track suit every day and went all out Jane Lynch on your asses? If any girl is wearing a dress, not matter how well she works it, give her the credit for wearing one. It isn’t fun when your butt partially sticks to the seat of a public transportation vehicle or a park bench. We take one for the team, and when I say “for the team” I really mean to look pretty for you. Accept that, mofos.

This is as Jane Lynch as I will ever get.

This is as Jane Lynch as I will ever get.

I don’t know what it is about playing dress up that has always been such a staple in my life. I know girls that would go years without wearing a dress if they could, and they are even more feminine than I am. Dresses often are paired with funny situations and circumstances that are so typical and on the regular that I LOL just thinking about them.

The best example of this would be the first kinda nice day of the year. There is always that one spring day with a high of a whopping 63 degrees on which every girl decides that, BAM, summer has come and it’s time to dress practically naked. Every girl you see on that day will be wearing a dress. I promise. And you know I’m right.

My take on the situation: You only wear dresses on nice days??!! As if. Why do you think they invented tights? I get such a good laugh when literally every female I see is just not wearing pants. It’s such a classical phenomenon. If I was going to be a psych major, I would totally write a thesis on this.

My next example would be girls that claim they would never wear a dress and then secretly own a nice handful of moderately contemporary dresses that don’t make too much of a statement but definitely say “I’m wearing a dress.” Then, they post photos of themselves on Facebook of them wearing these dresses (these dresses are probably light blue–a nice, naval, classy shade) and then when you make a comment to them about how they were wearing a dress they take it really personally and act like they always wear dresses and it’s soooooo not a big deal that they wore a dress blah blah blah.

My take on it: It’s not a big deal. Don’t be so self-conscious, just accept the goddamn compliment and wear the dress again. Chances are, we liked it.

You know, I went through this really feminist period in fourth and fifth grade. Even through that phase I kept wearing dresses. These days, lesbians rock dresses. Moms rock dresses. Even men rock dresses. Next time you go shopping, buy a dress to wear on that first spring day of the season to be a classy biddie. I promise you, you won’t regret it.



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