The right to be attractive
Commentary, October 25th, 2017
In this post-whateverism world we’re supposed to be “politically correct”. We’re supposed to treat people with respect, not objectify them and certainly not discriminate against them on the basis of their gender, age, sexuality, race, disability, religion, height, etc, etc, etc. I get that and I buy into it.
The place where I work at the moment has an army of worker bees who run around keeping coffee flowing and shared spaces clean. They’re a great bunch, mostly Eastern European, incredibly friendly and they do a brilliant job keeping startup founders and digital freelancers high on caffeine.
Their uniform is a black polo shirt and black trousers. Because they spend most of the day moving around, most of the women wear leggings. Which is where the confused conversation comes in.
As I’m making coffee one of the worker bees is chatting with a rather intense young woman who turns up from time to time. The conversation was about their uniform, with the young woman questioning why this bee had been made to wear such tight leggings and the men had not. When I say tight, this particular bee was wearing the kind of yoga pants that suck up a little between the cheeks and she had a really nice curve to her bottom. Distractingly so, I’d say.
There was a bit of back and forth about choices and frankly I think the interloper was getting a bit preachy. Being “customer”, the bee wasn’t quite in the position of telling her to fuck off, but I kind of picked up the vibe.
“Look,” said the woman (and I paraphrase here), “I’m just saying I don’t think it’s right you’ve got to wear spandex and the guys don’t.”
“Oh, I don’t have to,” came the reply in heavily accented English. “I just have a great ass and I like men to look at it.”
It was pretty hard not to start laughing. The young woman, no doubt setting out with good intentions, looked crestfallen.
“Look,” said the bee, now bringing me into the conversation, “if he likes my ass and it makes him happy that’s cool. If he says something disrespectful, that’s bad. If he touches my ass, that’s bad. Look, not touch.”
The young woman looked at me as if I had committed some heinous crime. Unfortunately I started laughing.
“What’s so funny?” she demanded. “What’s so funny about that?”
“People are funny,” I said and decided then was a good point to walk away.
I saw the bee again later that day and she apologised for bringing me into the conversation. She was getting annoyed with the woman preaching and explained it felt like she was being told what to do and think.
“I am young and attractive and I like to feel good,” she said. “That’s not wrong.”
No, I reassured her, it most certainly wasn’t.