I wear dresses often when the weather’s nice, but I don’t usually wear them to BJJ class, and when I wore one a couple of weeks ago, the reaction was like “Holy crap, did you guys know Gina was a girl?!” Then this past weekend we had a gathering to celebrate the professor’s wedding, and I didn’t have a dress on, but I did have my hair down and I was wearing makeup, so some of the people I train with didn’t even recognize me! Barber Brian’s son Micah said “I didn’t know you wore long hair!” Yeah, but I don’t wear it when I train. I also don’t wear makeup or dresses when I’m training, so I guess I can understand why some of my bros are surprised to see me that way.
I’ve written about this topic before, but it’s still funny to me that I can be incognito around people I train with, simply by looking stereotypically “girly”. When I was younger I was a tomboy, but around puberty I went in the opposite direction, and I became really into my hair, makeup, and clothes. I never left the house without my hair did and makeup on. I wore so much of it that my friends dubbed me “The Maybelline Queen”.
I wore mascara on my first day of Karate class, and after it ran down my face (because I sweat like a pig!), I never wore makeup again while training. It was actually freeing for me to not give a damn about what I looked like during class, and to once again embrace the tomboyish side of myself. I also started wearing makeup less often outside of class, and these days I mostly put it on just for special occasions. I realized how seldom I wear it now after the last time I had makeup on and my daughter told me “You look better than you look.” Um…thanks?
Besides forgoing makeup, I also do my best to put my hair away when I’m doing BJJ. I don’t know how some people with long hair can stand training with just a ponytail, because if I did that it would totally annoy me, and I would probably have to stop every 30 seconds to fix it! What works best for me is to put my hair in two tight pigtails, braid them, then pull them back and secure them together at the back of my neck. This usually stays well, but my hair still looks like a soggy rat’s nest by the end!
Recently someone I train with commented that I looked like crap after class, and I said “Then it’s a good thing I’m not here for a beauty contest.” There are times and places where I still wear makeup, long hair, and dresses, but BJJ class isn’t one of them. Apparently, that also means I can be in disguise around some of the people I train with when I do dress up!