Dayanita’s Story: “I dress for myself, not others”

I had just left an interview for a summer internship with one of the top International Development Consulting groups in the world. I was excited and anxious about how it went, I called my best friend in California to tell her all about it as I walked home. Nothing could have stopped me in that moment, I felt so empowered, that I could do anything and handle anything. I was wearing my favorite black dress and a beautiful red cowell neck scarf my mom had knitted, I felt comfortable and great.

Anyway, I was as happy as a clam walking back home. I turned left onto P Street, because it was the fastest way for me to get home. As usual I was minding my own business, so wrapped up in the events of the morning to be distracted or bothered my anything. Then I noticed three male construction workers coming up Hopkins Street up to P Street. They were all staring at me, so I ignored them and looked forward, knowing that I would be in the safe, respectful, cozy walls of my tiny studio very soon. But they were staring like they had never seen a girl before, really guys? Never seen a girl in a dress and heels walking around before?

As I got closer, one of them said “All eyes on you.” My face got hot and I just thought “Ew! Ew! NOT EVEN in your dreams, guy!” I typically walk pretty fast, so I thought I would pass right by them, but for some reason we all met at the corner of P and Hopkins at the same moment, so I had to walk through the three of them to keep going. Another one said something to the effect of “Why don’t you say hi?” And I thought “Because I typically avoid talking to creeps and people who don’t respect me!” I just made a disgusted face and I did not say a word and I kept going on my way, tall and with my head up.

This happened a few months ago and to this day I wish I had turned around and said “You should respect women!” or even something less composed as “Get bent, a**hole!” When I got home, I did not feel vulnerable or scared, I was 85% fiery, angry, so riled up and 15% uncomfortable. Those men do not know a thing about me. They have no idea who I am at all, yet they judged me about my body and my appearance. I dress for myself, not for others. If I decide to wear dress and heels, it is for me only.