Friday, June 4, 2010

Question: What Do You Do When People Stare?

This is me and my best friend, Sunny, at my house. I was hosting a huge party for the husband's birthday and I am wearing one of my vintage aprons! (I love collecting aprons! I think I need to learn to make them now!)

Sunny has been my best friend since we were in 8th grade! I still cannot believe 22 years have gone by already! Anyway, one of the many, many things that Sunny and I have in common is our mutual dislike for people who stare.

If I am wearing vintage and people to stare, I do not mind if they come over to me and ask questions. I actually appreciate it. Most people are simply curious and usually very kind. I normally get compliments. However, as I am sure you all have experienced yourselves, there are a some people (granted, just a few) who stare and even point at us. These "looky loos" are not nice, in fact, they are being rude.

I typically do nothing when this happens. I just simply go about my business and pay them no mind. Sometimes I will smile at them and say, "Hi! How are you today?" The person or people tend to turn around and not say a word. I think I catch them off guard because maybe they expect me to feel self-conscious or maybe they are shocked because I 'busted them' for staring in the first place. I am not really certain but what I do know is this; they should be ashamed, not me.

So, when you notice people staring at you when you are in your vintage style, what do you do?


  1. having been a heavily tattooed girl the last 30 years (when it wasn't popular) and being vintage, an old punk rocker, vintage again during all the while, i'm very used to people staring. most of the time i don't even notice (but boy does my husband love to catch people). if i do notice i say hi, and see what happens. i would say half the people will then talk and half do get embarrassed to be "caught." we went to a street fair last weekend, got lots of stares, got a few asking for photos, it's usually pretty fun. if i want to be invisible then i'll cover up and dress "normal."

  2. I get annoyed. Where I grew up it was considered very rude to stare, and most people there had too much pride to anyways. At most they would look at you out of the corner of their eye. Here, I get stares all the time. I will either look them in the eye and stare back, or I will ignore it. Sometimes I will say loudly that people should learn that staring is rude, but I know thats a totally passive way to handle it. I just know that when I have kids I will teach them that its rude. I wish more parents would teach their kids manners, but sadly its a lost art.

  3. Shrinky Inky,

    I love your attitude! And again, your style is fabulous! I usually do not care if people look but what annoys me are the people who point and stare.

    I was on a cruise in 2007 and this sweet, young newlywed couple from Puerto Rico asked if would take a photo with them. They were blown away by my look.

    I think most of us agree that people are nice but like most things in life, there are rude ones too. Oh well.

    And you are right, if I want to blend, I will wear t-shirt and jeans and be like everyone else.

    When it comes to the alternative/vintage community, I love going to VNV Nation shows and swing dances because it reminds me I am not the only one!

  4. Temperamental Broad,

    I agree. I was told never to stare. My parents were raised with parents born in the late 1800s/early 1900s. I was told to be a lady, be nice, never to air my dirty laundry in public, to sit up straight, to cross my legs at the ankles, use both my knife and fork, not to slurp my drinks or soup, to speak well, to be smart, to be courteous, to always write thank-you notes. I feel confident saying that I am very nice so it bothers me when others are not.

    When then Aspen tourist mother and daughter were whispering about me, right in front of me, part of me wanting to say they shouldn't be rude because if they pi$$ people off they didn't know, they may be in for a "rude awakening." Alas, I did nothing and kept walking. I felt so vindicated when that classy, older lady complimented me.

  5. I just smile at them and try my best to be nice. I guess most people dont see a lot of people like me walking around. ha ha. We do get asked a lot of the same stupid questions, like "Are you in a play?", and it does get annoying after a while. But, it's better to be looked over then over looked, right? I like standing out!

    I also collect vintage aprons, and make my own. I want to start a line one day!

  6. I ignore it! Once stared (or, rather glared) back at a teenage girl and nearly tripped up. Serves me right for stooping to her level so now I just ignore it. Sometimes I am tempted to pull faces at small children to get their reaction. Hehe. But I'm scared their parents will catch me ;] It IS rude to stare, and it gets annoying, but ignoring it is the best thing to do. I just pretend I don't notice. =]
    -Andi x

  7. I get stares too - usually at my hair.
    1: as its red with black and blonde stripes
    2: especially if I wear it in victory rolls, or pin curls - like its the most outrageous thing people have ever seen!
    When I wear it up, I find I also get chatted up (hit on!) by 70 year old men who love my hair!! ha ha!
    Let them stare in their UGGs and tracksuits is all I can say!

  8. I get straed at alot, not becuse of my 'llok', but because of my accent. I am an American living in rural England and my accent sets me apart. Not too long ago, a little girl was just REALLY staring at me in Tesco's...I mean turning her entire body around to look at me every time I spoke to my hubby. I finally waaitied till she ws right next to us, with her mummy nest to her and said 'Wot's a matter, lovie? Ain't ya ever heard an American before?' Her mum gave me the nastiest look and snatched the little girl away from me as fast as she could!


  9. If someone is starring at me rudely and making me very aware that they don't agree with my taste I usually can't help myself and say something along the lines of "Gee, and I like your hair too".

    But I often have young (my age and younger) people ask me if I'm going to a dress up party or something and I'm perfectly proud and happy to explain that -No, this is just how I dress!

  10. Miss Dolly DeVille,

    Thank you for the comments! I, too, have been asked if I am "in a play." People have also asked if I am dressed they way I am for a "special ocassion." I simply say "No, I dress this way every day."

    I love it when people ask, "How do you get your hair that way?" I usually respond with, "Lots of practice, hairspray, and bobby pins." Most people are curious and nice, but a few look at me like deer in the headlights.

    I am used to it now. I just do not like it when people whisper and point. Rude!

    As for the aprons, they are addicting to collect! My mother-in-law bought me some vintage apron patterns but I cannot sew to safe my life! I need to learn!

  11. Andi B. Goode,

    That is a funny story! I have been tempted to say something. I have stared back a few times but now I smile and wave or say "Hi, how are you today?" They are usually too stunned to respond!

    As for kids, I think they are too busy looking at my tattoos! It is funny to see them try to figure out how I have "drawings/pictures on my arms!"

  12. Dolly Cool Clare,

    That is a riot! I was in a vintage store in Boca Raton, Florida with my mother-in-law about 4 years ago and one of the older men working there (he was probably in his 80s) asked if I had a boyfriend! He wanted to know if I would be his girl so he could hug me. He was too cute. My mother-in-law was laughing so hard. It was funny.

    I agree about the Uggs! They are gross. I once had two teen girls in Uggs making comments about me when I was at the mall and I wanted to say, "You know, you have no business making cheeky comments about me when the pair of you look like idiots wearing ugly suede boots in the summer!" Alas, I said nothing and kept walking.

  13. Cherry,

    I agree. I often feel compelled to say something back but I normally hold my head high and say nothing. Oh, I want to be a major b*&ch and say something to put them in their place but I am a lady and I try to take the high road.

    One time, the husband and I were out to lunch during the work day. I saw two college guys and a girl staring at me and chuckling from another booth. My husband is a 6ft tall, 250 pound Army Infantry vet and he was wearing his usual black business suit, crisp white shirt, and a classic, striped tie. He also had his 'high and tight' haircut recently cleaned up at the barber shop. He turned around and gave them his "rambo stare" and they quickly stopped. Talk about awesome! lol

  14. Pixie,

    I totally understand! When I was 13, my parents and I visited my father's home country of Norway to visit family for about 3 weeks. It was my first trip. Whenever I spoke in public (my dad's hometown is only about 2,000 people), people, especially kids my age, looked at me and made comments.

    Here is the funny part, the kids thought I was some 'loud, brash, American tourist kid' who did not speak Norwegian. When I overheard kids making rude comments, I would play dumb and then say in Norwegian, "Oh, you shouldn't say things like that! If your mom heard you, she would be so embarrassed!" The looks on their faces were priceless. We are talking dropped jaws and stunned "deer in the headlights" looks! lol

  15. I often stare back, in the same (what on earth are you wearing) way! I don't mind people who look or talk to me or compliment but I have had a few people stare in a mean way so I just shoot them the stink eye right back, give them the up-and-down and raise an eyebrow!

  16. Brittany,

    I agree that those who stare because they are curious or genuinely interested in our style are fine. I, too, will stare back if people are being rude/mean. I will also wave or say hi. I refuse to allow them to make me feel bad or give them the impression they are somehow better than me.

    I do not understand their mindset. Why do some feel it is their place to judge? How does me wearing vintage affect them?

    Like someone once told me, they stare and judge because they are insecure and basically afraid to be themselves. When they see vintage girls like us, it reminds them they are just 'going along with the status quo' instead of living their own lives to the fullest.