The other night, went out to a bar with some folks-- two other guys and a woman. The woman is, admittedly, attractive. But all three of them are happily married with kids. We just had nothing better to do on a Saturday night than go out and boogie. (For the record, when I have a groove thing in need of shaking, there is no alternative.)
Anyway. The bar we went to was literally so caked with women that it was impossible to do anything but study their dress. As many of you surely know, I am a longtime admirer of the CSI/Sherlock Holmes method of using critical thinking of inductive reasoning about presented situations, usually pertaining to a specific person.
There were these certain women at this bar who were paid to (I am not even making this up) wear t-shirts about eight sizes too small that revealed their twenty-inch waists and forty-inch hips in all their unnatural glory. My first impulse, of course, was to ask each of them out to dinner. It appeared as though they hadn't eaten in several months. But I resisted my sardonic side and just shook my head.
By good fortune, I am fully capable of being in the most provocative situations while having absolutely no sexual reaction. In stark contrast to this, sitting across from any female and arguing Nietzsche or Shakespeare or Rousseau, or something equally higher-reasoning, is a *total* turn-on. It only works in person, however. I had a similar argument in a class yesterday with a lovely young woman.
Fortunate, indeed, as well, that she had a boyfriend, else I would've lost.
I can disengage my sex drive at will through what I call my "override". Whenever my personal feelings about someone reach the point of interfering with any other function of mine, in this case due to my personal belief in the dignity and sovereignty of other peoples' social contracts of a romantic nature, I can simply ignore it. Not many people can do this, and since I've made a point of never allowing my personal feelings to interfere with a perfectly good thought-experiment, not to mention that my sexual feelings are completely irrelevant 95% of the time, they rarely ever take precedence over anything. Ever. I digress, however.
Anyway. In this situation, I was rather starkly contrasted by the two (married) fellows I had come with. While I sat with my female companion without a word said between us, occasionally broken by a good song that made dancing a requirement of the situation, the two other guys were, for lack of a better term, rubbernecking it up at the bar.
What I found most fascinating wasn't so much a "how can they do that to themselves?" argument-- such an argument is moralistic and usually nebulous on my part, since not only have I never been a woman, I've never been an attractive woman pressured by society etc. to look the part. So while I can judge and re-judge all I want, the entire concept of appropriate attire for females is ultra
What I could judge, however, was not right but cost. Each of the outfits I saw one of these women sporting (save those who were on the job, since I presume the t-shirts would have been free of charge) were the same (for the most part) that I noted on the racks at various too-expensive stores into which I have accompanied various female companions of mine (somehow, they *all* have boyfriends, fiances and husbands-- do I mention this intentionally to simply avoid having to deal with the fact that they're also attractive women who I also don't objectify and respect greatly for who they are, or do I mention this because of the fact that the reason they respect me is because 'you're nothing like my boyfriend, he watches porn all day' and other such rationale? --a thought experiment for later). And somehow said outfits --at least the parts I could readily identify without blushing, like "pants" and "shirt", often cost well over $75 US (at the bare minimum, shoes and makeup and booze extra). I couldn't see the appeal, partly because I'm a cheap bastard, and partly because most of them really didn't look so hot anyway. If anything, I found it harder to accept that they would be willing to go to such extraordinary lengths just to make themselves uncomfortable. It doesn't follow.
By contrast, I went to Target on Sunday and bought a shirt and top, and wore that out, and my whole outfit (I'm even including the shoes) cost $50 US. I thought I looked rather smashing in it as well. I maintain high standards of physical appearance: while I've accepted that I'm not physically attractive, and that everyone apparently finds a boyfriend other than me, fictitious or otherwise, to keep me from being like those other guys-- like I'd suddenly turn into some non-gentlemanly, dishonourable defiler of maidens just because I came across a single girl-- I also accept that it doesn't hurt to look professional, dignified and decent in personal hygiene and dress. Sure, I don't drink and don't wear makeup, nor is it expected. But I figure it can't hurt to look nice.
The contrast here, however, is that I don't understand *why* a woman would go to such lengths to be uncomfortable. Why spend $45 on a pair of pants that don't fit right and ride up your crotch, when you could buy a pair of cargo pants for $20 at the discount place? Furthermore, why introduce yourself to a situation in which you're not only going to be ogled by drunken males, but do so in an outfit that would be so "flattering" (loose and pejorative use of term indicated by quotes there) that further magnifies your footprint? I can't get my head around it. To me, the basic requirements of personal dignity prevent me from being anyone else's source of amusement, *especially* on a sexual level. Nor do I equate "sex" with "entertainment" --to me, there are more important things than being turned on. So perhaps I'm ill-equipped (no pun intended) to comment on this whole subject. All I can tell you is that what I observed in the bar in question had me both wondering what I was missing, and shaking my head.
I'm using this as a less extreme example than Playboy or prostitution or some of the other points QT raised in her initial post simply because apparently what I saw on Saturday night is not only encouraged and expected of women, but the attainment of it is no less comfortable than the absence thereof. I don't understand precisely what about this whole "bar scene" is so appealing. But then, nobody was checking out my ass or my chest. (At least, I don't think they were. We left at midnight so I missed the wet t-shirt and bikini competition. Otherwise I would've commented on those aspects of this discussion as well. Not to mention that I didn't exactly get picked up.)
It intrigues me that this thread so directly anticipated my need to rant about this to someone. Thanks, your majesty!
I invite comment, of course, as always. Because I'm totally puzzled.