My normal work days are spent in relative isolation from the “public” of the library. I see many students as I walk through the library but don’t help them too often. My co-workers say little to me on the subject of my clothing choices, unless it is a passing compliment on a new dress or shoes. I am taking a Microeconomics class this summer that meets twice a week at night. Now I’m really in the blender, in terms of my appearance.
Last week it was the “weird” guy from California who sat next to me who made a comment. I was wearing my new turquiose blouse and peasant skirt that night. “Wow, a girl wearing a dress (skirt)!! I can’t ever remember the last time I saw a girl wearing a dress! Maybe things are different out here in Oklahoma, but in California, they just don’t wear dresses any more.” I didn’t know whether to thank him or snap back some half-joking reply.
This past evening, I wore a denim skirt, purple polo top, and tan striped knee-highs with brown loafers. Yeah, it wasn’t the prettiest outfit, but it was clean that morning! 😉 Another male student, with whom I have worked on in-class assignments decided to barrage me with questions throughout the class. “Do you wear nail polish? Do you have a tattoo? Where are you from? Do they dress like that there? What kind of car do you drive? Have you ever done anything fun?” I knew he was asking in a playful manner, so I went along. He finally stopped and exclaimed, “I’ve got you pegged!”
So, is this what people do in their minds when they see me on campus? I know it is a human thing to do, to find categories we’ve created into which to fit our experiences. I’ve never been on the verbal end of it before! The student then apologized, saying, “I’m just trying to figure out how someone so young could dress like you do.” I’ll have to ask him what he thinks I am at the next lecture.