OMG. Why is she staring at me?
Normally I think regrets are a waste of time. Stewing over the coulda-shoulda-didn’t, when there’s nothing you can do to change the past. But I missed an opportunity recently to strengthen the sisterhood, and I think my inaction might have made it worse.
Now I have the regrets.
I was brunching with my family at our favourite beachside café, when I noticed a woman leaving. And when I say ‘noticed’, I mean I fully stared at her for god knows how long, as it felt like time stood still. She completely captivated me.
The women was about 50, I guess (I’m crap with ages, but that’s okay, ‘cause they don’t mean shit anyway) and she looked amazing. Her outfit got me first – grey, low cut, backless bodysuit with leather shorts and cool, casual accessories. She was showing skin, but it wasn’t perfect.
This woman had enjoyed the sun and her tanned, softened skin now sat in a more relaxed way on her body, but she still (rightly) had the confidence to show it off. Her body wasn’t sculpted from the gym, but you could tell she took care of her physical health. The top showed off her natural boobs, reflecting her vintage, but still worthy of a look. Her face didn’t show any signs of succumbing to the knife or the needle, as she let her bone structure, sparkling eyes and glowing skin take centre stage.
If she was wearing makeup, you couldn’t tell, and her facial expression showed a deeply contented and joyful woman, completely comfortable in her own skin. She walked arm in arm with a man who shared her joy and they appeared totally besotted with one another. I thought to myself, “I want to be her when I grow up”.
Like I said, I was staring at her for a long time, taking everything in with deep admiration. I wanted to tell her how fantastic I thought she looked, but I was frozen by her beauty…and my mouth was full of pancakes.
As she passed me, she saw that I was staring, and that’s when she changed. Her face turned from delighted to insecure, as she looked down at her top and adjusted it, trying to cover herself up.
I wanted to run after her to tell her that I wasn’t judging and that I was mega crushing on everything she had going on, but she was already across the road and, you know, pancakes. I fucked up an opportunity to show some ladylove, and instead, I made a beautiful sister feel shit.
My empathy kicked in as it got me thinking about times when I have been on the receiving end of the assumed judgemental stare. On multiple occasions I have begun the night fabulously, enjoying cocktail hour at home while steering myself towards confidence, courtesy of makeup, spanx and vodka.
A little “you go alright” from the husband, and off I strut like Beyonce into our local bar. All of a sudden, though, there’s people. Correction: women. Other women. Unknown women.
Confidence fades, insecurity shines bright like a fucking diamond. It’s not jealousy of them or fear that they will take my man, it’s the ridiculous assumption that if they look at me, they must be passing judgement on how I look, and that judgement can only be negative. Then I want to throw up and leave. Good times!
I’m a big girl though, and usually a couple of shots or Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s ‘Push It’ will snap me out of it. I would certainly not confront a random staring woman in a bar at the risk of appearing undignified…unless of course, Jagerbombs. But even then, I’d probably just take any deep, festering emotional issues out on my husband. Ha ha ha, oh.
Anyway, I had a revelation.
The eternal optimist in me started flying the Sisterhood-Ladylove-Surely Every Woman Thinks Every Other Woman is Great flag with gay, naïve abandon, and all of a sudden I’d solved the riddle.
Resting Fucking Bitch Face.
I’ve had it since I was little (my Grade 2 and 3 school photos look like I want to cut someone), and I know it often gives off the wrong impression. Like with the fabulous woman at the café.
Now I’m not going to sit around with an insane look of perpetual happiness on my face, but I’ve decided to be more aware of any potential judgey looks I might be giving other women. And if I do get sprung, I’ll try my best to flash a smile or better still, approach the lady in question to let her know she’s rocking my world with her get-up.
I actually tried it out on Saturday night with a woman who would normally intimidate the hell out of me. She had everything out on display, and it was all amazing.
Usually I would sit there picking her apart until I felt better about myself, but I was feeling good and I’m done with the lady hating. The unwanted attention from every man in the bar was visibly irritating her, so when I got the chance in the toilet queue, I threw her a bit of lady love instead.
“You are spectacular”, I said. She was genuinely flattered and thankful for the compliment, as I bet she was getting nothing but daggers from every other woman in the bar. In my opinion, one positive act of appreciation from a female stranger is worth more than a barrage of pervy pick-up lines from all of the men.
Not only did my small gesture make my new bathroom friend feel great, but it lifted my spirits and confidence too. Like a weirdo, I bounced out of the ladies’ with a beaming smile, suggesting I’d either sniffed something illicit off the toilet seat or passed the most satisfying poo of all time.
I once wrote that giving a compliment was ‘a bit like volunteering, a bit’, because acts of kindness are good for the soul and benefit both parties. It’s time to reverse the ‘women against women’ agenda that has been programmed into us, even by some feminists, and start showing our sisters some love, even if it’s initially just to make ourselves feel better.
Imagine the flow on effect of all that ladylove and positivity. Write an uplifting comment on social media (because god knows that needs some love) or let that lady in the supermarket know how much you dig her activewear. Be aware of your resting bitch face and know that you have the power to completely change another woman’s day as well as your own.
Look for the positive when you find yourself being judgemental, and compliment a random stranger. It’s not creepy at all.