At this point in the flu-season, I figure everyone has popped into Student Health Services at least once, and has seen those charming anti-smoking posters that read “It’s 30 below, your teeth are chattering and you’re thinking ‘I’m not addicted, I’m not addicted, I’m not addicted.’” As the temperature drops and the winter winds pick up, it’s increasingly evident – at least to me – that we’re in need of a new version of this poster that applies to seasonally inappropriate dressers.
On any given Friday night, whatever the weather, hoards of students can be found venturing out in search of a good time. While feeling hesitant to bring a puffy winter jacket to a dirty basement is completely understandable, choosing to embrace the alternative of going without one is not.
When I see a girl going out on a cold night in a short skirt and heels, I find myself feeling simultaneously jealous that they’re so feminine that even Mother Nature can’t persuade them into wearing pants, and embarrassed that girls are adhering to such a pointlessly impossible standard.
Two weekends ago, as whatever weird combination of snow and freezing rain fell sideways from the windy sky, girls ventured out in their sexiest outfits. In case you missed that, let me rephrase: It was a freezing night after an ice storm and these ladies decided it would be a good idea to wear mini-dresses and high heels. Call me judgmental, but what in the world are these girls smoking to make them pick out these outfits and think, ‘yes, yes, this is a good idea’?
Is it that boys are pressuring girls to maintain summer wardrobes along with sun-kissed and UV-ray fried skin and lemon juice-soaked hair? Is it that women are incapable of feeling sexy without their booties inches from freedom? Or is it neither, and that the girls who insist on wearing dresses in February are just suffering for beauty like millions of their foremothers did? I’m prepared to consider each of these options with an open mind.
Let’s say it’s the first scenario, and that it’s the guys’ fault – that statistically, their eyes go to where there’s less fabric more often, and that 4-inch heels add four points to your hotness number. Is it worth it? I get that sometimes the goal of going out to a party is just to get attention and hook up, but if boys are at the root of this trend then I think there are better ways than frostbite to send the message that you’re open for business.
Aggressive women are the sexiest animals on earth, so if the choice is to be freezing or forward, why not pick the more comfortable version and get the same result? If you’re a girl faced with the age-old conundrum of to wear or not to wear pants, then I implore you – lead with your inner sexuality. And keep that sexuality inside of some real clothes.
Speaking of the spark within, what about the scenario in which a girl doesn’t feel capable of connecting with her confidence without dressing for spring break? I have some friends who look gorgeous pasty white and some others who don’t. As far as tanning and hair coloring go, I vote for doing whatever it takes to summon your most confident spirit. At the end of the day, if you aren’t thinking “I look good” as you take a last look in the mirror, you can’t expect anyone else to convince you you’re beautiful.
As it applies to costuming, however, I believe in practicality. Make an outfit out of as little or as much as you care to, but then put on some layers. Even if it’s just throwing on tights or a cardigan, respect yourself enough not to freeze to death. Bring a bag to stash extra clothes in when you get to the party, or a block away, or at your other friend’s house who lives closer to your destination than you do. Even if it’s a small purse and thin tights, it’s going to be worth it.
Suffering for beauty has been a reality for women for centuries, but in an age when we have long since grown past crushing our ribs and binding our feet, I think the time has also come for women to remember that we’re whole people. If our party-going alter egos get pneumonia or slip on ice in heels, our trying-to-get-into-grad-school selves will have to deal with the consequences.
As soon as we start thinking past the weekend – and hopefully, using some of the suggestions above – I think we’ll find the rationality to abandon seasonally inappropriate party wear and treat ourselves like human beings instead of walking mannequins (or blow-up dolls, whichever metaphor works for you).
Let’s be honest, if a boy looks at a girl wearing next-to nothing on a 20 degree night and thinks, “oh baby,” instead of “oh, baby, are you OK?” chances are he isn’t going to be the sensitive, long-term type that would be worth getting yourself sick for anyway. In conclusion, ladies, as you continue to embrace your sexuality also embrace your health. And for goodness sake, embrace some pants.
Victoria Marchiony can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.