The Way We Walk: Writing Lesson From a Tight Skirt

The road was closed for infrastructure repairs. Although the sidewalk was open, a huge machine at one end of the road was sending clouds of dust and grit into the air.

To get away from the dust, I turned left into an alley. As I squeezed past the big truck blocking the alley, a large shiny SUV swung in at the other end.

The SUV paused halfway along the alley, clearly waiting for the truck to move out of the way. The truck driver’s door hung open and there was no sign of him. In any case the road was blocked, so there was no way the SUV would be able to get through.

The SUV horn blared – long and hard.

And again.

The passenger door flung open and a woman leaped out. She was beautifully made up and coiffed, in an elegant, pastel yellow suit with a shapely fitted skirt, silk scarf, and very high heeled shoes.

She strode towards the truck, chin jutted forward, mouth pulled down, fists clenched. Her fitted skirt strained across her thighs.

This was not the way to walk in this outfit. You simply can’t stride in a fitted skirt and high heels. (Have you noticed how difficult it is for women to straighten their legs properly when wearing very high heels?)

It was as though I was watching two different people at the same time: an elegant, classy, ultra-ladylike woman, and a raging virago.

Have you ever noticed differences between the way people walk and the way they are dressed?

Have you ever felt awkward or ill at ease in what you were wearing?

Has what you were wearing made you feel a different kind of person somehow?

We often wear ‘uniforms’ (some are easily identifiable – fireman, nurse, policeman; others are less distinct – clothes appropriate for the office, teaching, giving a presentation, working out, a funeral…) How do these clothes affect the way you move? How does this ‘outer you’ affect the ‘inner you’?

In your WIP, how does your character walk at the beginning? At the most critical crisis point? At the end? (You don’t have to include this in the story. Just being able to feel or visualize it might help clarify the situation or character)

 

 

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