So, my young lady and I passed a gloriously wonderful weekend, spending it all on walks to the market, new hot-weather clothes (a t-dress for me, a sarong for her), attending neighbourhood parties and poetry shows, eating fresh strawberries with cream, hooping in local parks, fooling around, and going to the beach.
I know. Our lives are just achingly difficult. (Next week: Naked camping with bonus bug repellant! Huzzah!)
But there was one sour spot in what was otherwise a totally spectacular weekend. We went to lunch in the Market, and some unknown individual talked to the management about my state of dress.
Reader, I was wearing a bandeau top. I suspect if I’d been wearing a cropped tank OR, like the gal at the next table over, a strapless tube-top, the Unknown Complainer (who was on a different floor of the restaurant than we were) wouldn’t have had a problem. But, since I was wearing the t-shirt equivalent of a strapless bra, Someone – someone who’d clapped eyes on me for all of, what, twelve seconds? – felt a need to freak out about it.
So the manager – a lovely young woman with good taste in earrings – came and talked to me.
Now, in fact, I had a second shirt available. I knew we were going to be spending some time in The Mall That Ate Downtown Ottawa, which is air-conditioned like woah, so I’d brought something that would provide a little more coverage because, hello, cold.
So, since I could do it, and since I really didn’t want to wreck my otherwise phenomenal day by getting into a confrontation, I pulled on my other shirt over my bandeau and got on with eating my lunch.
What bugged me about this wasn’t exactly that I’d been asked to change my shirt.
It was that (a) I’d been asked to change my shirt for the benefit of someone who (i) couldn’t even see me anymore, and, (ii) didn’t have the guts to complain about it to me, personally. But also, and equally to the point, (b) that my level of nudity (wearing a minimal, but definitely present-and-accounted-for opaque shirt) had been equated by the manager with a man who was wearing no shirt at all.
I hate that.
It’s been legal for ten years in Ontario for women, such as myself, to swan about actually in no shirts at all, but still we are met with this utter stupidity where, if you can even see where a woman’s breasts are, she is clearly half-naked and an offence to the well-mannered eye.
I am not actually behaving lewdly just because YOU are sexualizing my body.
And that’s my rant for today.
– Ms. Syren