The Knitting Journeyman

Gathering Up One Thread At A Time As I Weave This Web Of Mine.....

Monday, February 22, 2010

What It Feels Like For A Girl

As weird as it sounds, my brain is all over the place today. I was having a conversation w a friend, listening to various discussions, seeing various things go on and how we all as people, not just as women, handle things
My friend goes out every week. She gets her hair done. She gets her nails done, fingers and toes. She gets her hair color touched up every three weeks, trimmed every six weeks. She gets her eyebrows waxed every two weeks. She gets waxed…in other places…at least once a month. And that’s not even what she does on her own, from a full-scale application of make-up every single morning, to curling irons and blow dryer and gels and mousses and hair spray, to touching up her nail polish when it chips. It is stunning, the amount of effort this woman puts into things. I asked her why she does all this. Her response evoked some rather powerful issues w me. She said, she does all of this so that her husband will continue to find her attractive.

I won’t go into anything else there. There is far too much going on. There is enough here to get me started.

I, personally, don’t DO anything for anyone, except myself.

I watch women, friends, every single day, and I am baffled. I have always done this, wondered why women put so much time and effort into things. And none of it is really for them, when they stop and think about it. They are not doing all of these things for themselves. They are doing it because other people expect it, or prefer it, or like it, or demand it, or whatever.

What do you do, every morning? Do you get up, put your face on, put your clothes on, go to work?

What about those of us who stay home, either working from home, or staying home w children—not that staying home w children is any less work than anything else.

What do you do and WHY?

I rarely wear make-up. I have never really worn make-up, not since high school. I wear some, now and then. Usually when I wear make-up, we are going out, say to the symphony, or I need a mood pick-me-up. Sometimes I simply like to play w make-up and so put some on, just because I can.

What do you do to feel like a girl? And why do you do it?

I think that is the more important thing that I am wondering. Why?

I can see wearing make-up in a professional environment. People take women more seriously in an office environment when they ‘fit in’ by wearing make-up. I can see wearing make-up when going out on the town, clubbing, or to the theatre. It’s part of getting dressed up and going out. But every day? At home? Nah. I don’t care enough about keeping up with things to wear make-up every single day.

Nail polish? I wear nail polish. And toe polish. I have to keep my toe nails painted in order to feel human. If my toes are not done, I feel…less than myself. I need to take care of my feet anyway, so painting my toe nails helps me focus on remembering to take care of my feet more. Plus, when I am doing Yoga, the color on my toes gives me a place to focus. Then, in warmer months, there is just something about wearing open toed shoes and having just a peep of color show through.

Clothes? This one I find sort of funny. I recently bought my boyfriend silk boxers, because he has said that he’s been wanting to get a pair of real silk boxers. He also said that he thought I would really appreciate seeing him in them. Ok, I have all sorts of ideas about lingerie for me, for women. I have all sorts of opinions about gag undies for men, say, men who wear kilts and like to flash the …neighborhood, as do my boyfriend and a friend of his every Mardi Gras. Here’s another ‘hmm’ moment for me: do the boxers really do anything for me? I am very laid back. I know this man tries to do whatever he can to add spice and variety to our life together. But, for me, personally, I am not really interested in what he wears. He looks good in his jeans…and even better out of them. So, boxers, for me, don’t really do much. He has a pair with smiley faces that glow in the dark. Those are my favorite pair…and they have been since he modeled them for me while I was pregnant w my son. The whole silk thing? If it makes him feel sexy, if makes him feel good, I am all for it. But wearing them just for me is a waste of time.

That’s why I wear lingerie. Because it makes me feel good. Because I like it. I don’t care if he likes it. As I tell him, since he does love lingerie, the fact that he likes it too is just gravy for me.

His favorite outfit on a woman is tight jeans and a tank top. In warmer weather, that is all I wear. I’ve dressed that way for years. I do not do it just for him. As a matter of fact, when we did start dating and he told me that that was what he likes, I stopped wearing the tank tops for awhile, almost as if I wanted to make sure he was liking me for me. I didn’t want him to think I was dressing to impress him or to appease him.
I always wear tight jeans…even the ones that are too big and slide off/down my hips, I wear tight. Spandex is a wonderful thing…or whatever they put in jeans these days that makes them stretch. I grew up in the 80s—tight jeans work for me.

My big thing is I don’t do anything for anyone else that I would not do for myself. If I were not dating, would I have my legs? Would I wear make-up? Would I dye my hair? Would I wear the bustier under something else? Would I paint my nails? Would I wax or pluck my eyebrows? If ever I answer no to any of those questions, then I don’t do it when I am w someone.

I am not saying I don’t love my boyfriend. I am not saying I don’t want to look good for him. I am saying that I learned my lesson from past experiences and have no real desire to repeat them.

I had an ex that asked me to stop shaving so much. I could shave my legs, but my normal Brazilian had to go, according to him. I actually complied for awhile, but I felt so gross, so old, and so unclean, I couldn’t continue. When I stopped and realized that I was doing things like that simply because my own self-esteem was so low that I thought it was the only way to make the guy like me, I stopped.

That was a big lesson for me. I felt so horrible about myself at the time that I needed someone else to tell me how to define myself. That’s the conversation my friend and I were running into the other day.

She’s upset, because she is over-weight, in a space where she is not feeling happy w herself, and she is over-compensating in the only ways she knows how. She isn’t working on herself for her; she’s working on herself so he’ll like her. That is not the same thing.

If you stop and look at yourself, does it bring you pause, the reason you do or do not do things?

I started to wax and to pluck my eyebrows while I was w the ex-husband.. I had the unruly Brooke Shields of old eyebrows. I don’t know why I decided that plucking my eyebrows would make me more attractive to him, but I latched on to that and went with it. It was not always a good thing. When I was nervous and depressed, I tended to over-pluck, in the name of making things even. Since I started plucking, I’ve never really stopped; I am simply not so diligent. And I have let them grow back in more over the past few years as well. Now they get routine maintenance and nothing more, if that.

I do things now, for myself, that make me happy. Not for any other reaon. I like having my nails painted. I am more careful with my hands when my nails are painted, which causes my fingernails to grow longer, or to at least stay longer and not break so much. I wear odd colors, well, because I am an artistic person and I like that. Dark greens and dark blues are my favorite colors. Although dark purples work too.

I dress the way I dress because I like it, I am comfortable and I enjoy what I wear. I do have the added benefit of working from home and not needing to conform to any given dress code, but even when I worked in an office, I had plenty of leeway to dress in a way that made me happy.

It’s like my tattoos and my piercings. I don’t do these things for other people, or to impress other people. I love my tattoos. I am very proud of many of them. The one I am not proud of…are being removed, as we speak. Now, I do try to keep the tattoos under cover at times, out of respect for others, like my father, but overall, I am me and I am proud to flaunt that. Same goes with my piercings. My ears are pierced and so is my nose. I don’t worry about that. It’s just me. If I worked a more corporate job, things might be different. Nothing, however, would convince me to remove my nose ring. I am who I am. I would not take a job that required I remove my jewelry.

If I don’t do it for me, whether I am in a relationship, or hoping to be a relationship, or whatever, then I don’t do it when I am in a relationship. If I don’t do it to me, period, I do not do it. If I am not true to who I am, why should I bother trying to be true to what someone else thinks I should be true to for them?