Jenn told me. She knows me well, it seems, as her prediction was confirmed when she showed up at brunch the next day sporting a men's tank that read, "A WOMAN'S PLACE IS IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE." The next time I opened my computer, I bought the shirt for myself.*
The first time I wore it was on my day trip to Cleveland two weeks ago. As my friend Lindsey & I walked the streets of the Cleve, I noticed other peoples' eyes on me, trying to read my wordy tee as I strolled by. Though I knew I'd be making a bit of a statement in the shirt, I hadn't realized how uncomfortable I would feel with the attention.
I became fascinated, though, by other people's reactions to the sentiment emblazoned across my chest. Those passing quickly by seemed, at first, to be shocked. As their eyes widened & their brows furrowed, I could see them thinking, "A woman's place is in the house? Oh, this bitch!" & then, as they continued to read, a look of relief. Mid-way through the shirt, I look like the anti-feminist - & then, at the end, I just look like a raging feminist.
But in the cosmopolitan & forward-thinking land of the Midwest, though, raging feminism isn't always an endearing or valued trait. I watched as some of the folks finished reading my shirt & threw me a look of annoyance or disgust - not necessarily at the idea of that women can be lawmakers but, I assume, at the idea of needing to broadcast my support of it. "I'll feel better wearing this shirt in D.C.," I told myself.
Today is my first day wearing it in the District, though, & it feels just as weird - in a totally different way. At Trader Joe's, an enthusiastic man in a neon pink tee high-fived me: "Oh, you know that's the truth!" he shouted as he slapped my hand in the produce aisle. At BakeHouse, an adorable neighborhood coffee shop, a hipster barista looked at me with equal parts disdain & amusement & asked, "So do you, like, work on the Hill?" Suddenly, I felt like I was trying too hard to be DC-quirky, damn it.
I guess that when it comes to wearing liberal statement tees, a girl can't really win. But speaking of winning, did you know that there are a record number of women in the Senate right now? A woman's place, indeed. So I think I'll keep wearing the shirt - at least until I get one that says "A woman's place is in the White House." Hillary, girl, I'm waiting for you.
*You can buy this tank & similarly sassy clothing items from Wicked Clothes, if you're so inclined. Free shipping!