To preface, I will note that I actually planned to write this back in March, shortly after the first post. However, for reasons you may or may not remember from that other thing I wrote, I obviously did not. Thus, I will say that time has likely muddled my memories slightly, but the general happenings did happen and the message still rings true. And now, back to our story…
Last time on the Leather Pants Saga, after realizing that I had become too fat to wear my leather pants properly, I proceeded to spend the evening wearing my pants secretly unbuttoned. My stomach made it through the night free and unscathed, and I looked super awesome in my pants.
On this particular night, my lovely Edinburgh flatmate and I were attending a gathering at a friend’s place. Like many such nights, the plan was to hang out and pre-drink at the friend’s and then move on to a bar/club. However, I was sick with a cold, and my flatmate had to be up early the next morning, and we were both hella broke, so we were not planning to join our friends for the bar portion of the night. There were about 15 people at the gathering, and we knew most of them, so all was fine and dandy.
However, there were three young men whom we had not met before. If I remember correctly, they were visiting someone at the gathering, and they were from Germany. (Side note, a lot of Germans go on exchange. I met tons of Germans. And they all pretty much spoke English better than me). At some point in the night, shortly before leaving for the bar, we (my flatmate and I) were conversing with these three guys. The guy doing most of the talking was a gentleman who looked rather like a very pale rodent of some kind. The other two kind of just smiled and nodded in the background.
We talked about the stuff young adults of our age are apparently required by law to discuss: where we were from, what we were studying in school, what we intended to do after. The first red flag arose when we told them we were studying English. We were scoffed at. “What on Earth are you going to do with that?” they asked, laughing at us in a condescending manner. They were all studying the much more practical field of engineering. Reading? Writing? Man, we are so stupid! Those are the most useless skills in the world!
The second red flag came when we were discussing our plans for the night. They were planning to go to the bar, and, as I mentioned, we were not.
“We don’t have any money with us,” we said.
“Oh, come on, don’t be like that! We’ll pay for everything!” they replied. We explained that my flatmate had a big day the next day. “What’s happening tomorrow?” they asked.
“My boyfriend is arriving from Canada, and I have to pick him up from the airport. I’m pretty excited, I haven’t seen him for over two months!” she told them.
Immediately, I saw the light leave their eyes. We’ve been wasting our breath talking to this girl who already has a boyfriend? their faces seem to say. What’s the point of that? They lost absolutely all interest in her after this point, even kind of turning their shoulders on her and semi-blocking her out of the circle. Their plan became clear: get us to go to the bar with them, buy us however many drinks it took to get us drunk, then attempt to hook up with us. My revulsion for this rat-man and his friends began to grow.
The third and final straw came during a one-on-one conversation with the rodent ringleader himself, as I assume he had zoomed in on me as the only possible target for his presumably lustful intentions. You will all recall that I was wearing my leather pants. Paired with my leather pants were the probably the coolest shoes I have ever purchased: super awesome platform cut-out booties with really thick heels that I had recently gotten from Topshop. They are the pride and joy of my shoe collection, and they brought me another step closer to my goal of looking like a dominatrix biker-chick. The platform is probably a good two inches, with a three inch heel. They are also some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. Platform shoes are made of magic, folks.
Now, if you have ever stood beside me before, you will probably have noticed that I am rather tall for a girl. 5-foot-9-inches, to be exact. I quite enjoy being tall; I can use short people as armrests, I can reach all the shelves in my kitchen without using a stool or climbing on the counter, and I almost always have a decent view at standing-room-only concerts (though with the unfortunate side-effect of being The Tall Bitch at said concerts. I offer my apologies to all the shorter fans of Panic! At the Disco and Marianas Trench whose views I have obstructed over the years). Wearing my ass-kicking boots, I stood at around six feet tall. Mr. Rodent King was probably about 5’11-ish, so normally, I would have been shorter than him; as it was, though, if you are good at math, you will have concluded that I was taller than him at that moment.
Back to the conversation. I don’t remember how it came up, but at some point, he gestured to my feet and said something to the effect of, “What the hell are those?”
“They’re my ass-kicking boots,” I answered. “Aren’t they cool? They’re super comfortable, too.”
Ratty McGee laughed and said, “Why are you wearing them? You’re tall enough for me without them!”
To be honest, I don’t remember how I responded, but I do remember deciding right then and there that he was probably the worst person I had ever met. The nerve of this guy! First, he insults my interests; then, he makes it clear that my friend is not a worthy human being to interact with after finding out that there is a 0% chance of having sex with her (not that they would have had any percentage of a chance with either of us anyway, because they clearly sucked); and finally, in what was probably a really lame attempt at flirting, he insinuates that I choose my footwear based upon how tall I am in comparison to guys – him, to be exact. I’m sorry, dude. I understand that things longer than your dick (in this case, my heels) are intimidating and damaging to your ego, but I did not ask nor do I care how you feel about my fashion choices in relation to you.
Some of you are probably thinking that I am overreacting, and that this little comment is nothing to make a big deal about. And while it would be easy to write this guy off as a random asshole and move on with my life, unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. This assumed member of the rodent family is evidence of a problematic mindset held today by our general society: women only do the things they do, wear the things they wear, and say the things they say in order to appeal to men. And if they don’t, then they should.
Don’t believe me? Well, the Internet disagrees. In case you were too lazy to click on those links, each one leads to an article in which men let us know how they feel about different aspects of women’s fashion (the second one is dedicated entirely to the hatred of high-waisted shorts. I don’t know what they’re talking about, ’cause my ass looks absolutely killer in high-waisted shorts, so fuck those guys). Because, obviously, when I get dressed in the morning, the only thought in my head is, “Hmm, will dudes like this skirt? Will it make guys think I’m hot and prompt them to ask for my number?” Fuck that. Guess what; I know my dark purple lipstick doesn’t look kissable, and I don’t give a single flying fuck. It does, however, make me look like an awesome vampire, so bye.
There is tons more where that gross attitude came from. Google “fashion trends that men hate” and you will find countless similar articles. And it’s not just fashion men are weighing in on. For instance, this lovely and clearly well-educated gentleman, Jim King, informs us all of the truth behind women who play video games (I am SugarCelebi, by the way):
It is literally unfathomable to Mr. King that maybe, just maybe, girls play video games because they are, you know, fun. He is completely convinced that most girls only play them to please their boyfriends, no matter what actual real-life girls say otherwise. Having played video games since I was about six years old and therefore thought boys were icky (six-year-old Sam wasn’t entirely wrong there, clearly), and having enough female friends who similarly enjoy video games, I can confirm that Jim King is full of shit.
Men are constantly spouting their unsolicited opinions on how women look and behave, in a manner that implies that women are expected to care. For example, please view this nasty video about a trio of fuckboys telling girls that they are gross if they don’t remove all of their body hair, and that they should be tall but also short, and that they need to “be entertaining” and “be funny” and “have a personality,” and a whole bunch of other rude shit, in order to appeal to them:
This video received a great deal of backlash (and, sadly, some degree of support from his fans), leading its creator, Vine star Nash Grier, to delete it. And no, he didn’t see the error in his ways and apologize; he continued to defend himself, claiming that his main message to girls was to “be themselves,” on which I am calling bullshit, because exactly 20 seconds of the entire almost 10-minute video is dedicated to that particular sentiment. More likely, he felt awkward after being called out by one of the most prominent members of the Youtube community, co-creator of popular channel Vlogbrothers and entrepreneur Hank Green:
Hank nicely sums up the whole problem. It isn’t even that Nash or Ratatouille up there are necessarily horrible people for saying these things (however, they absolutely do suck for not accepting the error of their ways after being called out. And Jim King is definitely an idiot). The truth is, society has conditioned them to think this way. We are told that women exist to cater to, be seen, and be judged by men, their own desires be damned. In turn, women end up only seeing themselves in these terms. It’s a vicious circle, and I can attest to this message’s prevalence; I didn’t always have this if-you-don’t-like-me-then-fuck-you attitude. When I was younger and less wise, I lived for those horrid teeny-bopper magazines that contained articles like “How To Make Him Notice You!” and “What [insert borderline-prepubescent male Disney star’s name here] Looks For In A Girl!” I ate that shit up. How do I make boys like me, I lamented. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how bogus all that is. Even now, sometimes I still have to remind myself that it’s bogus, and many women my age and beyond still have this mindset firmly planted in their heads.
I’m not saying that men don’t ever feel pressure to be attractive to women, because of course they do. However, it’s not jammed down their throats nearly as much. Googling “men’s fashion trends that women hate” garners far less results than the reverse, and most of them are rebuttals to the women-bashing ones. How many movies feature a girl getting a makeover in order to appeal to a guy? And how many movies end with the girl, after going through a big emotional transformation (and also keeping at least some aspects of her physical makeover), ending up with her best friend, who was there all along, just waiting for her to see how awesome he is, without having to change a thing? You see, usually, when a girl doesn’t like a guy, whether due to his appearance or personality or what have you, the guy blames the girl; “Well, she was a bitch anyway,” he’ll say. When a guy doesn’t like a girl, the girl tends to blame herself; “What did I do wrong? Am I not pretty enough or funny enough or smart enough?” Unless, of course, the girl is a lesbian, because then she says, “Good, because I am a lesbian, and I therefore give absolutely zero shits about what some guy thinks of me.”
I’m also not saying that people aren’t allowed to find aspects of other people’s appearances or personalities unattractive, because that would be silly. We all have our preferences. Sir Rat-A-Lot was not obligated to like my shoes. As for me, I absolutely despise that Macklemore haircut guys seem to be so into these days, but I accept that dudes are probably going to keep getting it, and who am I to tell them otherwise? And hey, if a guy happens to like what I’m wearing or whatever, then that’s great – I like it too, and that probably means he has good taste, if I do say so myself.
The point is, no one gets to dictate how another person chooses to present themselves based on their own personal preferences. Rodent Boy’s flirting shouldn’t have consisted of implying that my footwear was directly related to looking for a man that night (newsflash: it wasn’t. I just really liked those shoes). It’s super rude and presumptuous for these articles to say, “Ladies, stop wearing high-waisted shorts, because men don’t like them.” As if we’re supposed to go, “Oh no, if I wear these shorts, I’ll never get a boyfriend!!1! What ever will I do without a boyfriend!!!??” Dudes, if that’s how you feel, please enjoy the shade from my taller-than-you shadow and the view of my high-waisted-shorts-clad ass as I walk away. I know, I look pretty damn fabulous. And, unfortunately for you, that’s the closest you’ll ever come to getting any of this (*slaps right buttock and snaps fingers in a Z-formation*).