Yesterday I wore Housemate Andrew's skinny red jeans to work as his birthday present. While he was having National Take A Skull To Work or School Day, I was having Red Jeans Day. Granted, it was a strange birthday request, but I obliged, because even talking about it made him titter like a six year-old girl. And because I have a habit of saying yes to most unusual requests, figuring that it might be the only time in my life that a person asks me to do that particular thing, and if I say no, then I will never get to have that experience.
So I believe the theory behind the jeans was that they would be tight and lairy and slightly porno (as they are when Andrew wears them), and as I work in a very busy bookstore climbing up ladders and alphabetising and lugging boxes, it would cause me quite a nice amount of humiliation to have to wear them in public. Unfortunately we did not factor in that Andrew is a man (albeit a very skinny one), and I am a woman, and the jeans were not tight on me at all. In fact they drooped around me in a very bad 90's jeans sort of way (does anyone remember the brief and bad 90's phase of coloured jeans in very heavy chunky denim? In hues of bottle green and wizard purple, to be worn with a wide leather belt and Harley Davidson belt buckle? That was me yesterday).
I looked bad. I looked unfashionable. And I found out something about myself - I am really vain. It was unbearable having people look at me wearing such dorky pants. I felt self conscious walking to get my coffee. I hid in young adult fiction whenever handsome men entered the shop. I wanted to yell out: I am stylish normally! Really! These jeans are a joke! I don't normally dress like this!
I thought I was fairly accepting of public humiliation. I like to take photos of myself wearing stupid outfits for the amusement of my friends. I am the first person to don a costume for a costume party (as an aside: we all know that most people dress for themed parties in a way that makes them appear as if they don't care and as if they are making fun of themselves, but in reality they are always trying to look HOT. Wrong-hot). Sometimes I wear very idiosyncratic clothes, purely because I feel like it, because I feel as if it expresses some inner state of mine, even though I know I may look a bit weird on those days.
But this. This was out of my control. I didn't choose the jeans. The jeans were not being worn on my own terms. And it was very, very uncomfortable. I learnt that I don't deal well with not being in control of how I present myself to the world. Oh, vain, vain, vain!