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How Much to Bare

July 17, 2016

It’s that time of year when it gets hot enough that many of us face the question – how much to bare when going out in public?

 

It feels like it shouldn’t be so difficult to say if it’s 90 degrees out, that you want to wear shorts and short sleeves – or even go sleeveless. And if you can, perhaps put on a bathing suit and get in the water. Except for some of us, that doesn’t feel like an option.

 

I struggle with this more than I sometimes realize. For instance, a few years ago when I bought a sleeveless top, I felt really good about it. And I still do. But I also couldn’t help noticing that when I recently went on a couple of dates, I wore shirts with three-quarters sleeves. I don’t even know how much of it was a constant decision, and admittedly those days weren’t quite as warm, but the fact remains that I didn’t want my dates to have a first impression of me that included my bare arms.

 

And then there’s the fact that I don’t wear shorts. At least, not in public. Occasionally among family and friends I’ll wear long shorts that come down to my knees, but you will never find me wearing any short or skirt that goes above the knee. I’m far too self-conscious about my knees and thighs.

 

Which is a little odd considering that I will wear a bathing suit, but that’s only because I don’t do anything like beach lounging. I appear in the suit just long enough to get in the water, and then get back out. The rest of the time, I have the water to conceal me, or some other form of coverage.

 

Part of me feels like I should just get over it, but of course, it’s not that easy. Intellectually I do realize that other people probably aren’t going to spend a ton of time staring in distaste at my bare limbs or making rude comments about them, but emotionally I’m not quite there.

 

And I think it’s important to be okay with that. Sure, I could beat myself up about not being brave, or being too self-conscious, or somethung along those lines. But that wouldn’t help. If anything, it would probably make me feel worse.

 

So to all of you out there who also struggle with how much to show or not show, I hope you can be gentle with yourselves and wear what you’re comfortable with. And maybe when you’re ready, you can push the edge of that comfort zone, show a little more skin, but only when you’re ready. 

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