I took surreptitious pix of this lady at the Musée Rodin back in 2010, as we were both staring up at that Thinker. I loved her jacket but really appreciated her whole vibe: German, it seemed (I'm an expert at making snap judgments based on zero intel). She looked stylish and comfortable: her dressing was fit for the day and her ventures, and she wasn't busy hiding anything. That was the key. Here are my comfortable shoes, here's my face, here's my waistline. She looked strong, and I admired that. It's important to celebrate the miraculous fact that there infinite ways to be female in the world, regardless of the narrow and suffocating notion that anything female can only be valued when it is valued by men.
I think about her whenever I adhere to my own personal aesthetic in the public sphere, which as I've noted previously can best be described as campfire lazy (all allegiance to the preppies notwithstanding), whenever I leave the house without makeup wearing my deeply unflattering Birkenstocks, ill-fitting shorts, and a wrinkled oxford. My stomach's gotten flabby, my thighs have that cellulite look & feel. And I pay attention to the way people notice me, or don't, and the way I carry myself, which is cockier than usual. I feel free. There's much talk about how women of a certain age (that would be anything over 30) become invisible, but I like to think we become more visible to ourselves. There's power in choosing how you'll be seen, in deciding what you'll reject and what you'll say yes to. I apologize to this poor woman for the stalking, but I thank her for the rest.