Monday, April 9, 2012

Dressing up.

"You, said my colleague, are really girly."

This was a pronouncement issued in a tone that allowed for no arguing. A tone that almost sounded accusatory, as if girliness was something I should apologize for. Now, bear in mind that my job at this time issued an axe to each of us during training. We got down on our hands and knees in mud and hugged 200 pound rocks, straining to move them with our entire body. We quite literally shoveled shit. I shaved my legs only once that summer (and only to the knees). I went ten days at a time without showering. Crocs and Carhartts were standard attire. I felt slightly insulted when he informed me of my girliness... and yet I can't argue with that statement.

I wore dresses on my days off. I was caught wearing makeup once (I was with my girlfriends in an urban location and then forgot to wash it off!) to the astonishment of another co-worker. And I'll admit it, the crocs I wore at my tentsite (a shoe I once swore I'd never wear) were an especially feminine style. Don't judge me too harshly.

For over five months on the Appalachian Trail I didn't even have a second pair of shoes. I walked all day in a pair of trail runners; if I wanted a change of pace in town or in camp I let the laces hang untied or I walked around barefoot. I had a warm jacket. A rain coat. A pair of spandex tights for cold days and laundry days. A pair of shorts. A tank top. A long sleeve shirt. Two pairs of socks and a single pair of underwear. That was my wardrobe in its entirety: nine articles of clothing. I was starved for variety; I daydreamed about wearing jeans and a cotton t-shirt.
I'm about to embrace the pared-down hiker wardrobe again but this time as I stared at my closet, attempting to scrounge up a hiking wardrobe while spending as little money as possible I had a sudden epiphany in the form of a peacock blue cotton dress. 4.1 breezy ounces of girliness. Worth it.

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