Skirting the issue

Last Friday I was walking down the hallway at work towards the water fountain to fill up my water bottle, when I passed a colleague’s desk, caught her eye and said “Hello” as I passed. She looked at me, startled. Then she said “Oh, hi!” in a very pleasant manner. Initially I kind of did a mental “uh, wha’?” reponse to her startledness at seeing me and did the head to toe check: something on the front of my shirt? buttons undone and cleavage exposed? fly open? toilet paper on the shoe? What the what?  So anyway, later on that day I met up with her in the washroom (not on purpose, let me hasten to add) and she said the following: “Sorry I seemed so out of it when I saw you earlier. It’s just that I’d never seen you wearing pants before, I was shocked!”

Now, as you’ve probably realized from the amazingly witty title of this blog post, it’s not that I go around pantsless at work, it’s that I am a skirt person. Or a dress person. I am not a pants person. But, on the occasional casual Friday, or on days where I am doing dirty jobs (stop it) like cleaning out my storage room or reorganizing our bookshelves in the library, I will often wear jeans. But every other day of the calendar year? It’s all legs, all the time, baby.

I came to this realization a few months ago when something similar happened while I was waiting in line for a coffee. Another woman with whom I am acquainted at work joined the queue right behind me and when I noticed her there I turned around to say hello, and she said “I thought it was you, but I just have never seen you wearing pants before”.  I sort of did a “huh” kind of thing, and when I got home that night I had a look in my closet.  And you know what?  No pants.  At any given time I have about 6-8 skirts in rotation, plus a few dresses.  Lots of tops, tights and kicky shoes.  But no “work appropriate” pants.  How did this happen?  I’m sure I used to have and wear pants.  I know I did.  So what happened?  I think what happened is that with some of the pairs I owned, I just got tired of them, or they no longer fit properly, or they were no longer in style and I just got rid of them.  Shipped them off (not all at once, but every so often) to Goodwill or Community Living.  And then?  Then I just didn’t replace them.  If I needed a new outfit or something new for work?  It came in skirt form.  I love skirts.  LOVE. THEM.  So it really just seems like a waste of the wardrobe budget to invest in pants, which I don’t actually like to wear much.  Unless it’s jeans.  Jeans I like.  But I guess it just never occurred to me that people would actually, you know, notice.  Or care.

So it makes me wonder – is this a thing people?  DO people actually notice things like whether or not a certain person wears pants or skirts?  Would it be the same with long-sleeved shirts?  Or vests?  Or scarves?  Or any other item of clothing?  Really?  Both times I was a bit surprised that these women actually paid attention to stuff like that.  Huh.  I see loads of people every day here at work and I will be damned if I can tell you which of them solely rock pants or dresses.  Except maybe for the men.  I think it’s safe to say that they all are wearing pants every day.

So I’m baffled.  The only thing I can think is that the two women mentioned are strictly pants ladies.  One works in a more physical job, and is therefore usually in jeans or very casual pants.  The other has a desk job, but after our chat in the washroom, she mentioned that she’s the opposite of me – only ever wears pants.  So maybe that’s where the fascination lies?  I don’t know.  And incidentally, I don’t mean the fascination with me per se.  I just mean the fascination of seeing someone in skirts every day.  Cos you know, fascination with me would be unwarranted, really.  And also a bit creepy.

So help me out, blogfriends.  Would you notice one way or the other?  Would you think to comment? Or would you just do the mental “skirt again today, wonder if she owns any pants?” thing?  Because I am, by nature, an extremely observant person, but am apparently missing the part of the brain that pays attention to the clothing habits of her colleagues. 

And in case you’re wondering?  Jeans today.

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