In what ways do you stand out?
When we were in Vegas last month, I had the luxury to spend a bit more time getting ready to go out than I normally do. Three nights in particular stood out, the night we went out for my birthday and I wore a red Ralph Lauren dress, black leather boots and pulled my hair into a simple updo, the following night when we had drinks at Vesper and I wore a black halter sundress, dangly earrings and green woven sandals with a 5″ wedge heel and our last night when we went off strip for Thai food and then to the bar at the top of Mandalay Bay for cocktails. That night I dressed down, wearing ripped jeans, flip flops and a sleeveless back floral summer top with a high neckline, my hair in a messy bun on top of my head.
Of all the nights we went out, it was the night I wore ripped jeans and flip flops that I felt like I got the most attention as I walked through the casino, and compelled me to make this status update to Facebook:
Realized last night the glances I received walking through the casino mean more now at 36 (and after having a kid) than they ever did before.
This is funny to me because of all places, I never expect to stand out in Vegas with it’s insanely beautiful women with their long hair and long legs and perfect skin and perfect everything else (I definitely DON’T stand out when I’m pool side). But to not stand out when I’m wearing designer clothes or impeccably done hair and makeup but instead the opposite? In messy hair and subtle makeup and $10 flip flops from Ross Dress for Less?
Maybe I stand out when I don’t try. Because I don’t expect to and therefore I don’t care if I do or if I don’t and then I exude a different sort of confidence than when I’m trying and I expect it.
I’m not sure.
I like to think I stand out when I’m at the gym, too – of all places. And not because I have the best body (I definitely don’t) or because I’m perfectly groomed with hair and makeup (the messy bun is standard during my workouts). I think the glances I get from the trainers and other members – and sometimes the comments or attempts at conversation – stem from the fact that I’m there, working my ass off, six days a week. In fact, a friend of mine pointed out to me just yesterday that not a lot of stay at home moms use their time like I do, and if they are working out, it’s not two hours a day, six days a week.
I like to think I stand out when I’m out with my husband or with friends because of the care I put into my hair and my make up (I’m aware that my two best features are my eyes and my hair and I try to accentuate one or the other when going out). There are others that would say the size of my breasts make me stand out (which I’m less likely to accentuate but will on occasion with the right top) or others have said my legs (which I will happily do in short skirts or dresses and a pair of Fluevogs).
I’ve also been guilty of standing out because of the cars I’ve driven – I definitely got a lot of attention when I drove the Type R but have also been recently getting a lot of attention in the X1. I get it, I guess, but I value that attention less than the attention I get at the gym because a) it’s just a car and b) that’s not attention I’ve worked hard for.
I’ve always stood out at work, because of the detail and dedication that I put into my projects and have been rewarded for those efforts through raises and promotions. I’ve also gotten a lot of credit for the type of work I’ve chosen to do the past few years – non-profit work with long hours and less money than my peers – and that I stand out for that particular reason is sad to me.
I stand out at the poker table when I’m the only girl playing, or, if there’s other girls playing, when I’m better than the others or simply more aggressive. I often have servers defer to me when dining with a group or get given the bill and I’m not sure what it is that makes me stand out in that scenario but it happens none the less.
I stand out in how I treat people, the ones I know and strangers I don’t. I was very well regarded, liked and respected by the clients I worked with at the homeless shelter. Shining in this particular area is probably the one I am most proud of.
I think I stand out as a mother, in my willingness to sit down and play with my kid and any other kids but not do it in a patronizing or begrudging way (playing is never a chore or a waste of time, in fact I possibly enjoy it a little too much). Other kids are drawn to me at the daycare gym, and when they put their arms up to me I can never resist, much to Clara’s displeasure. I’m a good mother, I know this for a fact, and I prove it by ignoring the housework on nice sunny days so that I can take Clara out to play, or how I lay with her while she naps so that she will get not only the benefit of a longer, more restful sleep if I’m laying next to her but she also gets the benefit of a rested mother – and who am I kidding, napping with her on a sunny fall afternoon with the windows open is NOT a hardship.
That’s how I stand out. It’s not much, but it’s enough for me. And I hope, some day, when Clara is comparing me to the mothers of her friends, I hope that it’s enough for her.