One hundred and sixty-four

“Dress like a total hussy!!!!” (suggestion from Leah) while shopping and having lunch in Yorkville

Photo by Josh Rachlis

I felt like a cross between Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Olivia Newton-John in Grease (at the end) and Mimi Marquez from the musical RENT.  Walking in to a designer store in Yorkville (for those of you who don’t know – exclusive shopping district in Toronto known for its upscale stores, restaurants, hotels and very conservatively-dressed people) wearing shiny black tights, high-heeled shoes, a bra, a see-through lace top and too much make-up was an experience out of a movie.

I wish I’d had someone filming other people’s reactions, because I could only see glances of them when I walked by.  Canadians are often too polite to stare and comment, until it’s behind someone’s back!  But here are some of the reactions I did witness:

  • I biked there and a truck driver honked at me twice, each time he passed me.
  • An older businessman stared at me with his mouth open.
  • Quite a few double takes and some evil looks from a few older women.
  • A woman in Yorkville turned to her friend as I walked by and said “oh, wow”.
  • A “hello” in a drawn out manner and a turn of his head from a young guy walking by me.
  • A man with his son, stopped what he was doing and said “oh yeah” to me.
  • The store clerk while I was trying things on counted how many items I had more than once to make sure I wasn’t stealing anything.
  • I went for lunch with the Eco-comedian and I didn’t remind him that it was ‘out of my comfort zone’ month.  He looked really uncomfortable (his words are “scared”, “is this the same person”, and “what?!”) until he figured out why I was dressed this way.
  • The server wouldn’t stop glancing down at my boobs – and it was a girl!
  • And my very favourite: a girl working at one of the designer shops told me she loved my outfit and said that it’s very “in” right now!

I am generally a fairly conservative dresser.  I like to wear clothes that are a little bigger and comfortable, although still look nice.  I wear a lot of dresses or jeans.  I won’t even wear a bikini.  Before yesterday, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in this outfit (even though I’m sure it could have been a lot worse).

I found out quite quickly that it’s all about confidence.  I just strutted around like I owned the look and no one questioned me.  Women obviously wear stuff like this and according to the store clerk, it’s really not that far from what’s in fashion right now.  And I only spent $10 on my outfit!  Despite appearing confident, though, I actually felt a mix between sexy and totally uncomfortable.  As I was cycling I wanted to cry – to crawl up in a ball and not let anyone see me.  My back-up t-shirt that was in my bag kept calling to me.  I just wanted to blend in with the crowd – I always have, being an average height and weight, brunette, white girl.  It took a lot of energy to have people notice me, and it was fun for awhile, but I’m happy to go back behind my computer and my summer dress and become anonymous again.