It is 9:30 on Sunday night and I am stood on the tram platform in Manchester Piccadilly waiting to go into work. The air is a bit sticky and I am wearing three layers too many. After the first Saturday night off I have had in the last couple of months; a delicious tea made for me and copious amounts of wine, seeing in the early hours of Monday at my desk wasn’t too appealing.
I stood, leaning against the ticket machine fully engrossed in this weeks Women’s Hour podcast when a girl walked down the platform and tapped my arm.
“Excuse me, sorry for interrupting you. (interrupting me looking gormlessly into the distance) I just wanted to say I love your jumpsuit- where did you get it?”
Taken aback I pulled at my Breton stipe, jersey jumpsuit that only gets a day out when I can’t face wearing real clothes but it isn’t socially acceptable to wear pyjamas. Blushing I thanked her and directed her to Topshop (where else).
She walked off and I couldn’t shake the little happy feeling she had left with me- even as I walked out of the building at the end of my shift at 4am.
After gushing to a friend about how good a shift I had had, he asked, “but if a guy did that would it be catcalling?” After thinking about it I recalled a story my flatmate told me a couple of weeks ago.
She had just received an (extremely well earned) job promotion and was stressed about going into work to take on her new role. Prior to her first day she treated herself to a new suit and pair of heels. Walking off the tram and up to her building, hesitating before the door a co-worker she vaguely knew passed her. He turned and said “well done on that promotion, you’re looking like the absolute boss you are.” She marched through the door and aced her first day. She’s great so she would have done well regardless but the compliment gave her the little push through the door.
A compliment can completely change your mood. It is a truth universally known that girls in club toilets on nights out are the purest of all humans. In need of support for your new red lipstick that you’re not sure you can pull off? They can do that. Gone out without a tampon? They got you, Need to cry to someone about your shit bag ex? 10 will flock around you. It is my favourite thing- feminism in the form of a gaggle of gin merry strangers.
We all do it- eye up a sequin top across the room, some hot red boots, the perfect denim jacket. But so rarely do I ever go up to the person and tell them. Why is that? The endorphin hit I got from the kind stranger on the tram platform made me feel completely differently about a jumpsuit I otherwise classed as pyjamas.
There is always somewhere to be, someone to speak to, an email that needs a reply. If, like me, you can’t properly wake up before scrolling down you twitter feed and fully accepting the end of the world is nigh, the next high profile sexual harassment scandal is around the corner and everyone you know is either engaged, pregnant or owns a cute dog (for which you are deprived) we could all do with a bit of an uplift in mood. So from now on, as we come to the end of the longest January on record, I have decided to be a little bit more like the girl on the platform.