Date nights. I love them. My husband and I try to go out at least once a month for a date night. We are fortunate that his parents live close by and since we can drop the kids over there to spend the night, sometimes our date night turns into a date weekend. It has proven to be just what we need, in an often stressful everyday life with young kids.
Well, that’s all well and good, but what does this have to do with style? To answer that, I think I will split this post into two parts. This week, I want to talk about a situation that happened while we were out on our recent date night. Next week, I will talk about what I wear for date nights, where we typically go, etc. Let me begin with Saturday morning.
My husband was supposed to take the kids to the grandparents' house in the morning, and then we were going to go out alone, to shop for a few things that he needs. But, plans changed when he got a call from work...they needed him ASAP. So, he dropped the kids and then left straight from there to go to work, promising me he’d be back by noon. Well, that didn’t happen. I went shopping alone, ate lunch, did my workout, showered, dressed, danced, sang and even had time to surf Facebook before he came back. Growing irritated, I had texted him asking if he just wanted to meet me at the restaurant... or if I should just plan on going out solo. He insisted that I wait. And, ya’ll...I’m glad that he did.
He finally arrived home around 5pm, and he insisted that he take my pictures for me...even though we were both starving. This is what I was wearing that night, My dress came from Thredup, and my shoes were a gift from a friend.
Everything else was pretty normal, until we got to our favorite restaurant/bar for happy hour. I won’t say which one. Matt and I sat at the bar, as per usual. I noticed behind us, at one of the booths, there was a group of burly guys being a bit loud and rowdy. We didn’t really pay them much mind, until I had to use the bathroom. They were clustered around their booth which was the closest one to the hallway where the bathrooms are. Now, ladies, I know you will understand this feeling - you know when something doesn’t feel right, the hairs on your neck stand up, and there’s a knot in your stomach. I told my husband that I didn’t want to walk by them. He offered to go with me, but, as everyone should know, you never EVER leave your drinks unattended. So he stayed, and I...near nausea with nerves...walked past the group of guys.
Now, I’m going to take a minute here to side step. I am used to people staring at me, I am used to men complimenting me, I’m used to pick up lines. I don’t mean that to sound self absorbed, but I want to note here, that I know the difference between what happened next, and a normal compliment. Most men that I’ve come across, offer a compliment in an appropriate manner, which I love. I love compliments, when they are given in an honest, not creepy way. But that’s not what happened here.
The guys were blocking the path to the bathroom, they saw me approaching, stared at me and nudged each other. I made no eye contact. The cat calling started, “hey girl”, “ain’t she a sweet little thing”. I said “excuse me”, and they let me squeeze by. After I came out of the bathroom, one was waiting outside the door in the hallway. That feeling arose...the fight or flight feeling. The guy watched me, and said “Hey”, but I kept walking. Again, being forced to barely squeeze through the rest of them. A few others said “look at her!” some even whistled.
My husband was watching very closely and he looked irritated as I came back. He asked if I was OK. I told him what happened. The guys behind us stared and watched us the entire time. Unfortunately, I had to use the bathroom again. I waited for as long as I could, hoping that they would leave. I turned to Matt and said “If one of them touches me, I will fight, I will scream for you, and you better come running.” Matt said he’d be there in a heartbeat. The same thing happened this time, the cat calls, they played the game called “there’s not enough room for us to move and let you walk by unscathed”. Because that’s always fun. As I came out of the bathroom a different guy was standing outside the door. It was not a coincidence. They were hunting me, sizing me up. I was scared. He said something like “hey girl.” I ignored it, kept walking, but he followed me. I hated having my back to him. As I approached the rest of them, one of the most vocal and abrasive guys was standing right next to me, and as I squeezed by, he said “that’s a nice dress”. I responded with “thanks” and kept walking. He was so close to me that his hand brushed my leg as I squeezed past. That was not a coincidence.
As I approached Matt he was visibly angry. What made the situation even worse, was that the most brazen one of them, kept pacing behind our seats...back and forth, staring at Matt, watching me. There was no reason for it, except to intimidate. We waited at the bar until the guys gave up and left. Matt watched which way they went, and when we left, we went the opposite direction.
Matt said to me later “I am thankful that you didn’t come out alone. This could have been very different”. And, he’s right. Matt also knows that I am not one to back down or let someone else dictate how I should dress. I know, we all know, how some people think that when women wear short dresses that we somehow beg the wrong attention. If this situation has taught me anything, it would be that I must start teaching my kids now, how to give appropriate compliments in a meaningful way. A compliment should be given to uplift someone, not to intimidate someone. For my son, I used this story to let him know that It’s never OK to purposefully intimidate or scare a woman. Compliments are lovely. Intimidation is not. He is to understand that a woman can wear whatever she chooses and that choice does not open the door for bullish behavior. For my daughter, I used it to teach her to always trust her instincts. If a situation feels wrong, it probably is. She is always to be present and aware of her surroundings. She is always to have an escape plan, and to fight if she needs to.
I know this is a long post, but it’s one that I feel must be talked about. As a woman, and especially as a woman who is in the social media world, who is not afraid to wear what she likes when she likes, I will not let this deter me. It scares me, but it also fuels me. I am a pretty nice person, I will say thank you to a compliment, I will say thank you if you hold the door for me, I will say excuse me when I need to pass by, but never ever mistake my niceness for weakness. Yes, I am tiny, yes I smile a lot, yes I wear heels and sometimes short dresses, yes I love and welcome compliments...but let's remember that a compliment should be used in uplift and to make someone feel good. You know, like rainbows. This one that someone drew downtown made me giddy, and it didn't even have to say a word. So, give compliments like rainbows give smiles...freely and beautifully and never dark and dreary.
Stay tuned next week when I discuss date night outfits, unless I get distracted by fall style... because that's definitly possible. Forget winter...fall is coming! :)