dressupOver the last year or so, I have come to a disturbing realization: young boys don’t seem to check me out on the street anymore.  Before your perv detector goes off, let me explain.  I am not looking to pick up sixteen-year-old boys, I simply noticed that their lingering glances or flirtatious grins are generally reserved for more nubile young babes, as well they should be.  But probably up until 25 or so, I could still make a schoolboy blush with a wink or a wisecrack on the street, and now it’s suddenly occurred to me that I am old enough to be their older sister from their father’s first marriage.

When did I stop being, in the eyes of a younger generation, a hot girl, and become a woman?

Part of this passage is due to the fact that my career as an office slave requires me to dress like, well, a grown up.  Long gone is the pink hair, the miniskirt and kneesocks combo, the torn fishnets and whimsical barettes I sported into my early twenties.  These indicators of youthful abandon no longer feel appropriate, and while I don’t hesitate to show a little skin on the weekends, I have naturally become more inclined to Dress My Age and feel uncomfortably self-aware when I do choose certain articles of clothing or accessories better suited to a teenager.

I catch the image of myself in the reflective doors of the elevator in my office building, and examine my face and body for clues.  What do other people see when they look at me?  A girl in sheepish clothing, or a grown woman?  If I’m in front of a client, is it obvious that I’m playing dress-up in an ill-fitting suit and strand of pearls, or do I project certitude and experience?  Can anyone else see the feather-light lines splintering around my eyes, or is the fullness of my cheek more apparent?  And how does my outward presentation versus my internal voice color my interactions? (more…)