Saturday, May 31, 2008

Smelling Good

A colleague and I were invited to a black tie benefit gala for the Whitman-Walker clinic last night. Our tickets should have been $1,000 apiece, but as we were guests of the caterer, we got in free of charge. Of course, as my usual attire consists of jeans and tanks, the sudden appearance of a black-tie invite sent me scrambling in a last-minute dress-finding frenzy.

I ended up borrowing a long black number from Cheshire Kitty, and I gave myself a pedicure, carefully styled my ordinarily wild curls, used all my best makeup, and donned silver stilettos. I don't clean up often, but I clean up well, and if I do say so myself -- I looked pretty damned good.

I love my neighborhood. In walking myself (and my now spotlit cleavage) to the Potomac Ave metro station in the broad daylight of late-May 7PM, two guys commented in the span of two blocks. Not catcalled, mind you, just commented, as if they were noticing a change in the weather.

"You look very nice today!" said one guy, which took me aback. I smiled and thanked him.

In the next block, an older gentleman walking with a younger woman remarked "Ooooooh-WEE! Someone's gettin' ready to go out!!" This of course made me, and the younger woman, burst into laughter. After I had passed them, the man turned around halfway down the block and shouted at what was now my back: "And you smell GOOD!!" Which of course made me laugh even harder.

Upon arriving at the reception hall, I sauntered through the doorway and opened my purse for the security guards, then stepped forward to get in line for the metal detectors. Ahhh, DC: likely the only city in the world that requires women in cocktail dresses holding wraps and clutch purses to go through metal detectors. I mean, come on -- I had to force my clutch closed after cramming my keys, phone, and a Stila lipgloss into it. How on earth would I fit a handgun in there?

At this point, one of the security guards called after me: "Oooh, you smell NICE!" ...For those keeping score, this was the second time in a half hour that strange men told me I smelled good.

But I have to wonder why guys always sound surprised when they say this sort of thing to me. Once, wearing a halter, I had a close male friend tease me by saying something patronizing and placing his hand on my bare upper arm. He then recoiled in horror and declared "Oh my god! You're really SOFT!"

And I suppose it's because I give off a somewhat hard emotional air, but all the incident could make me think was, What kind of cracky-ass girls have you been touching, that this surprised you?

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