What I Wore: Navigating the Heteronormative Patriarchy, Pt. 10

Welcome to What I Wore, a series where I explore fashion as shelter in traditionally heteronormative and patriarchal spaces.

Craft Brewery

When someone suggests you go to a craft brewery you mustn’t go “NO!!!!” really loudly and like you’re pleading with them. Say, “I can’t wait to try some locally made beer,” and then prepare yourself to be around a lot of straight white dudes who came of age in the 90s and who are maybe going to want to comment on the beer you got, and potentially tell you your next one should be a saison even though you’re good on a saison.

The way I prepared for this was to call to mind a time when they weren’t yet this person so freely taking up space by dressing like they would have in high school, letting it exist as a suggestion, perhaps, to go back to that time. I combined a long sleeved shirt under a short sleeved polo with some dull slacks, and then to add a bit of confusion into the mix, finished the outfit with the kind of platform shoes their crushes probably wore.

I didn’t account for the fact that straight men feel comfortable commenting on fashion when it’s something they remember. “I remember those shoes!” Perfect.

Success rate: 2/5


Knowing most places you go are going to be overwhelmingly straight can be enough to make you never want to leave the house. And yet you must! Eventually. Or not, but that has its own problems. I chose to instead look inside myself for that which I seek by existing as a lighting rod, ready to pick up any rumble of gay energy around me.

Pairing solid primary colors and a fuzzy jacket with oversized sleeves basically makes you Big Bird, and what’s gayer than the brainchild of two men married to each other who grows up to wear bowties, loves to sing, and scares Republicans with its leftist agenda? Well, Glee. That’s probably gayer. But this will do!

And it did! I’m super gay!

Success rate: 5/5

Oil Change

Nothing says I’m about to run a scam quite like a woman who looks like she should be playing tennis but isn’t. And everyone knows you can’t scam a scammer!!! Which is why I decided to wear this to get my oil changed. Yes, Donald Trump is supposedly the president of the United States of America, a country I continue to live in willingly, and I still have to get my oil changed. We exist in extremes and yet the mediums of life go on.

During the oil change, the man at the service station suggested I consider new front tires because the “treads seem worn,” and even went as far as telling me they “have tires here” as we both stood next to stacks and stacks of them. This was interesting not just because I’m assuming this man thought I thought the tires were decorative, but because as it is well documented in this series, I practically lived at the tire shop last year. I ate, slept, and dreamt tires. You know why? Because I got new tires.

Success rate: 1/5

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Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 208 articles for us.


  1. Craft brewery, that’s a tough challenge. I think you needed to go into all-out mansplaining deflection mode for ultimate protection.

    I think mansplaining deflection via aesthetics can be achieved by two, possibly intertwining, approaches:

    1. Render yourself not worth being mansplained to, either via aggressively intellectual clothing or subtly telegraphing that you’re incapable of truly understanding the breadth and depth of their mantellectualism. For reasons of self-respect, I can’t recommend the latter.
    2. Scare them with the sort of cisfemale biological symbolism that cishet male brains cannot process.

    Possibly wearing a labcoat while insisting you sample all beers in a repurposed mooncup would achieve this. Suggest leaving the labcoat unbuttoned, with a beige or pale lavender-grey turtleneck underneath, perhaps in cable-knit mohair or some other kind of fibrous fabric that will subliminally caution them against approaching, lest their movement displace a sweater-hair that floats into their precious beer.

  2. My wife has yet to figure out how to deflect the craft beer mansplaining, regardless of the militantly gay uniform she wears to breweries. Although she’s gotten very good at predicting their comments, especially the “do you like hoppy beer? Have you ever had an IPA? You don’t like IPAs? *Smirk* If you really knew craft beer, you’d like IPAs.”

    • IPA’s are like someone said what if we took all the worst flavors in beer and just made a beer out of that and people need to stop making more of them.

      ->This comment brought to you by a summer spent working at Busch Gardens theme park and smelling hops from the beer factory ALL DAY EVERYDAY.

    • She should try walking around with a stout in her hand,color of dark coffee. That usually has the guys gobsmacked, and if they ask – you actually like this stuff? – you say, I like my beer with calories. That is usually the end of the conversation.

      • I’m usually the one drinking the stout, so I’ll definitely have to try this next time! So far I’ve stuck with just staring blankly whenever they comment on it until they leave me alone.

  3. erin, I love this column so much I am making my first autostraddle comment just to tell you so.

  4. Today feels like Autostraddle Christmas. A new “What I Wore,” a new “Witch Hunt,” Dorothy Snarker reviewing “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Yes. It’s a beautiful day.

  5. Since a lot of you live in the SF Bay Area I’m gonna give you a tip for oil changes and simple car fixes – Tam High in Marin will take your car and do these things for free as student practice (you pay for materials.) The autoshop teacher there is the kindest lesbian lady who knows cars like the back of her hand — I’d recommend calling the school and asking about the shop.

  6. I was wearing overalls and a long sleeve crop top with moon on it when a guy at the bar last night asked me if I had any strong feelings about vaginal discharge


  7. “Nothing says I’m about to run a scam quite like a woman who looks like she should be playing tennis but isn’t.”

    Thank you for succinctly stating this deep truth.

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