Originally composed on December 1, 2019 on the way to San Francisco.
Today, I’m sitting in the Norfolk airport, and it seems like half of the women—particularly young women—are wearing leggings as pants.
When I was in college, I saw a lot of black leggings, but now, they come in all sorts of hues; there are even metallic ones. More recently, I’ve seen leggings with sections cut out in geometric designs. Sometimes, the cutouts are replaced with mesh, and sometimes, they are not.
Around a year ago, I read an article in The Atlantic (or some similar publication) that said that leggings are the new blue jeans. My first reaction was that they may be for some people, but they are not for me.
Not long after I read that article, I read a different article that claimed that jeans were making a comeback, and that they might hang on to the majority of annual sales after all. After that, I didn’t know what to believe. But, I do know one thing: leggings as pants are not the most appropriate public attire because they don’t leave much to the imagination.
I’m not sure if this is weird, but I people watch men watching women who are wearing leggings as pants. Most men are not discrete at all, though it could be that it is hard to be discrete in an airport when everyone is watching everyone else anyway. Some men flick up their eyes as a woman passes them while wearing her leggings as pants. Others give a long gaze. And of course, they don’t notice me overtly noticing them because they’re so engrossed in her.
I know that the current sociopolitical narrative is that women are in charge of their own bodies, and consequentially, they can wear whatever they want. So, in this case, a woman can wear a second skin with cut outs that may or may not be replaced with mesh if she wants to, but you won’t catch me doing it because men already stare at me when I wear a winter topcoat that approaches my knees coupled with a navy turtleneck sweater, grey skirt, tights, and riding boots. Or, perhaps I should cut them some slack because they’re merely admiring my topcoat. It’s an excellent, posh coat—and I got it on super sale, too.