Saturday, January 22, 2005

Digging Out

Waded up and out to class today, then dropped by Old Navy to buy a new pair of khaki pants.

Unfortunatley, the one pair I liked and wanted they didn't have in my size. Or, rather, they had it in my size, and it didn't fit, so I got the next size up, and *that* didn't fit, and the wash of failure and oh-dear-god-I'm-going-insane-I'm-working-so-hard-and-I'm-the-size-of-a-house feeling overcame me. I then realized they were an "ultra low-rise" cut, which means you *have* to buy them a size or two bigger than you usually wear.

Trying on regular cuts, I fit in them fine.

Panic averted.

Oh, to be white and middle class, with a cozy job with government ties and an apartment with hardwood floors and central heating! Oh, to be one of the few who can waste enormous amounts of mental energy angsting about whether or not she can fit into manufactured clothing sizes! To be so lucky!

Yes. I'm aware of the sheer idiocy of this. Now... to make myself stop.

In fact, the best way to make myself stop was to go upstairs and shop in the boys' section. The coats all fit better (broader shoulders, and the pants are longer - for some reason they don't sell women's khaki pants in a "long" cut).

I was wearing a bulky black peacoat of the Chicago variety, and had my hair tucked up under a navy green newsboy cap, and I was wearing the boots I've got that put me at about 6 feet tall, and I breezed past one of the saleclerks trying to sell Old Navy cards. I had just come from class, so I had that boxer's walk (read: very masculine walk), and she says behind me, "Sir? Sir...? Uh... Ma'am?"

I turned. She apologized profusely.

I, however, thought being mistaken for a boy was supremely funny, and told her it was no big deal, and no, I already have an Old Navy card.

I admit that much of my anger about the "girls vs. boys" generalizations as far as height, weight, and strength are concerned comes from the fact that I'm not and have never been very small. Not in height or weight or the breadth of my shoulders. So when I look at guys on the train, and I'm being honest with myself, I'll think, "You know, there's not much of a difference."

This is, of course, because I'm as tall as, or taller than, half the men in the country (the average guy is 5'9), and outweigh him by ten pounds or so (average guy is 180-90). So, in my universe, when I have my confidence back and look around, what I'm seeing are a lot of people who don't look all that differently, and whose differences have more to do with everybody trying to wear what they think they're supposed to wear and eat as much as they think they're supposed to eat, and pretend they're bigger or smaller or whatever.

When I was in Denver, I caught an interview with Taye Diggs on the Chris Rock show. If you know Taye Diggs, you'll know that he's absolutely beautiful. The guy smiles and the whole goddamn room lights up. Rock was harrassing him about being so pretty, and how women must go nuts over him, and Diggs said,

"You know the first thing women say when they meet me in person? -- `Damn, you're short!'"

For the record, he's about 5'10.

Funny, how we all get our little complexes based on what we're supposed to be like. Women always worrying about being too big, men worrying about being too small.

Kind of stupid, isn't it?

If the coats fit better in the guy's section, maybe it's not me that's fucked up, maybe it's the clothes.

Anyhow, it's a mess out here in Chicago, and I've got to go dig out my roommate's car from about six or seven inches of snow... and counting. For the record, it's not that she couldn't do this: it's just that if I do it, it won't take as long.

Gosh, you'd think that without a boy in the house, we'd be housebound, huh?

Bah. It's funny, how in real life, nobody bats an eyelash, but talk about being strong and capable and smart outside a "real life" setting: in cyberspace, in a classroom, anywhere in academia, and people freak out. They forget to remember all the people they actually hang out with, the ones who get up every morning and live their lives. If you don't get up and live, you'll die a lot sooner.

It doesn't behoove Natural Selection to select for dumb-and-weak-without-the-Y.

But I think this is one of those days when I'm preaching to the choir.

I'm off...

5 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

There's a big difference between being mistaken for a man from behind and from in front, though. :)  

Posted by Maureen

Anonymous said...

This is a true statement... 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

But... but... how can you dig Jenn's car out if both of you are girls? I don't understand! You need a man there, or the digging won't work.

Not from a strength perspective or anything. It's just that the penis is an ideal entrenching tool where snow is concerned. I just don't see how a girl is going to loosen up a frozen patch by writing her name with her pee.

Also, girls are traditionally not as good at sitting around on the sidelines going, "Yep, you ought to dig over there by that back wheel. That'd give you more leverage," and offering other bits of sage advice while the other folks actually dig. With two girls, I suspect that both of you might have ended up digging, instead of one person digging and one person supervising, and that's just not anywhere near as efficient as the masculine work/supervise-and-critique structure. How did you two know that you weren't digging right, or that this wasn't as much snow as had happened last year, when someone else had had to do it by themselves without a shovel or anything? Who offered to take your place for a bit if you were getting too tired, thus passive-aggressively forcing you to say, "No, dude, I'm fine, I do lots of exercise and am in great shape and don't need any help," and dig into the snow with pissed-off vigor?

Sheesh. Next time, just call one of your guy friends to come over and help 

Posted by Patrick

Anonymous said...

Ah, Patrick. 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

Life Lesson #1279: Wear the clothes that fit, they usually look better. No on is going to know or care that your Kahaki's came from one dept. or another.

On another note: God is not angry when he throws snow around. It's the heat that kills more people. That last serious heat wave in Chicago well killed over 600 people inside of 2 weeks. The snow will do in comparatively few folks. It will cover all the ugly parts of a city for a brief shinning moment, and most everything will look swell until the thaw and the sun do their damage. The trains will still mostly run on time. People will stay inside getting comfortable instead of fleeing from each other. Never forget Hell is described as hot for a reason! Snow in Chicago? Next you'll be telling people that they drink the lake water up there... What else is new? ;> 

Posted by VJ