Girl Jeans, Rain Boots and Gender

Due to the nasty weather that has hit New Paltz the past week, many of us have had to make some changes in our outdoor attire. The rain jackets have been busted out, umbrellas have become a necessity and let us not forget the incredibly helpful rain boots that prevent that terrible feeling of wet socks. So like most others, I too have equipped myself with all of these  to stay as dry as possible when I have to go outside. So, one day when I was all geared up to walk into town with some friends, I was caught a little off-guard when one of my friends opened the door, looked at my feet and said, “Why are you wearing girl’s rain boots?”

To be completely honest, up until that point I had no idea that girls and guys have different types of rain boots that they stereotypically wear. My rain boots aren’t hot pink with little yellow flowers on them. I have enough sense to not buy boots like those. They are just simply all black and look like any ordinary pair of rain boots.

I remember that I was with a friend when I bought them, and there wasn’t even a thought that they were meant for girls. This friend is a guy, and none of my other guy friends said a word to me all of the days that I have worn them. But each and every one of my female friends saw right away that I was wearing rain boots that don’t necessarily match up with my gender.

As much as I hate to admit it, this is not the first time that I have looked at women’s clothes thinking they were meant for men. I went jean shopping one night last year, and it took me about half-an-hour to realize that I was trying on jeans from, you guessed it, the women’s section. Actually to be more specific and more embarrassing, it was from the girl’s section. I tried on skinny jeans meant for 14-year-old girls without even realizing it. They fit me perfectly and there appeared to be nothing wrong with them, until I realized where I got them from and fast-walked away from the girl’s section praying that no one had been watching me for the past half-an-hour.

I suppose I just don’t have a keen eye when it comes to distinguishing the differences between men’s clothes and women’s clothes. But to be fair, it seems that not many guys do. If men are supposed to wear different rain boots than women, then what could the men’s rain boots possibly look like? Are they just snow boots but not as clunky? Are they as effective when it comes to walking through puddles as “women’s” rain boots are? Hell, do they even look all that different than women’s rain boots? Even if they do, does it really matter what kind you wear regardless of your gender?

It has always fascinated me that girls can get away wearing clothes made for guys, but it doesn’t work both ways. Would a girl be judged for wearing baggy jeans and a t-shirt? Unfortunately yes, but not as much as a guy wearing a dress would be judged. Just to clarify, I have no desire whatsoever to walk around town in a dress. Unless I’m faced with very unusual circumstances, that will probably never happen. I just find it strange that it doesn’t work both ways when it comes to boys and girls wearing each other’s clothes. I am in no way indirectly attacking women at all. To be quite honest, I would find it difficult to not judge a guy wearing a dress. I’m just observing, nothing more.

For fear of being judged, I have to be careful whenever I go clothes shopping. I’m a rather tiny boy, and thus I can fit into clothes that are meant for younger girls. I can’t tell the difference between some girl’s clothes and guy’s clothes, so finding the right clothes for my gender can be a bit of a struggle. I would hope that I am not the only tiny boy with this problem, because if I am I guess that just means that I lack common sense. Either way, developing the ability to distinguish boy’s clothes from girl’s clothes would be very helpful. But until that happens, I’ll just have to push my rain boots to the back of my bed and find a pair that won’t make me paranoid about being judged.