Letting myself go
For some people, fourth year is their chance to show off. That’s cool, guys. I get it. You don’t have anything else to worry about, you’re coasting, you have time to pick out what you want to wear. But for me, it has been quite the opposite. My last few years, I have tried to dress up for the majority of my classes. I’m not sure if it was fighting the athlete stereotype that motivated me or the recollection of wearing sweatpants in middle school that has become seared into my memory. In those dark years I found appropriately long jeans, but correctly fitting athletic wear escaped me. Okay, I am lying; finding pretty much any appropriately fitting clothing was a big problem for a 6-foot-3-inch eighth grader. Either way, I felt a little safer when in jeans and baby tees, because although my ankles may have shown, I was stylish up top. Come on, who wasn’t insecure in middle school?
So perhaps my wish to dress up was subconscious, stemming from adolescent days when I wanted to prove I was stylish to avoid ridicule. Whatever Freudian urge it stemmed from, I liked to dress up. My basketball teammates complimented my outfits and were generally supportive, but there were definitely jokes about how I cherished our issued gear the most.
This year things have changed. I have started a new program with an even heavier course load than I thought was actually possible — what was I thinking? This is U.Va.; More is always possible. After three consecutive late nights, way past my usual bedtime of midnight or so, I woke up and did not feel like picking out an outfit. The 15 minutes I spent changing and accessorizing and considering shoe options were 15 minutes I could have spent resting. So I gave up. I began crawling out of bed, putting my hair in a bun and donning basketball shorts and the first shirt I found on the floor.
It may not seem like a big deal, but for me, this was a big step. In the past, when I chose to wear athletic gear, I dressed it up. I would find cute earrings, match my sneakers and shorts — this was not difficult as basically everything I own is orange or blue — and maybe use a little product on my sloppy bun. But now the bun is usually the one I went to sleep in, the shorts and the sneakers are the ones I manage to grab on my way to brush my teeth, and let’s not even get started on the jewelry.
I have officially become an athletic shorts-wearer, and I absolutely do not care. I now understand the impulse to dress down. Let’s be real — I’m basically a runway model; if people can’t see my beauty without floral shorts and flats, they don’t deserve me. Also, I’m a fourth year and I’m pretty sure everyone on Grounds has seen me dressed-up, looking sexy-fly at some point. If not? At this point they obviously don’t deserve me either.
I understand you basketball, track and soccer shorts-wearers — perhaps more than most, as I spend three to four hours a day in basketball shorts anyway. It is comfortable; it says hey, I have more important things to worry about than how I look, and if you don’t like it I don’t like you. Or perhaps I am overthinking it once again. Whatever — I’ve got enough shorts to last me through the fall.
Simone’s column runs biweekly Tuesdays. She can be reached at email@example.com.