I Ghosted My Friend For Saying I "Dressed Like a Slut"

Evie M.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4DKc1i_0YyaEWv100

Photo courtesy of the author. I call this ensemble "The Offender"

I have a question for you. Have you ever been so astounded by the words spewing from someone’s mouth all you could do was stare?

I ask because I found an old shirt in my closet today, black, long-sleeved, low-cut, one I wore as a uniform when I used to deal cards. The shirt jogged a few memories. Namely, the last day I wore it, and my “friend” Mark told me I “dressed like a slut”. Then, he announced we needed to go shopping for more conservative clothing.

“I can say that because I’m gay,” he’d added, placing his hand on my shoulder. 

Yeah, he went there, and no, he wasn’t being cute.

Being a woman is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of gig.

Maybe I’m a rarity, but I don’t care what people wear. Please tell me I’m not alone because judging someone for the clothes on their back is crazy. You’d think letting people do what they want to do and wear what they want as long as no one’s getting hurt would be a no-brainer. 

Also, you’d expect people not to use their sexuality, status, gender, relationship, whatever as a pass to say some heinous shit — especially not someone who considers themselves your friend. Or at least that’s what I expect.

But anyway, back to the slut-shaming.

When I dealt bar blackjack, my boss let us wear whatever we wanted (within reason). These dress-code standards aren’t the norm, of course. I worked in the night-life industry. There’s a time and place for certain kinds of dress. But my employer understood the fundamental concept a woman’s wardrobe doesn’t impede the quality of her work. And I say “woman” because how often do you see men get judged for what they wear? Prove me wrong, please. I’ve never seen it happen.

If a guy shows up to a party in jeans and a t-shirt, it’s normal. If a woman dresses up, she’s trying. If she doesn’t, she looks like a slob or my favorite, “she looks like she needs to shower” — as your hair is still damp from the shower. These are real examples from my life. I’m sure a lot of you have your own. And countless other women have been called a “ho” or a “slut” if you want some more.

They were called these names while clothed for having the wrong last name, driving a car. Also, according to a study by Cornell University and iHollaback, eighty-five percent of U.S. women experienced street harassment by the age of seventeen. Seventeen. Eighty- five percent.

I still remember when I was sixteen, and a grown man walked by and said, “God damn, girl.” I was wearing jeans. And I was a child.

We can’t win — being a woman is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of gig. That’s not a complaint, either, it’s just the way it is. I at least hoped my friend would see beyond the poly-blend, but I guess that was too much to ask. 

“You dress like a slut and this is a kid’s show.” 

The first time Mark saw me “like that”, as he put it, he’d hired me to play the flute and piccolo for a pit orchestra. He came to drop off the music during my shift at the bar. 

When Mark found me, he took one look at my shirt, a simple black tee with the top button undone for comfort, and pursed his lips before moving toward me.

At the time, I thought the face was due to the nerves of meeting a stranger. I couldn’t imagine someone would have a problem with a shirt.

The look wasn’t because he thought I was cute, either. I knew “Wolfy Eyes” when I saw them. (Also, Mark liked men). 

No, looking back now, the glance was distaste. He wore the same stank the next time he visited me at the bar with his bad-tempered, Coke fiend boyfriend who’d signed up for a card tournament. This time, though, he’d attached his unwanted and unnecessary opinion.

Mark and I had actually become good friends when he decided to open his mouth and be ridiculous. What’s funny is one of the reasons I wasted my break time was for him to approve the dress I wanted to buy for the show. I was concerned about the tattoos on my arms showing, but Mark had other worries.

When I handed Mark my cell-phone, he skimmed the photo and told me, as he sipped at his beer, “Yeah, the dress fine. Thank God. We need to get you more conservative clothes. You dress like a slut and this is a kid’s show.” 

 You dress like a slut and this is a kid’s show.

WTF? 

Mark’s words were so dry, so matter-of-fact, there was no room to mistake them as a joke or “sass”. When he noticed my eyes widen, he added the salt: “I can say that. I’m gay.”

Young women are dying because of slut-shaming.

Why is slut-shaming even a thing? 

The entire point of women’s suffrage was to earn basic human rights. That includes the ability to express ourselves the way we want, like everyone else, doesn’t it? 

Am I missing something? 

I’m not positive how or why a top I got from TJ Maxx could set someone into a tizzy. Then again, there are girls in schools sent to the office for “distracting clothing”. It happens enough students are now staging walkouts, movements.

Young women are even dying because of how people throw around these harmful words.

Clothing is clothing — and opinions, when unkind, should stay behind your teeth. I didn’t talk about Mark’s “stylish” haircut he thought hid his receding hair-line. Or his khakis/Birkenstocks/polo-that-accentuated-his-gut combo.

Mark’s whole look screamed, “I have a permanently clenched butthole,” as much as mine said, “forty-year-old-trying-too-hard-goth-b***h”. This is what a a man drunkenly slurred at me one morning playing blackjack before pooping his pants right on the spot, anyway. I’ve been called a few things. But it’s my choice to wear what I want as much as it was his. And I was taught unless someone’s in trouble, mind your business.

Can we also talk about how Mark used the “I’m gay” card to get through the gate? Why do people do this? To anyone who thinks this is an acceptable way to be — you’re an absolute disappointment.

Using this backward logic, I could’ve told Mark he should probably put down Grindr for a secon and breathe. And I could say that because I’m bisexual — part of the team.

No. Life does not work like this. Normal, good people don’t work like this. Gay or not, there’s no excuse for being a straight jerk.

He wore me down with his “concern”.

I wore the dress on opening night as planned, pretending not to notice the way Mark scanned me when the pianist complimented my dress. Then he nodded and went on rummaging through his libretto. The show’s entire run, Mark watched me.

 We never talked about what he’d said at the bar. At the time, I’d thought, “wow, rude,” and let it slide because he had a lot of good in his heart. But constantly feeling as if you have to look and be a certain way to please people — that’s not friendship. And I realized this the very last time he ever visited me at work with another gig. 

 When Mark handed me the music binder, he gestured to my uniform top. It was a simple company t-shirt with the neck-line cut to rest on my shoulders. Boss approved. Not a big deal.

“We’re going to be touring a lot of churches, and sweetheart, you’re just never appropriate. I worried about even giving you the job but the I don’t know anyone else who can play the music.” 

The best part is he said this as another dealer walked by with the exact same shirt. In fact, I’d jacked the idea from her. 

I remember I didn’t say anything this time around, either. Mark didn’t stop picking at me here and there during the tour. Not even after we did eventually talk about him not focusing on saving my slutty soul when he, at last, wore me down with his “concern”. I did at least give him that chance — I gave it a few times too many, actually.

But eventually I detached from Mark. And by detached, I mean I straight up ghosted him. It might not the best way to say good-bye, but negativity has a way of pushing you to your limit. And Mark’s negativity became a lot. A lot. 

“I’m trying to help you,” he’d told me, but that’s the entire point.

Let people be people. That’s basic courtesy. 

Women don’t need help being “acceptable”. We’re aware of what we look, act, sound like — we’re all good, thanks.

A woman could strip down to nothing and go about her life fine. Anyone can. We’ll be the same person — so why is the world so involved with what women do? Let people be people. That’s basic courtesy.

Also, if you can’t be yourself around someone, at times, you have to keep moving, even if it means losing a friend. Mark still tries to talk to me, but it’s best we’re not friends anymore.

If we ever went out again, you best believe I’d dress in my “slut shirt”, and I know how sensitive he is.

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Orlando, FL
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