It started with my new wardrobe.
False; it started with growing up in a family of mostly boys. I grew up tom-boy… but I didn’t know it. Compared to the boys I was girlie and I liked pink very much, but the finer gentle sides of femininity were lost on me.
When my kids fell down, I dusted the dirt off and told ‘em to get back out there. Apparently mama’s are supposed to give loves and cuddles and shush the child back to “all better.” Missed the mark there, a little spit to wipe the blood off and they were good! My kids are tough, what can I say?!
Also… apparently if a guy is making eyes at you and he’s being prodded by a buddy to come say hi… an appropriate feminine response is to tuck one’s head toward a shoulder in a coy, submissive fashion, whilst batting eyes and flicking hair, as opposed to my opened arm bellow, “I’m right here, yo!” For the record… he didn’t come over but my wing-chick and I did get offered a drink by another nice guy.
Then, there’s this inviting men to dinner thing! First of all, this is an evil unspoken rule of the male population and, somehow, though I grew up around men… this knowledge escaped me. The rule goes like this, if a woman invites you to dinner at “her” place… it implies something more than dinner is gonna be cookin!!! Who knew?! I, for one, did not! Then a kind man explained it to me. I thought it a lame rule but…
After this unspoken rule was revealed things that didn’t make sense… clicked! I thought back and realized that some of my former male students that I’d had to my house before (when I was married) suddenly couldn’t make it to dinner. Buddies who were otherwise pretty normal got weirded out by the invitation. I didn’t have that issue with any lady students or friends. I realized the rule was a thing!! I was MORTIFIED that I’d been giving that impression.
Then it got worse! A close friend “assumed” I was sleeping with a guy. How could that assumption be made about me?! I’ve done my best to make it clear to everyone my choice is to be abstinent right now for myself and for my faith. I don’t want to give that impression, and yet apparently I was. I got mad because I thought it was lame that I couldn’t invite men over to my house for dinner but then I thought about it and realized who I WASN’T inviting for dinner... None of the guys I date ever come for dinner! Ok, well, one did after quite a while and nothing happened, my boys can attest to it. But it made me realize that maybe I also “knew” the rule but only employed it with certain males, I'm still pondering the "why" of that one.
So, I'm learning to give more loves and less spit cleans, to bat my eyes instead of challenging a man to ask for my number and to not invite men to my house for dinner!
Back to the wardrobe... As my divorce finalized and I entered into The Middle I wanted to define myself in a way that said, “I’m not going to wallow in self-pity any longer!” I asked my girl-friend with amazing style and flair to help me. She graciously accepted, sat down on my oversized couch, patted the cushion beside her, and when I sat, asked what style I was going for. I told her I wanted to look pretty like her, she said she wanted to clarify because I had a sort of tough-girl theme going on with what I wore. We went through my wardrobe and threw out most of the dark colors and stark, straight lines.
She took me shopping (a thing I loathe but have decided I need to do at times because minimalist doesn't necessarily equate to cheap). She outfitted me in florals and frills and color and flowy things that made my heart sing. After sporting my new look for a couple weeks I overheard a cubicle conversation, the gist of which was that, yes, I really have come into a more feminine version of myself but… “She still does have boyish tendencies, doesn’t she?” one co-worker joked. They all giggled in their girlish way and I told them in a very un-girlish way that I was right there and could totally hear them… they just laughed louder.
I guess, the moral of this little blog post is… you can put me in flowers and pastels but I’ll always be a little boyish and tough. But y’all know you love me... and, anyway, I can still flex in ruffles so there!