This morning I stood outside in my pajamas with my ever-present and absolutely necessary cup of coffee watching the bus stop until my eight-year-old was safely on his way to school. I was watching from a distance of course, having long ago been banished from actually going within a hundred feet of the bus stop. A bus stop restraining order, if you will. Not that I can blame the boy. I am pretty sure the only thing that will kill your third grade cool-quotient faster than bed-head-mom-in-holey-pajama-pants is eating your boogers. While I stood out in the early morning cold I saw something that made me smile and made me think a little.
There were two neighborhood girls having a chat. They were older than the bus stop kids- probably about seventh grade. One was dressed in jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt and tennis shoes and the other girl was dressed in a bright blue well-fitting t-shirt and shorty pink and blue plaid shorts (no shoes yet....). Keep in mind it was about 50 degrees outside this morning. My first thought was "Oh that girl is crazy! Its too cold for shorts!" (Yup. Mom-me totally got the best of me.) And then I saw the explanation for the craziness. Tennis shoe girl pulled out two pairs of earrings and the girls started holding them up with the pink and blue outfit and giggling and talking in that mile-a-minute way that only girls can do. Speech peppered with "Ohmygod's" and quick smiles and tripping breathlessness. My mom-shock at the inappropriateness of the outfit for the weather gave way to womanly familiarity with such girly preening.
I knew that woven into their laughter was the name of the boy that all of this preparation was for. I knew that they were devising scenarios to place shorts-girl in the boy's line of vision. I knew that there was nervousness and exhilarated excitement in abundance in that female twosome.
I remembered being the same age and doing the same thing. I remembered some of my very favorite outfits. There was the blue plaid shirt with snaps instead of buttons that I wore with a blue butterfly clip (for just one side of my hair) and about five strands of beads that were some sort of fad at the time- you wore them all twisted up and with various clips to hold them together. I remembered my very favorite jeans in the seventh grade- blue with a pink flower pattern on them and zippers and bows at the ankles. I remembered what I wore to my first boy/girl party and my very favorite Homecoming dress (black velvet with silver straps). I saw the simple truth in the tableau in front of me. Most women won't say it. We say we dress for ourselves or for other women. And yes, there is an element of that, but to leave it at just that is like saying that a peacock has its feathers because they make him feel special.
Gentlemen, we dress for you.
We dress for you, not because we expect you to remember our specific purple shirt or that our earrings complimented the tones of our shoes, but rather because we want to be a vision in your minds that lasts beyond the latest Black Keys song or the taco you had for lunch. We wear our feathers (sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally) and our glitter and our perfume because we want to capture your attention and imagination. We want to become a part of your memory, whether you end up knowing us in a real way or just as a misty aura of a woman.
And that, to my mind, is beautifully feminine.