The others there with us get deadly silent, studiously avoiding eye contact.
“Isn’t your skirt a little bit too short?” Repeat. Face, wide open, honest. Eyes, wide. Just a little glimpse of maliciousness. You want to humiliate me. Shame me.
I’m sorry. Do I know you?
“What?” Your eyes give me a once over. A lingering once over. Lingering on my clavicle. My chest. My exposed thighs. You seem stuck there. I feel a little bit violated and a lot indignant.
Excuse me, my eyes are about two and a half feet higher.
Eyes widen again. Flick up. Contact. Just a hint of guilt. My own eyes narrow.
You’re just a stranger. Who gave you the right to pass judgement on what I wear? I don’t even know you, and you don’t know me. Your over-inflated sense of importance has caused you to believe that you have some sort of dominion over the women of this world.
Now, I’d like to believe the truth, that men are humans with impulse control. That men can control themselves and treat everybody as a person deserving of human respect. I don’t want to believe what the rape apologists say, that women can control the way men treat them just by the way they dress. That men are nothing but sex-crazed beasts who don’t know anything but the next target to fuck.
Don’t give me cause to believe that men are weak and evil. That men are, in fact, children incapable of reason and morality.
Aren’t your pants a little too short?
“Excuse me?” Eyes. Expressive eyes. They widen again. Surprise. The people around us are now perking up, listening in. Avidly.
Aren’t your pants a little too short? I can see so much of your ankles, and quite frankly, it’s making me uncomfortable.
Once over. Slowly. Linger on the eyes. The neck. The crotch. And finally, the ankles.
Yes, I believe you should do your duty as a man and cover up. You’re being such a shameless hussy, with those ankles exposed. What would your mother say if she saw you dressing like that? Wear proper clothing as it befits your sex.
It’s the same thing, isn’t it? You think my skirt is a little too short to be appropriate and my immodesty a little too vulgar to be charming. So you feel the need to correct me. Well, I find your pants a little too short to be appropriate and your ankles too improper to be seen in public. Please. Cover yourself before you embarrass everyone here with your loose morals.
Your face is bright red, I notice with some glee.
After all, with all that ankle on display, I as a woman can hardly be responsible for acting on what is clearly a come-on by you as a man, right? Clothing, after all, sends an important message. Immodest dress, in particular says “Please fuck me without consent.”
It doesn’t really matter what I wear, even if my pants are too short. Men’s bodies are meant to be put on display and simultaneously concealed. The vague hint of exposure is much more sensual than blatant nudity. Look, but don’t touch…Hah! This is an entitlement granted only to women. Your ankles belong to your wife, as does every other part of your body.
So you have zero right to pass judgement on the length of my skirt, when your pants are too short, too tight. Don’t talk to me about immodest dress when you can’t even wear a suit properly.
This is my stop. I leave.
A professor once said,
“Write your essays like women wear skirts: long enough to cover the important parts, but short enough to keep things interesting.”