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July 25, 2019 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily

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Thursday, July 25, 2019
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com MICHIGAN IN COLOR

The other day, I wore a black
button down shirt. It was quite
simple, with no extra embroidery
or anything, just an ordinary black
button down. Well, maybe there’s
one exception. My buttons were on
the left side. Yep, that’s right folks.
I wore a men’s black button down
shirt. And, it was the most interest-
ing experience I’ve had to date.
A couple weekends ago, I went
into the men’s section of H&M,
which was placed all the way
upstairs. I took the journey up the
escalator to a section of clothing
that combined comfort with my
simple style. It was nerve-wrack-
ing to search through a section of
clothing that wasn’t made for me.
It was scary to try and figure out
the men’s pants size that would

fit my thick thighs and wide hips.
It was uncomfortable watching
onlookers question why my Black
female body was upstairs when
I so clearly belonged one story
down. Then, I came across a black
button down shirt.
I thought, wow, a shirt that’s
casual yet somewhat dressy and
cheap. Wow, I can wear this with
so many of my dress pants. Wow,
this will go great with my saddle
shoes. Wow, I’m gonna buy this
before they kick me out–the store
was about to close. Then I went to
the counter where a young man
was working. I placed my black
button down on the counter along
with a pair of green pants and blue
shorts. As I placed my clothes on
the counter, he gave me a look that
I’ll never forget. It was a mixture
of “why the fuck are you here”
and “what the fuck are you doing.”
Nevertheless, he rang me up, I paid

for my three items of clothing, and
left the store. A few weeks later, I’d
see this look again.
On Tuesday, I was met with
the most attention I’ve ever seen
standing on the street while leav-
ing my internship and waiting for
the bus, here in Los Angeles. As I
stood at the bus stop, I got so many
stares that I thought one of my
buttons was undone. At first, I was
confused as to why so many peo-
ple kept staring at me in disdain.
Finally, a man stared at me long
enough for me to realize what the
problem was: my buttons were on
the wrong side.
This man stared directly at my
shirt. We locked eyes for a couple
of seconds while he was check-
ing out my buttons, and repul-
sion filled his eyes. I’m not sure if
it was simply because I was a girl
wearing a boy shirt, or because I
was wearing extremely feminine

dress pants. Maybe he couldn’t
understand the idea of uniting the
gender biased system of clothing
that society implores? Or maybe
he just hated that my buttons were
on the left, when they ought to
always reside on the right? I’m not
sure where his aversion stemmed
from, but it helped me understand
why I was getting so much atten-
tion. Women and men alike looked
at me like they never have before,
each time reviewing the buttons
that lay on the left. I felt objecti-
fied in every sense of the word, my
clothing turning me into a foreign
object. Nevertheless, I stood there
in all my left-sided, button-wear-
ing splendor and waited for the
When the bus finally came, I
stood up until it was time for me to
reach my next stop and catch the
second of three buses to my next
destination. During my commute,

I started to think about the expe-
rience and began to smile. A year
ago, I would have never voluntarily
gone into the men’s section of any
store and bought an item of cloth-
ing, no matter how much I wanted
to. I would never wear that same
shirt to a place of work or anywhere
my appearance would be judged. A
year ago, I never would have come
out to my parents. Here I was on a
bus in LA, a completely different
person from a year before, and all
I could do was smile about my pro-
gression. A year ago, I didn’t even
know the buttons on men’s shirts
were on a different side, and here I
was getting gazed at in disdain for
one of the most freeing experiences
of my life. There I was, in a differ-
ent place, in a different time being
my most authentic self in my LBD
(left-sided button down). I’ll take all
the stupid stares in the world to feel
forever free in my LBD.

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MiC Podvast Editor

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