Maybe it’s because I’m equal parts woman and curmudgeon, but some of the womanly things I’m supposed to love just bother me. They’re not insidious or anything, just over-celebrated. I think, THINK, I can find some agreement from the masses. Otherwise, I’m ditching town as fast as my heels (not overrated, in my opinion) will carry me.
1. Girls’ Night Out
I have no problem with the concept of “girls’ night out,” but the name for the event feels downright branded. (I bet there’s a supposedly “universally flattering” pink lipstick named Girls’ Night Out.) I take no issue with women hanging out together, but since the days of Sex and the City, it seems like the expectation is that we all have friends who get along (instead of, “I can only see Missy at book club because she hates Diane from yoga…”) and are brilliant with the punny quippage. It’s a lot of pressure.
The solve: Go out, just stop trying to put a label on everything. And maybe order beers…
Nothings puts my inner light out faster than the words, “Based on the book by Nicholas Sparks.” Movies designed to make me cry seem trite at best, manipulative at worst. I’m supposed to love a good cry? Why? And why for a film that takes easy potshots? (The formula: Here’s a deathly malady, memory loss, love-gone-wrong, and a sick puppy in the first 30 minutes. The only thing worse would be if those things were in 3-D.)
The solve: A return to the classic screwball comedy, when brassy women like Katherine Hepburn had lots to say and did a whipsmart job doing so. If I want to cry, I’ll watch the news.
These are the used cars of spa treatments, in my opinion. Maybe I’ve not had enough of them, but the few times I’ve gotten one, I feel like I’m paying a not-small amount to have someone layer expensive products on my face while giving me the hard sell for each of them.
The solve: Drinking plenty of water, exercise, taking off your makeup at night, and applying your moisturizer yourself.
I sense puckers turning to sneers on reading that. But, wait… how many abandoned tubes are rolling around at the bottom of your purse? How much time and energy have you put into finding the skin-flattering tone of this moment’s it color? And then the other decisions: Matte, gloss or cream? Way too much thought goes into choosing something that ultimately just ends up on our teeth or the rims of too many coffee mugs (or wine glasses). Yes, long-wearing is a myth, people.
The solve: Lip balm, baby.
5. Being Wooed with Flowers and Chocolates
I love the occasional box of Godiva, or a gorgeous fragrant bouquet, but why is this the go-to gift of romance? An aged cut of blood-red beef sounds just as good as a dozen blood-red long-stems.
The solve: For me, the aforementioned cut of beef. What would go straight to your heart?
6. Lean In and Other Easily-Repeated Feminist Mandates
Look, I could go either way on Sheryl Sandberg’s book. She surely makes some good points, but there’s plenty I don’t agree with, too. Yes, the quest for equal rights was a success from the coming-together of women. But nowadays, I see feminism as being defined by our individual choices and giving each other support for them. When we all latch on to the same concept, it’s kind of like when we all go to the bathroom together: If men don’t need to do it, why do we?
The solve: Not sure. Probably Beyonce.
7. Going to the Bathroom Together
No. Just no. Women’s rooms are already overcrowded as it is thanks to our equipment’s limits. But why must we line the sink with our purses and lace the air with our gossip? Aren’t public restrooms polluted enough?
The solve: Treasure your alone time.
I was into pink for a while, to the point that I had even had a pink coat. But wear pink and people assume you’re that girl. I started being gifted with all things pink: Why did I need pink pliers? Or a pink White Sox hat, when the team’s basic black was much more flattering? It’s kind of insulting, when you think about it: Guys’ stuff is only modified to be baby blue when they’re fresh from the womb.
The solve: Pliers that go with everything.
9. Talking on the Phone
No, this isn’t to do with my preference for texting, or something the modern age has done to me. (For the record, I don’t like texting, either.) I’ve just plain never liked talking on the phone. Caller ID was a blessing for me. Complaining of a low cell battery, yes, I like to use that, too. Maybe it’s rude but there’s something to the male-style phone call of 15 minutes or less.
The solve: Grunt once to let me know you’re alive, twice if you need help.
10. Loving Musicals
Don’t get me wrong: Singing in the Rain and West Side Story can be pretty fun. Emphasis on the word “fun.” I can handle musicals, even enjoy them. But if people are going to be bursting into song for no reason, I think the songs should be upbeat. Those big, sweeping, emotional ballads that stop all the action while one person stands in the center of everything emoting their brains out… in song? I just can’t. I’ve always felt an expectation to love these things, to say, “How powerful!” Sadly, the only power they have over me is making me want to walk out to go to the ladies’ room… Yes, alone.
The solve: More dance numbers, less miserables.
Every time I get my hair cut, I have to timidly ask my stylist to not give me a blowout. “Are you sure?” she asks, even after all this time. Apparently, a blowout is the hairdresser’s offer you can’t refuse. But, for me, blowouts have a homogeneous effect that Paltrow-izes us all.
The solve: Big hair, don’t care.
And now, womanly things that aren’t totally overrated (again, in my opinion)…
The Too-Big Purse
Yes, these can be a curse as easily as a blessing. But just as often they come through like Hermione’s magic bag in Harry Potter. It’s a distinct pleasure to unearth an obscure wanted object for someone in need.
For a long time, I did not do the mani-pedi thing, thinking it cruel and unusual to subject anyone to get that near my runner’s feet.
Having an Opinion About Everything
Don’t get me started on pumpkin spice…
Photo credit: Hamza Daoul via Flickr
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