“Well, look at her, missy”

Yesterday as I was exiting the subway a woman sitting by the doors gave me a dirty look. I didn’t imagine it — it was unmistakable. With her eyes and expression she said “well, look at her, missy.”

She was a regular looking business woman. Older, probably in her 40s … ha ha, see I’m kidding. That’s not older on my calendar but I felt like a teen being appraised by a schoolteacher who doesn’t get out much.

So as I walked down the platform after exiting the car I was filled with a strange sense of bewilderment. What was I wearing yesterday to provoke such a look? For the record, nice new jeans and a pair of brown leather boots that look a bit like this…but are a bit more shiny and pointy.

Also a short leather jacket and a big fuzzy orange scarf. Oh, I also had on my orange and beige plaid newsboy hat.

Nothing outrageous — in fact, I think I looked terrific yesterday. So what was that bitch in pantyhose and running shoes doing giving me the evil eye?

By the time I was out of the station and walking home I was feeling a bit better. I was more confused than angry at this point.

Sure, everyone looks at people. The highlight of my morning is looking at the other people at my streetcar stop. I live near a college so there are always a lot of young adults in jeans threatening to either fall off or get consumed by their asses.

There also a business guy who wears his pant too short almost every day (I feel like slipping him an anonymous note advising that men’s pants should break at the shoe).

But the thing is, I don’t look at them with a sour expression. I’m subtle.

Maybe the sour subway woman was not looking at my clothes.

Maybe we went to high school together and she was so jealous to see me in jeans on a workday (not to mention looking years younger than her) while she had to wear an uncomfortable (and unstylish I might add) suit.

Maybe she was just bitter to see someone so happy and carefree in a jaunty scarf and hat she could never pull off.

Maybe I pissed her off years ago at a summer job and she was surprised to see me again (looking, again, years younger).

Or maybe she wasn’t looking at me.

She was though! She really was.


  1. Do you think this post makes you sound a bit conceited? Maybe she was looking at you because you mixed too many patterns and textures — I’ve seen that scarf and hat.

  2. The long-standing and often-cited theory of adolescent egocentrism (Elkind, 1967) delineates two distinct but related ideation patterns–the imaginary audience and the personal fable. The imaginary audience refers to adolescents’ tendency to believe that others are always watching and evaluating them; the personal fable refers to the belief that the self is unique, invulnerable, and omnipotent. The patterns of thinking reflected by both constructs seem to capture and explain feelings and behaviors typically associated with early adolescence, such as self-consciousness, conformity to peer group norms, and risk-taking. Further, they have substantial intuitive appeal.

  3. Trapper, now I’m worried. Am I regressing?
    Will belly tops and loud talking with my friends (also in belly tops) on the subway be my downfall?

  4. We’re the same age, Trapper — give or take a year — so you’re not old. Just mature. I think the belly tops are still ‘in’ as I saw them around when the global warming was in full swing but most bellies are now covered for the winter. But ‘in’ our not I won’t be sporting one any time soon. I have enough anxiety showing off my upper arms ;-).

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