Friday, May 25, 2012

Bikini or Biki-no, Door-to-Door

I wish this was my door

I have never liked door-to-door salesmen, evangelists, or folks pandering for donations. It's not that I don't want the product, the religion (but really, you can keep it. I have the Church, thanks), or to help the cause. I just don't want my hyper-sensitive, people-pleasing, over-active empathizing gland to force me to do whatever it is they need me to buy, convert, or donate.

Today, I finally got something back after years of anxiety. One of these brave few taught me a lesson.

A nice guy came by my apartment on his way through my neighborhood, saying he worked to help inner-city, in-trouble kids train for and find jobs. The gentleman was well-dressed and amiable and my roommate and I enjoyed chatting with him, as we all found something in common (ah, gotta love the human condition!).

He threw me off when, after a few fun jovial exchanges between me and my roommate, he pointed down at my leg and said, "Is that real?!"

That was my reaction, too. Do people have fake leg muscles they glue to their quad bone like the chicken cutlets some women put in their bras? Not that I know of.

Is that real? Yes, of course it's real!

"I run a lot," I laughed. He spent at least a minute more talking about how I could probably kick his butt, how I should go to the Olympics, how I probably make boys cry, etc.

Strong woman... oh, never mind.
Throughout the rest of our chat with this man, he kept referencing my legs and let me tell you, I was regretting answering the door in my running shorts. They are about an inch above my fingertip length and, yes, they show off my growing runner legs.

I look like a strong woman in my new runner legs and it reminds me of when I was in competition shape. I love the way that feels.

Until some guy I don't know points them out, continues to look at them, and talking about how I could crush inanimate objects between them.

While I can't control his thoughts and it's not my responsibility to control them, it brought my attention back to the Great Bikini Debate of 2012. Most people don't voice thoughts like his out loud, in fact it was quite uncomfortable when I realized a self-identified 45-year-old man was studying my legs.

I think he had innocent intentions. The man wanted us to donate to his cause, so he needed something about which he could laugh with us. However, he made an awkward decision when he decided to talk about my legs.

We can presume (not EVERY man thinks this way, but there is evidence that most do -- Jason Evert video and Young and Catholic's anecdotal evidence) that men have thoughts about what is under the clothing we wear. Yes, it's their responsibility to stop those thoughts from progressing.

This is a popular topic these days
However, had I chosen a pair of jeans, or even a pair of yoga pants (to address the tankini-covered belly vs. skin-covered belly issue), he would not have seen the distinction in my leg muscle. He would have seen that I was a strong, probable athlete, but not in such obvious detail.

Yoga covered legs wouldn't have been as "in his face" as my bare legs. I doubt it would have occurred to him to mention them as a topic of awkward conversation with the young lady who answered the door on his door-to-door day.

I'd post pictures of my legs in shorts vs. yoga pants, but that would explicitly ignore my point (while potentially proving it).

In conclusion, yes, wear whatever you want to wear. But maybe we could consider what we'd hear if men spoke their thoughts instead of keeping them private. Perhaps we'd sooner want to wear more fabric.


Modest Mama said...

Although I am sure he was well-meaning, I would have wanted to tell him to "Shove it!"

Liesl said...

Yes! I like the direction you're taking ;)

I like the last part the best - that yes, we can wear what we want because we are not ultimately responsible, but what we do does have an impact.

P.S. I bought a one piece. For $10. On clearance. At Target. Win win win win.

Anonymous said...

Hey Elizabeth! Keep on rocking! -Homeboy McCoy

bmmg39 said...

It's rude for someone to come to the door and to make continued references to ANY part of your body. It's one thing to notice that a part of a woman or man's body is uncovered (or "impressive"); it's another to continue staring or to make repeated comments about it. I tend to notice right away if a person is wearing shoes or not, or if a person has unusually large ears, just as some examples, but I'd try not to focus on them or draw attention to them.

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