I Dressed Provocatively For A Week To See How Men Would React To Me

Photo: Eden Strong

My cleavage basically acted as coupons, for better or worse.

At 32 years old I feel fairly confident in saying I have a good understanding of the power of sexuality. Or, in my case, the power of lady parts. Like most women, I’ve definitely allowed my sexuality to get me what I want from time to time but at the same time, I never wanted to be “that girl” (someone who is defined by her vagina and boobs, rather than her personality and intellect.)

And thus, many of my mornings have been spent covering up and hiding away all my favorite body parts before going out into the world. Not because there's anything wrong with the skin that we wear and choose to flaunt but because we live in such a judgmental society that it can often be tiresome to wake up everyday and try to fight the good fight.

Here's what I look like on a normal work day:

But I've always wondered just how different my life would be if I banked off my God-given assets a little more often. So this week (in the interest of personal growth and self-discovery, of course), I decided to see what life would be if I let my boobs do the talking. Here's what happened. 


I woke up and panicked when I saw the outfit I had laid out for the day. My job entails me doing a variety of different tasks throughout the week and Monday is the day that I spend running all over town. Today I was going to do that with my boobs hanging out. Nothing like jumping into this little experiment feet...I mean, boobs...first.

It's winter where I live and although I would have loved to have done this experiment with a little bit of booty hanging out, I didn’t want to get frostbite on my ass. So in the interest of compromise, I threw on my lowest cut tank-top and off I went... with a sweater. (I know, I wussed out.)

Hyping myself up in the car, I managed to pry the sweater out of my vice-like grip before going into the store. I caught a few side-eyes from some senior citizens but that could have been because they thought I had lost my mind wearing a tank top when it was 21 degrees outside. Other than that, no one really paid me any attention.

Not wanting to call Monday a bust (no pun intended), I propped up my boobies, snapped on some spandex, and walked my ass into the gym. The men ogled me, the women gave me the stink eye, and overall it was a whole lot of nothing. Really though, who doesn’t dress provocatively at the gym these days? It’s like the sober place to pick up a date. Bust.


After psyching myself up yesterday for a whole lot of nothingness, I felt more confident and determined to push the boundary lines today. I wanted to see what people would think of me, and in order to do that, I needed to make sure that people saw me.

So off I went to the mall in a short skirt, skimpy top, lots of hair, heels, the whole shebang. Oh yes, people saw me — and admittedly, It was kind of hard not to.

Store clerks latched onto me like a Kardashian to an Instagram account, all wanting to show me the latest arrivals and tell me about their sales. I’m not sure if provocative equates to “she must have a sugar daddy” or if I was just dressed so atrociously that the clerks were dying to give me a make-over but either way I got top-notch service.

Temp-wise, it was a little chilly, but the spotlight was warming. I could get used to this.


I was halfway into the week and I still hadn’t really encountered the thing I was fearing the most: men. Although I don't appreciate getting catcalled, I was curious as to what the difference would be when I'm dressed skimpier rather than all the other times I’ve been catcalled wearing nothing more provocative than business clothes.

I took the intermediary route and wore one of my work sweaters... without the leggings. Because it is actually a sweater and not a dress, it ended up being so short that I basically needed to put sunscreen on my ass cheeks. Then I hit the streets. (By “streets” I mean shopping mall.)

I lasted exactly 45 minutes before I began to really regret today’s experiment and went running for the car. Four guys had given me their number, five guys whistled or made animal noises at me, one guy thanked my mama (whatever that means), and a guy slapped my ass as he walked by.

I had to bail on the rest of the day’s experiment because I was about one rude comment away from getting my first assault charge, although technically, that probably would have been considered self-defense.


Today I had to do some things at work that required me to wear clothes that wouldn’t have me voted off the board, but on my way home I stopped at the grocery store. Before going in, I folded my pencil skirt up inside of itself until I had a mini-skirt on and pulled down the tank top I was wearing so that my cleavage was on fleek.

I caught site of my reflection in the entrance door and realized I might be breaking a couple of indecency laws, but I soldiered on with my plan, which included no actual grocery shopping but rather a few pre-planned "damsel in distress" moments.

“Can you help me reach this?” and “Can you help me life this into my cart?” were requests met with the utmost of speed and cheery helpfulness — and surprisingly, not just by men. At this same exact store several months ago I was trying to get a 40 pound bag of water softener salt into my cart and after asking three people and a manager for help, no one helped me.

But today everyone helped me and they did it with a smile. WTF.


I was a bit perplexed at what had happened yesterday so I decided today I was going to do the exact same things that I normally do — only I was going to do it with cleavage and ask women for help. I’ve never gotten so much done in so little time in my entire life.

The woman at the post office waved me to the front of the line, the woman in line in front of me at the store told me I could go ahead of her since I only had one item (she had three), people went out of their way to hold the door open for me, and while shopping for a larger item at one store, the sales girl offered to call her manager and see if she could get me a lower price after I had already said I would take the item.

A few women shoppers gave me the stink-eye (clearly judging my attire) but overall most women I encountered were actually friendlier than usual.  I wonder if it’s not the sexy attire that’s attracting people but the air of confidence that seems to come along with it.


Tonight I went to a club with a few of my girlfriends, and typically I’ll dress in something sexy but not too revealing because I don’t feel like getting groped all night (isn’t it sad that women even have to think like that?). But tonight, in light of this little experiment, I wore what most would call “bedroom” attire (I needed to stand out, and in a club where some women are wearing nothing more than what amounts to a couple of cotton balls and some dental floss, I needed to make sure my efforts shined).

I ended up nearly backhanding a guy who was extremely insistent that I was going home with him and wouldn’t let go of my wrist — to the point of literally trying to drag me through the door. HOLY WAKE-UP CALL. Not okay.


I’m still a little shaken up after last night, but not wanting to leave that as my last impression, I decided to embark on one more mission: appliance shopping.

Please, who doesn’t flirt a little when there is haggling involved? So I recycled Wednesday’s short skirt, let the girls breathe freely through a (barely) buttoned-down shirt, and went to Sears. I’m happy to report that if you actually let your boobs touch the refrigerator door, the price automatically drops 20%.

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what would happen this week but it was definitely eye-opening. Sure, a few things were easier and I definitely liked the cheaper prices that cleavage can buy, but I was also shocked at the positive response I got from women. 

I'm embarrassed to admit I thought they would judge me in a catty way but most actually embraced my confidence. Sadly, the response from men was way more skeevy and I don’t think hopping to the front of the line at the store is worth risking my safety.

So the experiment was bittersweet. I love that women appear to be supporting the empowerment of other women, but the reaction from men makes me wonder if they'll ever get past seeing us as sex objects. (I'm generalizing, of course, some men were completely appropriate and fine.)

Ask a woman how I dressed this week and she might say I dressed with confidence but if you ask a man, he’ll say I dressed like bait.



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