In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch shares his take on a classic bit of advice:
“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. “
This week, we’re asking you to consider things from a different point of view — to walk a mile in someone’s shoes. Leave your moccasins and bunny slippers at the door, and tell us a tale from a fully-immersed perspective that is not your own.
To say we know each other – in the modern and medieval sense, in the sense of belonging, of having all rights on one another – is a sweet understatement, for some years we have done just that: swap lives, you becoming me, and me you. Just a gift we have, you and me (and vice-versa.)
I cannot be sure of what you do when you are me (and when you tell the tale, I know that you use, as they say, poetic license…) but let’s say that being you is for me the source of infinite wonder. For long, years before meeting you and becoming your alter ego, I have wondered what it would be like to be someone like you: not just attractive, but someone who draws attention to herself, wherever she is, whatever she does. Someone who sends men dreaming back to their youth, or shivering like teenagers.
This is opposed to me: the average, normal (if overweight), grey human being, at least in appearance (I dress better since we are you and me). For, as you well know, in my case you have to peel off more than the clothes to discover the truth. But you? This object of glamour, this irresistible sex appeal, how could one handle this, days after days (I will omit the nights for now)?
Well, when we gave it a go, the very first time, all those years back, I was nervous. I am not used, or at least I was not then, to the slim body, those breasts, the looks on me, as soon as I was out of the house and on the sidewalk. Then this way of walking… The female walk is already something to behold, in most cases. But in yours, this reaches another level. How I understood then the way you dress, those shoes, those perfect panties, the long skirts, the elegance and at the same time the practical view of all of it. And I also understood why you enjoy being with me, out there, your silent yet lethal bruiser. The discrete man escorting the angel of sex.
So I learned the walk. I learned to wear those delicate silken things. What a change to the T-shirts and shorts that normally equip your mate! I learned to make up, the way you do, this thin and sophisticated veil of style just saying: I can afford this stuff, but I don’t need to over do it!
But walking, wearing those wonderful soft woman’s things, that is the simplest part of it. Being you, borrowing, as it were, your look and almost your mind, while still being me, is still a challenge. I walk into this bar, where we are supposed to meet, that is you and me, a little later. I sit at the bar, immediately attracting the attention of a dozen males. I think – being me despite the look – what are those zombies after? After five minutes one of them takes his courage in his hands and comes closer for a chat. I tell him to get off my sunshine. He’s rather surprised. Then I, rather, you, come in. We kiss. Ahhh! Being you, kissing me. I admire the bulk of this discrete husband of mine. So calm. So kinda normal!
I drive, me being you, driving this racer of ours, your car in fact. I have changed my shoes for your flat sneakers, wear a pair of your provocative shorts. Can I ever be used to possessing those thighs? Your hand, that is my hand, wanders along one knee. O my gosh! This feeling of being wanted by me, I mean you… And yes, I admit, that is the best part of it: being you being made love by you, in fact me. Maybe another time?
I just know, having walked those streets as you, but knowing that I soon will be me again, I know how lucky this guy is, really.