My Little Red Dress

I had a fantastic time at the Dark Side on Saturday, the theme was Gothic Beach Party and frankly I think I looked amazing. Also The Jellicle cat came and, in the words of M-i-L totally pwnd the dancefloor. He so cute!

I didn’t think twice about what I was wearing, I’d spent weeks being totally uninspired by the theme, all I could think of was black and white striped full piece bathing suits and I don’t have one of those nor the wearwithall to make one. Then it occurred. somewhere after my thoughts on what swimming costumes I do actually own (two: one purple onepiece and a black and pink two piece) that I’d go with my bottoms and some properly gothy black electrical tape over my nipples plus body painted palm trees.

I didn’t think twice once I’d got the idea, and why would I – it looked damn good, especially with my newly dyed bright pink hair. The I got to the Dark Side and within about ten minutes six people, none of whom I knew had told me I was ‘so brave’ for wearing what I was. I didn’t feel brave, I felt gorgeous, up until the comments at which point I asked FJ and Jozeph (two people practically guaranteed to tell me I looked fantastic) because I was wondering whether I am, finally, too old to carry this sort of thing off. The Jellicle’s efforts have resulted in a certain amount of extra podge and the prospect of Peru only gets me training so hard. I felt really… I’m not sure, off. I want to be me, but I don’t want to force myself on people and getting naked in a public is pretty much forcing myself on people who don’t really want to see that and if I don’t look as good as I think I do, that’s kind of unfair.

But, of course, I actually looked amazing and was just briefly non-confidant, but, I didn’t even consider that I shouldn’t wear so little for what should? shouldn’t? be more obvious reasons.

See, right at the end of the night, just before the final song, a guy walked up past me and quite deliberately grabbed my boobs before speedily continuing to walk. I was really pissed off, so I walked right after him, grabbed him and told him exactly what I thought before he shame-facedly mumbled something I assumed to be an apology (and took as one) and then I went back to dancing.
What really got me, right in the middle of my tummy, was looking up after the lights came back on to see the guy pointing directly at me whilst talking and laughing with his mates. Thinking I looked a bit on the fat side was nothing on the sudden feeling of total power loss I had then.

In roughly twenty seconds whilst I was telling FJ exactly what the lads behind him were doing my mind raced; the point that I’d had been grabbed had been about ten seconds after Jozeph had moved and the only point I’d danced alone (bizarrely enough for me) that night, (I highly doubt it was actually anything as planned as that), if I told one or two particular male friends of mine then there was a large possibilty that the guy would have ended beaten up – and for a few seconds I really wanted that to happen, if I told Non-Poncey Goth I could probably have got the guy and his mates thrown out…of course not much point ten minutes before chucking out time. Then one of his friends came up and I got a full apology.

But I found it interesting that I’d never even considered someone groping me whilst dressing or whilst anyone was telling me I was being brave wearing electrical tape. Is that because everyone’s friends at the Dark Side (though I didn’t recognise a large number of people there on Saturday), is it because I have completely forgotten to be careful, is it because I’ve been around good men for too long, or have I just got used to being able to deal with guys who want me that I get shocked when they do what men do and point me out to their friends?

I don’t know.

I felt confused and pissed off that the apology had meant nothing to him.

I was a bit concerned that for a brief moment I wanted some man to make physical violence happen for me.

Feminism happens somewhere in side me, just not all the time apparently.

7 thoughts on “My Little Red Dress

  1. Well, first off, I thought it was a good Mishy outfit, and very much in the spirit of the theme for the night.

    I’d guess that a major contributor to the deep feelings that you experienced would be down to dear old set and setting. As any of us who have gone regularly to the same small club for years will know, it becomes very much like home. The place is always full of friends, and everyone is having a good time with no hassles. Of course, every once in a while one will be rudely reminded that it is not a private space, but a public space, usually by the appearance of a number of new folk. Your outfit was designed to draw attention, and whilst people would express that politely at a private party, they feel less obligated to consider the feelings of strangers at a public one.

    Grabbing you, is of course, out of order however you look at it, but again the context makes it all the more shocking. Would you have gone to one of the mainstream clubs in town in that outfit?

    (As an aside, I’m not entirely sure that it’s a feminist principle that nudity is only ok when the naked people are pretty, but, hey, I’m no expert!)

  2. A couple of points:

    1) The guy’s a sex pest and deserves a good solid kick in the balls.

    2) If one of his mates came up to you and apologised for him, you can pretty much guarantee he would have got a fucking good roasting – by his own friends, from whom it’d mean a lot – afterwards.

    3) So you wanted to cause violence to happen to him. That’s natural, normal and perfectly understandable. But you didn’t. That’s something to hold your head up about.

    4) If you had got someone to batter him then a) you’d feel like shit for discarding your non-violent principles, b) one or more of your friends would end the night in police custody, and c) they and potentially more of your friends (and maybe even yourself for causing the assault) would be barred from the Dark Side.

    5) It was an imaginative, well-implemented costume, and pretty unique. However… yeah, it probably did push the boundaries a little much for a town club. A campus barcrawl or a private or society party – not a problem. (Your Birth of Venus costume was more revealing than that, and that was pretty much accepted.) It’s the principle of creating different work for different audiences, I suppose. I dunno, maybe with more electrical tape (though I can’t think how that’d work, aesthetically)?

    6) From the photos at least, you looked fantastic. That outfit worked really well. Don’t get paranoid about podge, because it isn’t really there.

    Chin up, hon. It was a great outfit. I loved the palm trees (Lucrecia’s work?).

  3. (Not sure why I put that as numbered bullet points. I think to organise it in my head as I typed. Pretend it’s all just paragraphs.) 🙂

  4. There are, true, feminists who say ‘do it for yourself’ as regards defence. OTOH, you collared him. That’s a lot of that dealt with.

    There are also feminists out there who’d happily say that if there is a friend who could visit the violence on them better, use them. They are often the type who don’t worry too much about the gender of the friend.

  5. I am most ashamed of my ‘get a mate to beat him up’ response because it would seem to show absolutely no respect whatsoever for the aforementioned mates.

    Would I wear the costume to another club? Well, actually I have worn something similar to that costume to Liquid (it’s no longer called Liquid I know but I can’t remember it’s new name) and whilst I knew without doubt that I was going to have to stay close to the group of mates I was dancing with my attitude was largely the same. Because I stuck close to my mates however I do not remember getting grabbed like that there. I’d wear that sort of outfit to Sainsburys if I could. I think mainly I hadn’t thought through where to be because of set and setting whereas that time in Liquid I did because I knew I needed to.

    As for feminism, I can wear anything i damn well want as long as I think it’s appropriate and looks good. But as a Mish I’m aware that Mishes are essentially young creatures and I don’t want to offend people by getting inappropriately naked, not because I look particularly bad but because nudity is not something that this culture finds appropriate. Not sure that made sense, it’s a cultural thing rather than a feminist thing in my head anyway.

  6. "I am most ashamed of my ‘get a mate to beat him up’ response because it would seem to show absolutely no respect whatsoever for the aforementioned mates."

    …I honestly wouldn’t say so. But I think we’re coming at this from fundamentally opposite positions.

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