I went to dinner at Harris’ on Van Ness and Pacific last night. I’ve always eaten in their lounge before. I love the huge carved wood bar, green upholstered seats and the mural of San Francisco with a BART train on it.

I usually see Harris’s as an excuse to dress up but this time I was just planning to grab a quick steak. There was no room in the lounge so the maitre d’ squeezed us in to the main dining room. It was beautiful and I felt like crap. The dining room is more formal than the lounge and dressed in jeans and a t-shirt that said “Detroit” across it, I felt like a disappointment.

I felt like I was disrespecting both the restaurant and myself. I was dressed like everybody else but it didn’t feel good enough for me. To me, dressing up is showing up to my life with the proper amount of respect. Wearing old jeans and a t-shirt, to me, says “I don’t care” or maybe more correctly “this doesn’t matter.”

I often dress up to go out and most of the time people ask “what’s the occasion?” I tell them “my life” because poor, rich, happy or miserable the only constant is that I’m alive.

By dressing up I show that I care by putting active care into myself. My day can go to shit, I can be yelled at by the Muni driver (again), or be barfed on by a junkie (again), but I can still look down at myself and see a pretty color or texture or find that I smell nice and know that at least I tried.

Photo of Harris’ lounge: Team JH2

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the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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