I entered the inner sanctum of the other gender. The perspective of those members of the female sex who are concerned with appearance is foreign to me. I’ve heard it said that women dress for women and so do men. I have seen some truth in that but also have some reservations. Still, D.G. Kaye’s evolution of her own concerns with hair, makeup, clothes and more was interesting and informative to me. As a man, it’s difficult to fully appreciate the stresses and strains of all the effort that goes into what appears to me as a theatrical exercise that culture and insecurities demand. Kaye goes into the details of her own reasons for making the effort and how she has evolved beyond the superficial and insecure to the confidence of self-assurance in presenting herself. She offers much advice for fellow females from her years in the trenches of romantic encounters. So for women, my guess is that this book will be helpful, reassuring and instructive. For men, it will be at times bewildering and at times revealing.
Two anecdotal incidents have some relationship to this entertaining book. One was the appearance of a fellow law student in the late 1970s. While most first year students (including women) dressed much as they did as undergraduates. This woman, on the other hand, wore clothes and makeup that appeared to my eyes as somewhere north of high-end office/professional and evening cocktail party. Some fellow male students mocked her (not to her face) as “showgirl.” Given the times, misogyny was rampant so I took it as such, even as I wondered why she looked as she did. But for all the guys, including myself, for all any of us might have known, she might have a job as on-air TV personality or a high-level hill staffer that she might go to directly from classes. Such is the shortfall of sense in many men that continues on into later age from youth.
The other incidents that confirm that men dress for women is my own history, when trying to advance in the dating game with a woman I’d grown interested in. By the time things got secure, some sloughing off commonly occurred. While I have always appreciated beauty, that hasn’t been the attraction for me–rather it’s the personality beneath that has been most attractive. I think Kaye’s book confirms the sensibility of that perspective.