One of the benefits of downtown living is the ability to walk most anywhere. Our movie store, supermarket, coffee shop, parks, splash pads, work and school are all within a short stroll for us. Another benefit of city living is the anonymity that comes with it. Anonymity is something I appreciate very much. I love being a nobody among other nobody’s. I love the freedom that comes with not caring what others think and not knowing what they think You’re really just another person out and about with other strangers.
As much as I love this new-found freedom; I have also found a few humorous downfalls…
I try not to be a two-season complainer, however walking to work in the Summer isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I arrive at work with tiny beads of perspiration on my forehead and sweat dripping down my back. (London has had a really hot and humid summer so far.) I think this could come across as attractive in some settings. For example, if you’re out for a jog throughout the city and you run past a cute guy while sporting rosy cheeks and a cute tank-top/short-shorts ensemble. That can be respectable and sexy on some level. It is not appealing at 8am in the elevator at work dressed in business attire. That’s downfall number one.
Downfall number two, perhaps the more comical one, is that I suspect that I may be viewed as that crazy downtown lady. Our family schedule is set up so that my husband drops our daughter off at school in the morning and I pick her up in the afternoon. I rush home from work, run upstairs (again, more sweat) change out of my work clothes, grab the stroller and head back out just in time to pick her up. Of course my trip to gets some looks. I walk with a vacant stroller and could appear to be one of those ‘phantom child’ women. One who doesn’t have a child but really wishes for one…so much that they now believe they have one.
I’ve noticed people take a second glance at my childless stroller and I’ve had a little giggle to myself, but that was just at the beginning. Now, if it happens at all, I don’t even notice. That is why on this day in particular I was a little surprised to find some construction guys checking me out. It was a work from home day for me, so admittedly, I didn’t look my best. Why wash your hair when you’re sitting in your home office all day? I wasn’t wearing one of those cute outfits mentioned above and I didn’t feel that anything about me stood out as particularly cute, but they kept looking at me and taking second glances. I started to feel pretty good about myself. After all, I had just started a Booty Camp class and was already on my second week. Maybe it wasn’t just me noticing the differences. Maybe my boot camp training was finally speaking for me. Naturally my stride picked up a little and maybe I added a confident little wiggle in my hips. Yes, I am married, but what girl (married or not) does not take it as a compliment when getting checked out?
After picking up my daughter and making my way back home (still with the wiggle) the road crew didn’t seem as interested in my presence as they did before. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I had already received the attention I really didn’t think I deserved that day and was feeling pretty good. It wasn’t until later that evening (while admiring myself in the mirror) that it dawned on me…the phantom child phenomenon. They weren’t checking me out! They were checking out my phantom baby. As you may have guessed, the next day the wiggle was gone and the hop in my step was only there because I was excited to see little S at the end of a long day!
So, there are two morals to this story…take an extra change of clothes and some deodorant with you on a hot day and refrain from questioning why someone is checking you out…just assume it’s because you look good!