An argument that I often found myself in with a particularly unpleasant ex of mine was with regards to the way that I liked to dress on nights out. He didn’t like my tendency to wear short skirts, or tops that showed off my cleavage. His reasoning was that I didn’t need to attract anyone because I had him, and so the only possible reason for my wearing certain clothes was that I must be desperate for attention from other guys and thus I was not a good girlfriend.
I tried to explain that this was not the case, and that I just happened to like the way that I dressed but he just didn’t get it. Nowadays, whenever I hear men like him moaning about girls that ‘dress like sluts’ or wear ‘too much’ make up, I can’t help but want to scream: boys, we don’t do it for you!
Because we don’t. When I don a gorgeous pair of high-waisted denim hotpants, it isn’t because I want to advertise the goods to anyone willing to take a look. I do it because it’s a sunny day, or because denim shorts are in fashion, or because they happen to be the only things that go with my cropped tartan t-shirt. Likewise, when I try on a low-cut leather dress and gasp about how ‘OMG my boobs look amazing,’ it’s nothing to do with what some random on the street might think!
And high heels! Now, I’m not a one for high heels (how does anybody walk in them, seriously?) but even I can’t help but be awestruck by a particularly beautiful studded stiletto or a staggeringly high platform. The stereotype of the young woman obsessed with designer bags and shoes isn’t anything to do with her attracting a suitable mate. It’s just something innate, something about the point of a shoe, or the clasp of a bag that draws them in.
It’s practically a rite of passage for girls to watch their mothers getting ready in the mirror. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve paraded about in my mum’s long dresses or raided my gran’s jewellery box. Do you think that I was thinking about the snotty-nosed boys at school as I did so? Of course not!
Boys, when we pore over glossy fashion magazines, we don’t do it for you. When we see the trademark red sole of a Louboutin shoe, the stab of jealousy that we feel has nothing to do with you. When we finally create the perfect arch for our eyebrows after months of trial and error, the tears of relief that we cry are not for you. When we experiment for hours with eyeshadow palettes, creating looks that wouldn’t be out of place on a catwalk, those looks are not for you. When we squeal because we received the softest ever faux fur coat for Christmas, it isn’t for you. Our sense of wonder when we discover the power of contouring has nothing to do with you. We don’t spend our monthly budgets on a few costly products from Mac for you!
When we try on a million different outfits and end up with piles of clothes everywhere, it is not because of you. When we call our friends frantically before every night out asking what they’re wearing, it is not because of anything you have done. We don’t care that you hate maxi-dresses because they cover us up, or that you favour wet-look leggings because they make our bums look good. We don’t care. Really.
So please, boys, next time you see a beautiful girl in a nightclub wearing skyscraper heels, lashings of cheap hairspray and a dress that wouldn’t look out of place at a gypsy wedding, just remember: it isn’t for you.
*Photo credit: Vogue Japan