During my first couple of years in Los Angeles, I would meet up with friends and watch this local band play.  It was fun, low pressure and pretty casual– particularly since we knew the guys in the band. We weren’t besties, or anything like that, but we knew them well enough.

Sadly, I had not yet received my dress code memo from the men who frequented these bars.  It was January. I was cold.  We were meeting up at a bar in Hermosa Beach to hear the guys play. Did I mention I was cold?  Well, I was. And I’m a practical girl. I wore a sweater. I mean, it wasn’t a reindeer sweater, but it was a sweater. I looked perfectly respectable.

Now, I’m always prepared for girls to give me a disapproving look, but this was the first time I ever had a straight guy comment on my clothing. He wasn’t mean, exactly, and all he said when he approached me was “Nice sweater.”  But it was the way he said it– with so much disdain. I had clearly offended him by not being nearly naked as was required of all women in Los Angeles bars.

I wasn’t even talking to this guy. I wasn’t trying to hit on him. Apparently, my mere presence in that sweater was enough for him to go out of  his way to approach me and take me to task for upsetting the delicate bar ecosystem.

On the upside, this little encounter stayed with me long enough to accomplish two very important things: 1) I started staying away from bars (and men) and 2) when I needed a theme for today’s photo shoot for the web series (based on this very blog), I was able to tap into my nearly perfect memory of that night.  At last that  slightly humiliating learning experience has served a real purpose!


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