Okay, this is going to sound benign but it really bothered me today.
I was embarrassed to be wearing my bluetooth headset while grocery shopping. Now, had I been having a conversation with an actual person, I would have felt more comfortable. But all I was doing was listening to a podcast. Sometimes I bring my headphones with me because, in my mind, it’s socially acceptable to be wearing headphones in public. But having a bluetooth headset is geeky and lame.
A few things. First, nobody is looking at me. On Sunday afternoons it’s a couples’ shopping experience. I was in a trendy part of Chicago and it was a lot of guys pushing strollers while their wives held up scraps of paper while shelf-scanning. I saw many women in sweatpants and other “fell out of bed” gear. This is something my sister has never understood about Chicago. That women can walk around so casually without normal clothing. She lives in the West Village in NYC, however, where the most beautiful people in this country congregate.
The other piece is that even if a woman (I don’t seem to care about judgment from men) does pay attention to me, the odds she’s judging me as lame is minimal. I’ve learned that people think a lot less about (not of) me that I would have expected. Everyone has their insecurities we think are scarlet letters for the world to shame. It almost never happens. If I see an overweight woman I don’t think ugly thoughts or pity or love or whatever other judgments I might have. I just keep walking because I don’t care what she weighs. I hardly notice.
I’m sure the same is for me and my dopey bluetooth. I just kept thinking that some beautiful goddess will stop me and ask where the gourd aisle is and then I’ll quickly rip the electronic from my ear and stick it in my sweater-coat. Somehow I’ll get her approval because I’m not a geek.
I know we all have some version of this. Something we hide away to keep people from seeing us as we are.
Even though I dealt with a little embarrassment internally, I kept it in my ear during my shopping. I did take it out while at the deli counter because I didn’t want the meat cutter ladies to think I was a jerk barking orders while talking to somebody more important. Same thing when they were ringing up the totals.
There are things that screw me up a little that keeps this craziness alive and well. I was doing some work at one of our offices yesterday and a young woman walked in to do something. We chatted a bit about nothing, and as I was leaving she said, “You have great style – I like the whole ‘look’.”
This is funny because I have no ‘look.’ I wear a solid color t-shirt, jeans, and cheap Aldo shoes. I wear the same Banana Republic sweater coat everywhere I go. So, to hear that out of nowhere was flattering. Maybe she was flirting or just being nice, or maybe even lying. Who knows? Either way, it’s comments like that where I start paying attention to my looks.
What’s important is that I notice when I run those patterns of, “Uh oh – they won’t like me if they saw/knew/heard X.” That’s about me and my shame. The truth is though that some people will judge you and run away based on who you are. But, it’s been my experience that the ones who love you almost never run. And, if they do – screw ‘em. They were just a big fatso with a terrible haircut anyway.