Maybe it’s just me. No matter how much effort I put into getting dressed in the morning, I will always get hit on more when I neglect my appearance entirely.
The correlation is undeniably proportionate: The more time I spend fixing my hair or painting my nails or layering loosely knit sweaters over gauzy silk tops, the more invisible I become. Inversely, the less time I have to get ready, the more attention I seem to attract.
Two examples come immediately to mind.
The first: Fashions Night Out, a year or two ago. I was running around SoHo with a friend. We were wearing different variations on the same heels + loose top + jeans uniform, when a man (he would only identify himself as a member of the “Fashion Police”) stopped us. It was a traumatic experience — he started making police siren noises and declared my outfit a “Fashion Emergency.” I looked like every other fashion blog follower on the street, but for some reason I was singled out.
The second example that comes to mind is yet another time I was stopped on the street for an outfit critique, this time on my way from dance class to school. The ensemble, which this man described as “the perfect combination of casual chic,” was one that had required virtually no effort whatsoever. I had on sweatpants (rolled up to the mid-thigh region because I was still sweating from the workout), a sweatshirt (fully-zipped), and moccasins.
And these are only two instances of what has become a theme in my daily life. I get, “I see you, mami!” on the 8 a.m. coffee run (pre-shower, plaid flannel pajama bottoms, puffer vest), “How YOU doin’?” after babysitting for eight hours (white shirt, spit-up stain). I get sexy eyes from the barista! When I’m wearing a sweatervest! But should I put in even an ounce of effort— I get nothing. Miniskirt in the elevator with a jazz cutie? Nothing. Red lipstick, courtyard, foreign exchange boys? Ignored. New shirt, same barista? I’m asked to please step aside and make room for the following customer.
What. Is. The. Deal. In a city where every other girl on the street looks like a model, is the only way to stand out by looking haphazard and unhygienic?
I know, I know, I’m veering dangerously off into “Sex and the City” territory — territory I swore I’d steer clear of in this column. But I’m not just talking about appearances here. I’m talking about the Effort Jinx— if at first you don’t succeed, do nothing and it will come naturally. Whatever you do, do not Try, Try and Try Again.
I’ve found this can be applied to almost anything; essay writing, shopping for holiday gifts — the list goes on. I have yet to discern whether or not this is a widespread curse or just a facet of my own life. Maybe there’s something to be said for an effortless lifestyle. Or maybe I just look really good in a tracksuit.