Pete and I have had a tough time remembering whose shoes are whose, let alone remembering to go outside and pad back in with pictures and shoes on our paws. Such pressure! It’s so silly to fret when sun dapples our afternoons and yellow pollen coats our cars, which means that spring in the air and a rising prices at the pump turn a middle aged lady’s fancy to hoofing it to work. And hoof it, I do! I should start carrying a camera, shouldn’t I? I certainly thought so this morning, as I loped across the Albany Street Bridge over a Raritan River so smooth a single duck’s paddling strokes rippled gently from center and side to side. So let’s talk about space.
Our model is some sort of reality TV personality. Please don’t tell me who because I promise not to care. No, what’s important here is that our model’s spine looks like a spiral staircase and her toes could only be closer together if they were webbed. Women: I’m about to say something important. This momentousness may never happen again so please take note of both the date and what follows. Here goes: nothing says, “Infantilize me!” like standing around pigeon-toed and helpless. No man with a pulse and a say-so about your raise will take you seriously if you think this is an excellent posture to work, supermodel, work in your workplace, as in life. Strike this pose and you are toast, professionally.
It doesn’t matter if you agree with me. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. You will not be respected if you make yourself look feeble. Don’t bother exclaiming, “That’s how the models all stand now!” Despite our darling’s musculature, her feet make her look like a 98-pound weakling, unable to get out of even her own way, let alone up a flight of stairs or down to business.
Women, Miss Lynda Carter knew something thirty years ago working femmes may or may not know now: if you’re going to bump up against big boys you’d better take up some space. Think I’m kidding? Let’s experiment:
1. Sit in a booth with three male persons. No matter how big you are or how small they are, the menfolk will slouch, knees wide. If you cross your legs they will spread out wider. It doesn’t matter if these are your brothers, cousins or James Brown’s horn section; they will assume you are much smaller than you are, and the space under the table belongs to them.
2. Walk down a hallway where you know men will be walking in the opposite direction. Pretend for a moment you’re fully human and walk straight ahead. When a man walks dead into you and looks surprised, say, “Excuse you” and walk on. Another man will thump into you. It’s as if you’re only visible to special people, possibly with night vision goggles. Try not to act shocked. Back in film school, you saw Delicatessen, and somewhere deep down you know you’re edible.
echidne is in a bit of a mood, and as a no-wave feminist, I understand. Probably. My parents were feminists. My daughter is post-post-feminist. It’s all so very over in a time when girls grow up and skip off to corporate jobs without a moment’s thought as to what happened to both allow and force them to do so. In fact, we live in a time of enormously unexamined behavior, and for the most part, it’s up to each of us to give ourselves a vigorous look-see. Though I’m no expert at anything other than looking or seeing, I’ll help you get started. Stand up straight, shoulders back. Plant your feet parallel about shoulder width apart. Wear shoes that make you able and not unable. You’ve got to get some ground and stand it. Woman, take up some space.