I am not a party girl. There, I said it. Even in college after I earned my three Greek letters and two colors I would perform in numerous step shows but was often standing off the side while everyone else danced (and strolled) the night away. I have met a lot of people because I was off to myself laughing at my friends and watching the crowd.
I have tried being the 'social butterfly' but much prefer to be myself. The person who enjoys going out to dance. That does not include random surface level conversations or just small talk. The introvert in me hates it so imagine my surprise when the guy wanted to attend a small NYE house party of a salsa dancer he knew.
We had agreed to stay home this year after the debacle of last year's party at a local hotel. It was so hilariously awful I refuse to rehash the details. Like I said, my inner 'homey chick' was digging the stay inside and lounge while watching the countdown on New Year's Rockin' Eve. The guy on the other hand agreed to attend the house party.
I vaguely know the couple from salsa dancing in the area but the guy knows them better. I threw on some jeans, a nice sweater and a pair of flats. Because any woman reading this knows there is always the possibility of standing around at a house party and I refuse to stand around in heels wishing I had worn flats.
We arrived after 11pm and the guy opens the door and head to the kitchen area to stash the adult beverages we brought along with us and every eye in the room looked me up and down. At first I thought it was my imagination but soon realized it was not.
Maybe it was my big curly afro (which was bigger than normal because I was off work for a while)?
Maybe it was the fact that I wore jeans?
Maybe it was the fact that the guy resembles an actor and I did not look anything like that well-known actor's well-known girlfriend?
Or just maybe it was the fact that I the ONLY woman in the room (minus the hostess) not dressed in 5 inch heels, an itty bitty dress and a head full of weave?
Maybe it was all of the above?
I grabbed a seat at the end of the room while the guy socialized with the host and every man in the room made it a point to walk by me and stare at me as they walked by. It became a game to me as I made small talk with the very nice lady sitting next to me. Each man would slow down slightly to stare before returning to his designated staked out space in the room. It would not have been so bad but I was not sitting in the area where the foot traffic flowed. It was actually more convenient for them to walk the other way. I had not experienced anything like that in a very long time. I know I live in the land of buy it, stick it, glue it and/or braid it in but I have been in this natural hair game for a very long time. Almost 17 years. I am comfortable with who I am and I do not need to flaunt it with the bottom of my cheeks hanging out a dress or heels so high I have to walk with bent knees.
Part of me was proud for being comfortable with who I am and what I like and the other part of me was upset because I was clearly being put on display. I could not do anything but shake my head at this experience as it reminds me why I became comfortable in my skin. Why I try to be myself in any situation. I refuse to have other people dictate what I am supposed to look like while they look uncomfortable.
What did the guy say? He laughed and said "I told you! It is hard to find a black woman who does not fit the stereotype."
After this party I guess I have to agree. It must be a little harder for men than I realize.