The Power Of Red — & An Encouraging Word

Photo: Courtesy of Emily Malan/The Not Vanilla.

By Sonia Evers


I wore this outfit two weeks ago for no reason other than that I felt like it — which, in my opinion, is the best reason to wear anything. Clearly, I was in the mood for red, opting for tomato-colored separates composed of two clashing, yet coordinating, prints.

About fifteen minutes after this outfit’s sidewalk debut, I was hollered at by an old woman seated behind her walker: “Hellooooo, Red!” A little puzzled, I halted my stride and turned toward her, where I was met with a wink. I smiled and continued on my way, only realizing about fifteen minutes later that this was a new kind of catcall.

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Catcalls are real and I’m convinced that most of the time they have nothing to do with appearance. Take my commute to and from the gym: I never look good before, during, or after; in fact, I’ll never understand the people who do. My hair is a grease pile, my shirt stained yellow in the armpits, and I’m probably wearing leggings unearthed from the depths of my hamper. But, if I walk on a certain block en route to my gym, I have eyes following me like I’m a piece of skirt steak held before a hungry dog. I once tried picking my nose while walking down said block and still received the eyes and the barks. It’s unavoidable. It’s uncomfortable. It’s part of living in this metropolis.

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Photo: Courtesy of Emily Malan/The Not Vanilla.

However, when I received my catcall from the old woman, I didn’t interpret it as salacious, but rather, a compliment to my look. Kind of like a “Shake what your mama gave ya!” chant of encouragement. It didn’t make me wish I was hidden beneath Harry Potter’s invisible cloak, but instead, boosted my confidence.

Related: Are Gladiator Sandals Worth The Hype?

I decided to pay the feeling forward a few days later while riding the L train. I spotted a girl with a cool bag — minimalistic, oxblood and navy, Céline-esque, if you will — and instead of sneaking a photo of it like I normally do, I told her how much I liked it. Not exactly a catcall per se, but a boost of encouragement nonetheless. She looked startled when I spoke to her, perhaps because I don’t think she spoke English, or maybe because I came up behind her out of nowhere, but hopefully she got over it and felt that much cooler walking around with her bag that day.
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