We do not wear halter tops. We do not wear sleeveless shirts or dresses without cardigans, blazers or shrugs. If we do, we feel eyes heavy on our backs and our chests and we cringe and blush and try to cover ourselves with our hands, to no avail. We no longer wear that beautiful silk shirt whose ruffles are so heavy that they pull the neckline down too low. We shall no longer wear cowlnecks for that same reason. We do not ever wear tank tops.
We do not wear skirts that are higher than a fingers’ length above the knee. We rarely wear skirts anyway. We do not wear heels above three inches. We never wear heels anyway. We do not wear jangly earrings, even though the tinkling sound of metal on metal near our ears always reminded us of wind chimes on sunny spring days. We do not wear glitter, even if it makes us feel like the night sky.
We do not wear our pajamas to the grocery store. We do not wait at bus stops in our bathrobes. We do not go barefoot in public. We are appropriately ashamed of our chipped toenail polish. We do not line our eyes in kohl, or paint flowers on our cheeks. We do not skip. We do not run. We in no uncertain terms do not do cartwheels. We never glue gemstones to our faces.
We do not wear shorts. We do not laugh too loudly or for too long. We do not interrupt. We do not look up. We do not stride, or stand up too straight, or take up too much room in our chairs. We do not make eye contact first, and we look away and down quickly, blushing, feeling a rush of shame and anxiety as we pass strangers in hallways. We do not walk a straight line through a crowd.