Updated: Nov 18, 2019
Daily I worry about the weight of the world. About it collapsing under it's own burdens. So sometimes I just want to focus on smaller, relatively insignificant issues; like being ourselves at others expense.
How short is too short for short shorts?
Towards the beginning of this summer, I took a hiking trip with my boyfriend to a waterfall. We did an airbnb experience where we met up with a guide and she took us through the trails to the falls with our new puppy. After a late night studio session I crawled out of bed early for the hike, threw on some hiking boots and went make-up free, why would I put make-up on or get dressed up for a hike? Well, just ask our guide. She had obviously spent a great deal of time on her make-up that morning, with thick drawn-out lashes and coats of primer. But more interestingly to me, she was donning the shortest shorts I had ever seen. I mean, these things were tiny. With her long legs in hiking boots and low cut top, she looked to me more like she was ready to tail-gate at a college football game then show us the trails of the North.
At first I thought, 'Awesome, a pretty girl to show us around, she's just being herself' ...
but it soon became clear to me after her passionate stories that droned on and on about Miami, that she was the type of girl who craved attention and that is why she dressed that way, even as a professional in the middle of nature she was trying to be sexy. I was annoyed at first, mostly because of her stories about Florida when I just wanted to hear the breeze and trees, but very soon, I was overcome with the peace that my confidence didn't waver and how she actually brought out the comfort I felt in my own skin. I didn't even mind if my boyfriend checked her out, I mean hell how could you miss her ass hanging out of those shorts? And Lord knows I have my own distractions from time to time, but even with that mindset I was surprised how respectful he was. How he too seemed more thrown than pleased by her obsession with all things Miami. By the time it was all over, I was feeling great. Confident and loose, taking in the summer morning and paying loving attention to our puppy who was able to be off-leash, we were all just being who we were right? After all who am I to judge?
However, once we returned to the meeting point I got into the car and waited for my boyfriend to load our dog. I watched like a fly on a wall as our Miami hailing trail-leader met up with her newest un-expecting clients. It was a couple, about the same age as my boyfriend and I, and what I witnessed really hurt my heart.
I watched her approach the couple, and saw the way that the girl, whom had dressed as casually as one might expect to on a hike, immediately became self-conscious. I watched her face fall as her boyfriend, husband, slime-ball, whoever he was, began ooogling the trail-leader like a dog watches a bone. I watched his creepy smile break loose when she turned around to walk away, his eyes so obviously locked on her bared-all behind. And with spreading sadness I saw his girlfriend take off her sweatshirt and try to wrap it around her waist, attempting without success to keep his attention from the hiked-up hiker. I saw her sink inward, become nervous and fidget. Watching this other woman with cloudy eyes I felt such deep compassion for her. I wanted to yell out the window that she is beautiful, and I wish I would have.
As we drove off, my heart going out to that girl who immediately lost her confidence, I began to wonder: Aren't we done with sex sells as an intellectual achievement? There is so much interest to be discovered in the depths, why, why are people still so infatuated with their own exploitation? I was not threatened by this woman, even as one professional to another I felt 'if that's what she wants to wear to work then who am I to judge?' but upon seeing the look on that girls face. Caught so unaware. Not knowing she would be showing up to a paid experience in nature having to compete desperately for her boyfriends attention, I felt my mind shift about the right to 'be yourself' at any cost.
Pot Calls the Kettle Black
A couple weeks after this experience, I cut my first ever pair of denim shorts from some jeans my mom gave me. They turned out awesome which has NEVER happened when I attempted this feat. However, because of the way I had to cut them, they were the shortest shorts I've ever worn. Still not quite as short as the trail boss's, but short enough to feel the breeze on my lower behind. Now, would I wear them to meet a client? Never. But even so... when I do wear them, I like the way it feels. I like the way my long legs can move in them. Less restricted. Having discovered this, I again acknowledge that perhaps the trail boss was just doing what felt right to her. She is probably a smart person with little intention of hurting anyone. But she must know that leading the trail with her ass bare looking like she spent the entire morning getting ready for a hot date, is going to draw sexual attention to her, especially from unsuspecting men. She must know that women don't show up to her hike experience ready to compete for their spouses attention. She must know that there is a time and place to let loose. And yes, by loose I mean let your bottom hang out without restraint.
I know I know, really pressing deep stuff here. But hey, it's called Penny Thoughts for a reason. What did you expect? A dollars worth?