Learning to be a girl: Lesson one: the purse


So, as I have explained before, I never really learned the skills and art of being entirely girly. To some it just comes so naturally! And although I have always prided myself on being strong, tough, independent, and all that other crap, there are times when I see these beautiful, graceful girls with their girly talents and glittering nails, and I wonder, “What would I be like if I knew some of these skills?” I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love my mother to bits, you really can’t get much better of a mother, for sure. But she went a little overboard on maniacally NOT gender stereotyping me as a kid. So all those cute, fluffy party dresses that the other little girls had? Yeah — you’ll see me, sticking out like a sore thumb, wearing Osh-Kosh overalls and sailor hats. Cute? Yeah, sure! But it did not exactly set me up for a life of harmony with my feminine side, by any means. And while all my cute-girl classmates were taking ballet, gymnastics, and art classes, I was playing baseball with a bunch of other tomboys. Like, really mom! I mean I know you wanted to show me that my horizons were not confined to things of various hues of pink, and you definitely succeeded in that, and I am forever grateful – but would it have really killed me to take dance? Learn to move un-klutzishly? Having always thought of girly-girls as pathetically weak, I now see it in a different way. And true power, I think, comes from being in balance rather than at war with your masculine and feminine sides. I mean, it took me until very recently, within the past couple years really, to admit even to myself that I would like to be a little more in tune with my feminine side! And I do! And I think I’m making some progress. Coming now to the title of my blog, I would like to casually mention that I now own about eight purses. Overboard? Yes! But even four years ago, I flat-out refused to carry a purse, thinking they looked retarded, were impractical, uncomfortable, and WAY too girly for me to pull off. Now? Yeah I kind of get the whole purse obsession thing, I do. I have a red purse. A yellow purse. A sexy black purse! And two brown leather purses. Who knew! And it occurred to me, (acknowledging here the utter un-originality of this statement!) that purses really do symbolize the level of comfort you have with your femininity. Not only am I cool now with purses, and all that entails, I am getting to the point where I am able to see girlishness as something other than a threat to my appearance as strong, tough, and independent. Because you can be all those things, and be a girl! This may sound like a complete Captain Obvious statement to many of you, who had this figured out long ago, with your dance lessons and pretty pink dresses and dolls… but for someone who grew up playing with Tonka Trucks and Duplo this is a major concession. I mean, they say that you can learn alot about people by asking them, “What are you most afraid someone would say about you?” And for me, it is unequivocally that someone might say that I am “weak.” And having always associated weak = girly, I have always gone out of my way to prove my competence, and be basically as un-girly as possible. But I’m making progress. The purses were the first step, along with the purging of my vintage men’s wardrobe, which was truly a hideous sight to behold. I know there are others out there like me! C’mon! Lets band together here and do something totally out of our comfort zone — like get a manicure! What an adventure that would be!




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