Friday, May 25, 2012

Spitfire and Sassafras: The Girlishness of Me

I’ve a great big confession to share.  I enjoyed being a girl last weekend.  I had an entire weekend of girly fun.  I celebrated my birthday with a girls weekend full of girls.  An extended slumber party of silliness and giggles.   Not one trip to the hardware store, for me that's like rehab, intervention, cold-turkey withdrawal type action.  No home repairs.  No fighting, fisticuffs or fury.  A whole weekend, Imagine that? I dressed up pretty and even showed some, ready? Serious cleavage.  Yes sir-eee Bob! Me and Cleavage took a little walk together. I broke a little free you might say.  I haven't been one for cleavage, much.  I was never so sure how to pull it off, or push 'em up.

When I was nine or ten my mother attempted to indoctrinate me into girlishness or lady-like behavior by instituting a program called You-Are-Wearing-a-Skirt Once-a-Week Day.  Being all sassafras and spitfire, she didn't know what to do with me or how to contain me.   I think I might have been allowed to pick the day between Monday and Wednesday, after that all bets were off.  I was going down and would emerge somehow girly.  Doesn’t that sound like the way girls become girly?   Go figure.  I would have been happy to die in my overalls at that point of my life, I was holding off puberty and I had a stronghold against it.   Imagine what Wednesday looked like?  Hair a nest of knots and recrimination, skirt revealing scabbed and bandaged, bruised, knock knees, shirt attempting to break up the pine board figure.   I had no desire to be girly.  I had an older sister who seemed to be looking into that task in ways that suddenly had no appeal to me.  She had breasts for one (or two) thing(s).  Serious ones. That alone scared the hell out of me.  The fear of breasts and bras stayed on for quite some time (maybe up until about a month ago).  Some girls needed to lie in bed once a month and sometimes even miss school.  They couldn't go swimming either.  Not yet anyway. Girlish? Ladylike?  No thank-you very much! 

I had brothers and a father that occasionally camped.  And got dirty.  They showered and started up again.  The men in my family drank beer and whiskey and laughed raucously.  They did not lie in bed, cramped and moaning.  They joked and provoked and played serious bouts of one-up-man-ship using language and banter. Cut you down to size and watch to see if you could climb back up again and take your place, among men, kind of games.  Skill and timing, words and word play.  Innuendo and satire.  Thrill and excitement filled me when I discovered this way of being.  Early on I acted like a stealthy apprentice and learned the ways of the men in my family.  The women didn’t appear to have much of what I wanted or needed.  Spirited and willful, I developed wit and sharpened my skills.  I grew older and could no longer avoid the growth of hips, the monthly curse and the somewhat modest growth of breasts.  I continued to hone my skills at wit and built a tolerance for drinking grown men under a few tables.  I didn’t dislike being considered one of the guys.  

The men in my family valued me, they egged me on and they rewarded me for being able to keep up or shut it down, sharply.  I believed this would be equally valued beyond my family as I interacted with men in the world.  Occasionally I run into one or another that glimmers and gleams and shines a little when I get to play.  Most often it is not appreciated or understood.  I am out of place in the world of men and I have understood very little in dealing with the vast majority of women.
I had no desire to be one of the girlish girly girls. Except that I imagined that not being one of the girlish girly girls would reveal how great I was.  How different and special and unique. I was a girl but not girly.  To me that meant, I could keep up with the guys.  I could laugh and play and joke and drink.  I could shoot the shit, as it were and stand my ground.  I could do all this and look maybe a bit sexy, if not too girly.  I thought.  I’m not entirely sure if I lost out by not honing the skills of being passive, demure, delicate and perhaps subservient.  See, there I go throwing in negative words for girlishness.  Docile, meek and mild mannered are much more pleasant than subservient, obedient and servile right? 

It’s surely a little late in the game to be struggling with all of this and I am trying to bring it all together and quickly.  I am sharp-witted and can go round for round in innuendo and snark.  Being single and interested and ready to be out in the world again, this often gets misunderstood as wild and even “easy”.   Sure there are other unpleasant words for all this, but they truly offend my not so visible ladylike sensibilities.  And so I don’t get to play much or move much beyond playing. I would love a(as in one) partner that could “play” and see beyond that. 

I’m not very good at following all the rules of the hunt, or dance, or rules of attraction.  It hasn’t come my way often, this mutual attraction.  When it does, woohoo, I want it all yesterday and again a few more times today and the day after that and again.  Who wouldn’t?  Life is short and full of all kinds of unattractive, unpleasant going-ons why not enjoy the sparks and jolts?  That’s what I think anyway.  Not very girlish I suppose.  Passive and patient just feels like repression and forced frustration, is that girlish?  That’s not a dance I learned when I was drinking the boys under the table.  Men, I thought were more into full participation sports and activities.  I guess that’s with other men in a sports arena.

I was a bit embarrassed recently, while not exactly working the cleavage, or at least not purposefully, when a comment was shared about "a nice view".  I hadn't realized I was sharing a view.  I had been working overtime on the gams.  Pencil skirt, heels.  I have been running and biking and had some confidence in the legs, in spite of the scars and melatonin overdrive, the shape and strength was worth a little look-see.  I imagined.  I felt completely foolish afterwards when I recalled how such a view was gleaned.  I was sitting on a bench hunched over as though I was waiting to go up to bat any time soon.  Forearms resting above my knees, hunched over very much like "one of the boys" except I was at work, in a pencil skirt and lose fitting shirt.  Maybe You-Are-Wearing-a-Skirt Once-a-Week Day needed a little more direction.  Oh well.  What the hey?  Battttttttter-Up.  Striiiiiiiiiiike One!

It’s clear I don’t get the rules and I don't like them, as a rule.  I don’t know how to change this.  It might be time to stop trying....... So......Hard.  It might be time to just come to terms with being a girl.  And so I have been shopping for girly things.  Bras.  Lingerie.  Panties.  Lace and lightness.   It’s not so bad it turns out.  I can do this.  I have actually even enjoyed it a bit.  Maybe a little more practice and time will tell if I can quietly, demurely await the arrival of a mannish brute or some such fellow.  

I don’t have to wait in one place though, right?  Tomorrow I hike.  Strong and spirited.  Pack full of warrior and weapons.  Weighted down with frustration and desire.   Releasing my regrets, I will hike. I will climb.  I will climb right up on top...........  Wink-wink. I might wear the black and pink French lace or the lavender satin, which pack goes best, the navy or camo colored?  I’ll pack my daisy-covered water bottle.  I wonder if there is dehydrated quiche at the outpost in Keene? Maybe some big strong man can help carry my.......  Not a chance, this one is mine!


Anonymous said...

If & when "they" carry, does not mean you are weak! Enjoy your weekend & hike!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I read here a lot at and glad to be a part of the forums.

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