Hats are so great, especially if you’re like me and your hair looks disgusting and oily and ragged if you don’t take a shower every morning or if you sweat even a little during the day. Grab a hat and your hair looks fine and you look cool as hell. Anyway, throw a fucking parade because I’ve confidently and successfully integrated hats into my look.
I’ve also been wearing them to open mics a lot, and now that I reflect on it, almost always. Even if I’m not wearing a hat that day, I’ll often pull one on before I get out of my car for a mic.
Yesterday, I saw a comic-friend of mine at a comedy show and I had come straight from work so I was wearing a hat. He said “Hey - why do you always dress like a kid sister? Or like a neighborhood paperboy?” He was joking and I laughed and did my best impression of what a kid sister/paperboy would sound like and we both laughed. But I didn’t really answer his question. I’d never really thought about it. So, here’s the answer, comic-friend:
"I wear backwards hats and plain jeans and t-shirts when I do comedy, first because I like the style and ease, but second, and more importantly, because it serves as an attempt to desexualize my presence on stage as a woman and fingers crossed, the first thing the (generally all-male) audience will be thinking about is the quality of my jokes and not whether they want to sleep with me or not.
If I’m pretty enough to be telling a joke about turning down a guy’s advances.
If I’m sexy enough to be saying words to them.
In my, granted, limited time as a stand up comedian, I’ve had the experience of doing roughly the same set looking all dressed up, then unshowered and in a pair of sweats.Let’s throw me a bone here and assume the set was decently funny, and I guarantee you my appearance wasn’t affecting my, like, “stage confidence”. When I looked all dressed up I did pretty well but then I got heckled at when I told a blowjob joke. Something along the lines of “yeah girl you can blow me, [yadda yadda]”. When I looked bad, I basically bombed. That was probably my own fault, and I’m generally pretty self-deprecating when talking about my own talents, but I could not shake the feeling it was connected to my appearance.
Therefore, it has become extremely appealing to me to cultivate as neutral an appearance as possible. I know it’s impossible to control the way an audience of strangers perceives you. There’s always gunna be weirdos thinking pervy thoughts when he’s SUPPOSED to be dying laughing at my new joke about dumb babies. But if I can find a way to look somewhere firmly in the grey area of “Not Gross & Ugly but Not Someone Who’s Sexually Attractive” that’s where I wanna live forever.
Kid Sister/Paperboy seems like a pretty solid answer to that. I’m glad it’s working.
But I’m not glad I feel compelled to do this fucking ridiculous juggling act with my sexuality, my body, and the male gaze. I’m not glad that if I ever happened to want to wear a shirt that wasn’t a button up or a crew-neck, I would be worried about my cleavage all night. I’m not glad that I have to find a delicate way to rebuff a comic’s flirtations because I don’t want him to never book me on his show. I’m not glad that I could get booked on a show because someone had a crush on me. I’m not glad I could get not booked on a show because someone thought I was ugly. I’m not glad women’s appearances are held to draconian and painful standards and that in comedy, as a woman, you’re either gorgeous or obese or get the fuck out.
All these things are pretty well embedded into our culture and our lives. I know so many amazing comics who are very good at treating women as people. I’ve encountered a lot more who aren’t good at that yet.
In the meantime, it’s not so bad, I get to wear cool hats all the time!
Haha but yeah dude good set the other night cya around lol.”