Sexy Boots

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The Stupid Selfie, Ottawa, February 2013

The Stupid Selfie, Ottawa, February 2013

I bought a new pair of shoes for no other reason that they make me feel sexy. That, plus they were on sale, $50 instead of $120, a price I would never pay for footwear—I ain’t Carrie Bradshaw.

Perched on these comfortable high heels, I feel good. My legs seem longer, I am taller, I stand straighter and I am more confident.

I want to look pretty again. I want to seduce, I want to feel sexy and I want to be desired.

After nine months of avoiding mirrors and crying every time I took the weekly “bump shot” to document the pregnancy, after feeling like an incubator and after getting used to my new status as Mark’s mother, I want to be a woman again. I may not have much time to pluck my eyebrows, wax my legs, put on nail polish or do my hair—not that I really took the time to do so before Mark, I have always been fairly low-maintenance—but I care about “looking good”, whatever that means.

After Mark was born, I bought a lot of clothes. Wearing my old ones didn’t feel right anymore and well, I hadn’t been shopping for almost a year (I didn’t buy pregnancy clothes) so it was about time. It started with practical items such as underwear, socks, and moved on to jeans, leggings, dresses and other pretty and girly things.

Not being pregnant anymore was something to celebrate. It felt great.

Like a teen, I am searching for who I am and I am still dealing with my very own identity crisis (and a needy seven-kilo baby dragon).

There is definitely a “before” and “after” the pregnancy. Not physically—I look the same as I did before, with the addition of a few white hair here and there (when did that happen?)—but mentally. The year 2012 was a long hiatus. I was a stranger to my own body and nothing felt right, including being “Zhu”.

I think it all started when I was in France, last year, just a few months pregnant with a very unnoticeable baby bump. I got catcalled in the street. It happens a lot in France—I call it a side effect of “walking while woman”. Any female aged 12 to 50 is bound to be hit on in a fairly harmless way on a daily basis. Groups of guys usually shout things like “eh eh, mademoiselle, you are hot!” when you walk by, or try to get your “06” (cellphone number). Unless you are actually interested, you can just ignore them and keep on walking. Some women may feel an ego boost, other find it demeaning and objectifying but all French are used to deal with them. What can you do?

I am no exception. I have been getting catcalls since I’m 12 (I did look older) and it has never bothered me much (and no, I have never given my cellphone number to a random guy in the street either). And yes, I do wear a wedding ring since I am married but French guys don’t really care.

But that day, “walking while pregnant”, getting hit on felt horribly wrong. I know no one could tell I was pregnant but me but when I heard the classic “mamzelle, eh, mamzelle, tu vas où comme ça?” I froze and almost burst out crying.

“I’m going nowhere, can’t you see I’m fucking pregnant you moron!” I wanted to shout back.

Somehow, being seen as what I was—a woman—instead of what I felt like—a walking oven busy baking a mini-baby—was disturbing.

For nine months, I didn’t feel like a woman. That’s actually pretty ironic since during that time period, my female organs were poked and probed on a regular basis and that I was doing the woman-only job to grow a baby in my womb. I was supposed to be glowing—well, I wasn’t.

And now I’m trying to overcome the adjustment period and to be a woman again.

Gosh, that sounds awfully corny, like a line from a Britney Spears song.

But it matters to me. I am not “just” a mother, I’m also an almost thirty-year-old woman with fantasies, desires, crushes and cravings.

So I put on my shoes, took one of these ridiculous selfies with my BlackBerry, and resolved to be a woman again.

Feel free to catcall me now. I may need that ego boost.

The Boots and I in Chinatown, Ottawa, February 2013

The Boots and I in Chinatown, Ottawa, February 2013

With Mark and the massive snow pile in front of our home

With Mark and the massive snow pile in front of our home

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

22 Comments

  1. As a Canadian, I am not at all comfortable with these catcalls.

    I’ve had times when it’s gone too far; sometimes the men get angry when you ignore them and they yell after you. I feel so unsafe when they do that. I am so disgusted by men who call out to me while m.a.s.t.u r bating in public as well.

    Once I said that I was married (it was true) and it totally backfired on me. The idiot became even more excited when I told him this! The idea of a married woman turned him on even more. He told me that he has a wife as well and that we would “be in on it together”.

    For me one of the perks of growing older is that I have less catcalls.

    I don’t have any problems with this at all in Denmark. From what I remember, this type of dirty catcalls were not an issue in Canada either.

    • I never had catcalls in Canada and I think I wouldn’t appreciate it here. Not that I enjoyed them in France, mind you, but I was used to them. But it cn make you feel pretty awkward when you are not used to that cultural thing!

      • There is a difference with the catcalls you are talking about and the ones I am talking about (the dirty ones). I know that a lot of women here enjoy receiving catcalls because it makes them feel young and feminine. Most of them are just harmless comments. I do smile every now and then when I receive some nice comments that are meant to be complimentary instead of seedy.

  2. I’m glad that you are getting back your self-confidence and feeling like your old self.

    I have problems with my self-image due to my weight. I should get out there and go shopping as well (well, at least for shoes!).

  3. We all like to feel sexy and beautiful, and shopping for new shoes and clothing is the best way to go ! 🙂 (and nail polishes in my case haha)

  4. You are sexy! Although I realize coming from me, the compliment loses much of its ego boosting power 😉

    Being pregnant also seems to shift something in my head completely: I never really felt sexy or attractive, but being pregnant,it’s like I’ve become some sort of sacred vessel or something, one step removed from the rest of humanity, and any kind of “sexy” attention freaks me right out. A different kind of feminine experience I guess. I know it’s a limited time offer only, so I don’t really mind and I try to enjoy it for what it is. But yeah, I can’t wait for the spring so I can wear things that are a little more girly, big belly or not.

    • I completely understand how you feel–I felt the same. I definitely wasn’t myself when pregnant, not a woman, not yet a mom… it was a strange in-between stage where I completely focused on the job, the baby-baking thingy, and forgot about the rest. “Sacred vessel”… yep, that sums it up. This is strange though because I do think most pregnant women are beautiful (yes, you included!) and I love baby bumps and all that stuff. It just freaked me out on me. It didn’t feel… right I guess. Even when I look back at the pics of me pregnant I can’t recognize myself. I was another person.

  5. I really didn’t enjoy pregnancy at all, in fact I want to slap those women that ‘glow’ from start to finish! I had the added problem of going from teenager to wife and mum in one step so I never got the chance to be just a woman. Don’t be too hard on yourself it’s such early days for you and it takes a while to get back to normal (I’m rapidly approaching 40 and still don’t have much of an idea who the ‘real me’ is) and if buying a great pair of fabulous boots helps you feel better then what’s the harm? They are a great pair of boots and you look good in them 🙂

    • Yep, that’s how I felt when I was pregnant! Strange, eh? I understand to a certain level what you mean by going straight from teenager to wife to mom, must have been tough too!

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