Just after a drastic haircut I strolled down to my local shops while wearing a baggy jumper. It was a lovely walk without any honking or yelling to mar the scenery. I composed blog posts in my head and suppressed the bubbles of panic that rise in my stomach whenever I think about the HSC (impending doom!).
I got to the local fast food place and ordered chips without anyone looking at me askance. The server was polite and deferential. The chips were presented to me in half the usual time. Not stopping to wonder at these strange occurrences I munched chips in a somewhat grotesque fashion and wandered into the video store. The woman behind the counter was serving a gaggle of children, the type of children who take forever to decide whether they want to spend their last fifteen cents on gummy bears or antique easter eggs. I sigh and settle in for a long wait, yet the woman goes out of her way to get my videos before serving the gaggle. As I walk out of the store I hear “Sorry, I just had to serve the young man before I could get to you.”
Of course I had a panicked moment where my mind wrestled with the fact I could be considered male. I LOOKED LIKE A MAN?! THE WORLD IS ENDING! Then I looked back over the day: fast service and no harassment. I should do this more often I thought flippantly.
As I walk home I watch the constant parade of female joggers. I assume there is some machine nearby, let’s call it the EBI (Excercise for the Beauty Ideal) that manufactures them and sends them out into the world. I had smiled at these women on the way to the shops, not really paying attention. On the way back a woman in her mid thirties jogged past, I looked at her and started to smile like I always did. She flinched, smiled back and kept jogging. I have retired that particular jumper.
I wonder how many men see the flinching.