Let Your Woman Wear What She Wants
One of my favorite bits by Martin Lawrence is this joke he does about his girl wearing what he calls a “f*ck him dress.”* For those who don’t know what the “f*ck him dress” is, it’s basically the most provocative, edgiest, borderline-inappropriate dress in their wardrobe. Put another way, it’s the dress a woman puts on when she’s mad at her man. When she slips it on, it’s her way of saying “f*ck him.”
My first encounter with the “f*ck him dress” came in the midst of one of the worst arguments between an ex and I. To make up for some transgressions we don’t need to get into right now, I treated my ex to a day at the spa (No, that’s not how I usually apologize. Yes it was that bad.) Since I had some flowers to give her too, I told her to meet me at the spa. When she showed up, it was in a short, pink number I never saw before. The dress was so damn eye-catching I actually saw people looking at her before I saw her myself. She was making every single head turn and not in a “what is she wearing” type of way, but more so a “why is she walking alone” type of way. Keep in mind, this was in the middle of like a Thursday afternoon.
When she walked in the spa, still upset at me, I explained to her the details of the treatment, or at least I tried to. She looked incredible and I had trouble getting out a complete sentence without stuttering. Since I was trying to get back in her good graces, I kept my thoughts on what she was wearing to myself, but the truth is, I was pissed. I knew the occasion for the dress and I also knew when it was time for us to go back to my place, there was going to be an inordinate amount of attention given to her and indirectly me.
Two hours later, I meet her and no sooner do we walk a few steps outside of the spa does a guy yell out from his car, “Hey dude, if you dont’ treat her right, I’m going to marry her.” The commute home was going to be a long one and had I not just blown all my money on my apology to her, I would have hailed down a cab and had it drop us off as close to my apartment as possible. Instead, we had to take the subway to Harlem and then from the subway stop walk the five longest blocks of my life back to my place.
As we walked out of the 145th St station, my ex’s dress was causing a parade of sorts. Every guy walking behind her made an attempt to follow for as long as they could. One group of guys stopped what they were doing in a bodega, walked out, and followed her and I all the way to our apartment complex. All the while, my ex is still upset at me, and won’t even grab my hand to send a signal to the guys following. To her credit, she did not entertain any of them either. She walked as though she was in her own world while I walked like I was in the world I read about in “Lord of The Flies.” Since the guys were only following and weren’t saying anything disrespectful, I let them trail us, though I was ready to get jumped if they got out of hand. I was used to walking with girls in neighborhoods where guys made comments, but this was without a doubt the most tense I ever been.
When we finally walked into the apartment, my ex and I went into separate bedrooms. The tension from our argument was still thick, so no words were exchanged even though I wanted to ask her, “What the hell were you thinking wearing that dress?” Instead, I made dinner for us two and let her watch some television.
In a conversation we had months later, my ex revealed to me she knew exactly what she was doing when she decided to put on that dress. She said she only wore the dress one time, before we met, and the attention she received was too much for her to wear the dress again. But during this rough spot in our relationship, she felt it was necessary to make a statement to me that day. She said she talked to her mom before she put the dress on, and her mom said she should be careful, considering she would have to walk through Harlem to meet me but if she could be safe, she should wear the dress because I needed to be given a reminder.
All of this may seem absurd, but men are very basic creatures sometimes. Seduction, when applied correctly, can be an apology serum. Granted, I didn’t need her to wear the dress as I already had my apology plans in place, but I did learn another lesson by choosing not to react to her dress at all.
Every single day when a woman steps outside of her apartment, she has to be prepared for an onslaught of attention for which she will never ask. Of course, some items she has in her closet will be more gawk-inducing than others, but before we get all up in our chest about what is appropriate for our woman to wear and what is not, we have to understand what we’re saying about ourselves when we try to control her wardrobe.
Women are used to getting attention far more than us men and therefore way better at handling it whether the attention is negative or positive. Chances are my woman wore that dress that fits so tight it looks like a second skin long before she met me. And whether she’s bringing it back out out of spite or because she’s feeling extra confident and wants to let the curves out, I have no business telling her to change. Even if the dress makes me slightly uncomfortable, and I see potential for all types of problems getting from point A to point B, the way to remedy these things is not by guilt tripping my woman into thinking she’s not dressed properly because it’s sending her the wrong message.
The last thing I want my woman to think is I can’t handle her and the attention she receives from others. When we’re stepping out and she’s thinking of what to wear, she should not be saying to herself, “If I wear this, will my man be able to deal with it?” I want her to believe I can handle whatever she’s wearing wherever she’s wearing it. This holds especially true for me, a guy who likes to go club hopping with my lady from time to time or appreciates when my woman is dressed to the nines.
Whenever our woman wears a single-looking outfit, and we’re about to step out with her, we need to tighten ourselves up and make sure everyone knows, she’s not single. The way I see these moments of stunting is as a test of some sorts. Whatever my lady is wearing may be edgy, but if she can handle the attention, I better be able to do the same and she better be able to feel like I can.
In a separate incident with the same ex, she joined me for a friends’ graduation party. The celebration was at a swanky restaurant and the festivities would go late into the night. Since these were friends of mine she never met, I knew she wanted to make a good impression and how much thought she was putting into what she wore.
Things between us were a lot better at this time, so there was no dress-for-revenge thoughts running in her mind. Yet her outfit choice was still toting that line between good as in bad and bad as in good. I didn’t say anything about the outfit other than a genuine compliment on how great she looked and for the rest of the night, I remained if not by her side, never too far. In that space with dozens of people, I knew a lot of eyes were on her and so did she, but every single person who looked her way knew she came with someone, and it wasn’t cause I glared back at anyone
As her and I walked out of the venue near the end of the night, an older gentleman tapped me on my shoulder. I turned to him and he asked, “Is that your lady?” He was pointing in her direction as she was walking towards the car.
“Yes,” I said.
“Well, young man, I just want you to know, she was the finest woman in here tonight,” he said.
“Thanks,” I said. “I’ll make sure she knows.”
“Good but here’s what I want you to know,” he said. “My guys and I were talking about how fine your woman was, but we were also talking about you and how you carried yourself with her. Everyone knew she was your woman and you weren’t showing her off and you weren’t acting hard. You just knew how to be with her, so respect.”
I told the man thank you, then gave him a pound before I walked away to catch up with my ex with a lesson learned. If my woman can handle the attention she gets for what she wears when she is not with me, I can handle the attention she gets for what she wears when she is with me.
*For those interested in seeing the Martin Lawrence bit, check out the video below. WARNING: Language is all types of crazy so watch on low volume, with headphones, or away from coworkers.