Yes, you heard me right. I need to not feel beautiful and I need to look boring, dull, and bland. It is not often in a girl’s life that they want to feel ugly. I shared in a post recently about Dustin Hoffman and his realization of the heartbreak us ladies go through. I, like a lot of women, have wanted to feel womanly and beautiful since I can remember. Yet now, I need to not stand out in a crowd and need to not be remembered. This is because I just got a job as a librarian in a male prison.
I am actually super excited about this job and the opportunity to impact lives of a very under-served population. Books can and do change lives. I get to be that person that shows these men that reading can benefit their lives. I may even get to teach a few of them how to read. It is a proven fact that incarceration and illiteracy are tied together. Today, about 60% of inmates are illiterate. I may be a little idealistic here, but I think you have to be in a job like this.
Now to the big downfall of this job: I am a young and feminine woman. These men are in prison surrounded by other men. I may be one of the nice experiences they have in prison and I do not want to get any kind of sexual attention. I actually am not worried about in the prison setting. You always have a guard with you [and I believe the library is a privilege for many inmates]. I am worried about after the release. I really do not want to deal with a stalker situation or get contacted outside of the prison setting. Because of this, I have decided to look as boring as possible. Yep, I now need to try NOT to look pretty – a complete contradiction of what I have been doing my entire life. A little liberating even? I hope I can document some of this in the blog — I feel like I am doing a social experiment!
My Steps to NOT Looking Pretty
- Hair must be up. Hair down is a little to sexy for this job. I think I can still do some cute up-dos!
- Very light make-up. No lip color, no eyeliner, very light blush. I think mascara is still ok and light powder. Maybe this will be a good chance for me to fight pimples by being make-up free? I feel life is unfair when you are worrying about pimples and wrinkles at the same time.
- Shop at Good Will for baggy slacks and big button down shirts.
- No more dresses and skirts. BOO.
- No heels and I have to hide my “dude” tattoo on my foot. This might strike up some conversation about my personal life [yes, I have a “sweet” to my dude] and make the inmates too … curious?
- Lots of sweaters and layers. Hide my curves at all cost!
- I think I can still paint my nails? I don’t think pink nails drives men wild.
- Basically, I need to just buy clothes that are as boring, unfashionable, and dull as possible. Yet, I need to look clean and put together. I am a little worried about falling into a frumpy rut. I need to make sure I dress up on the weekends and feel girly. If you haven’t figured out yet, I am a pretty girly person.
Does this post sound as conceited and I imagine it does? I completely realize there may not ever be an incident and that I am stereotyping these men into a horny and uncontrollable box. Nor do I think I will be a hot commodity in the prison yard. But I am aware that the prison guards call the librarians “inmate lovers” because it is our duty to help them. I also am aware library experiences in a prison setting can be a positive interaction for inmates, compared to other experiences they may have in prison. Knowing all this, I feel how I portray myself with my clothes will greatly impact how I am treated. Shit, sometimes I envy men and their penises. They don’t ever need to worry about looking too sexual because their top shows the shape of their breasts.
On a funny note, I did try to research “how not to look pretty” and I didn’t find anything. Shocking right? No woman has ever tried to look boring on purpose! I did find this awful country song “Try Not to Look So Pretty” by Dwight Yoakam. I guess this is my new anthem.