I’m sick. Symptoms may have been exacerbated by the other day’s nearly hour-long trudge through snow and sleet, but that’s purely speculation. Regardless, since my body has decided to be an incubus of viral plague (slow clap for The Devil Wears Prada), I’m taking advantage of this down time to write.
The past 36 hours have been spent housebound, shuffling weakly from room to room with a laptop in one hand and a mug of tea in the other; my hair is in a wobbly, wild bun on top of my head, and I’m sporting baggy lounge pants and an oversized thrift shop sweater. Now more than ever, I am thankful for my singleness–no one but the dog needed to see this.
And on that note, I want to use my own bad example to ruminate for a minute about the things we say–either seriously or in jest–that suggest appearance directly coincides with relationship status. I do my best to look presentable when going out in public (most of the time), but it saddens me when people strive to look their best only to impress or attract others.
Flashback to ninth grade English class when the kid sitting in front of me turned around, eyed me up and down, and said, “Why do you wear makeup? It’s not like guys are looking at you anyway.”
Because I knew this boy was trying to get a rise out of me, and because I was secure in who I was, even as a teenager, I responded in a confident, composed, mature manner:
“I wear it for me.”
And then I viciously snapped a rubber band on the hand he was resting on my desk.
Now, I’d be lying if I said there has never been a time where I put some extra effort in my appearance to catch someone’s eye. Who hasn’t? As much as I strongly believe in making a romantic connection for reasons beyond physical appearance, I know that it’s often the first thing that gets someone’s attention.
But if the opinions of others were influencing how I present myself on a daily basis, then I’d be a much different person.
I like hoodies and jeans. I own way too many graphic tees. I have exactly one pair of black boots that can go with almost every outfit. If the occasion is casual, you can bet I’ll be comfortable; I’m not too concerned about whether or not the love of my life will meet me for the first time while I’m wearing the Queen T-shirt I bought in high school.
My main point is this: It can be all too easy for singles to look at themselves critically and make changes for the wrong reasons. And sometimes the critique comes from other people, who may or may not have kind intentions. A friend once discouraged me from cutting my hair short because he liked me with long hair better. In that case, it was just his honest (unsolicited) opinion, but I ultimately chose my hair style according to what I preferred. I do think it’s important to take your partner’s preferences into account when you’re in a relationship–to a degree–but until then, I’m not feeling pressured to dress like someone I’m not to “up my chances” of getting a guy.
Here’s hoping my future husband is a Freddie Mercury fan.