I am still learning, after several decades, the ways of being a female. Currently the moon is full, the hormones fluctuate from day-to-day and I parent a ten year-old and two teenagers. They call these years mid-life but I sometimes feel like I am re-living my teenage years all over again. I’ve been granted a do-over of all the unresolved issues I never figured out way back when.
I stand before my closet, on most days, as if it is my enemy. How does one dress for one’s age? Most mornings I rush out the door; grateful to choose from among ten polos that bear our company’s name. I have no time to change my mind; the choice easily made. But what is appropriate for other occasions? Is the blouse too low-cut for work? Are the overalls too casual for a parent meeting? Is the dress too hoochie-like for a girls night out at the movies? My cluttered closet overflows yet I can’t find anything to wear.
It is on days like these that I wish I were a man.
I watched the husband empty clothes hangers into black trash bags. He never has to worry about a low-cut blouse, mini shorts or skirts, heels, nor make-up. He doesn’t delude himself that he will fit into the jeans he wore in high school; he tosses them in the bag. He holds on to the Top Gun shirt with the holes. Four trash bags were donated; his closet almost empty.
Men do not mince words and usually say what they mean and mean what they say. They don’t waste time with small talk and get right to the point. They do not tell you all is well when they really don’t mean it. There are no hidden social snubs; they are much more transparent. Instead of worrying if they should hug or kiss one another; they extend hands or clap twice upon the other’s back. They can nod from across the room. If a guy doesn’t like another one; he just stays away from him.
Not so for us females. We enter rooms hoping our appearance exudes what we want others to see. We are not transparent. We will smile and hug our enemy while telling them they look great. We assess bag brands, children’s schedules over coffee and tell one another what we want to hear; not necessarily what we need to hear. We post pictures on social media; the good ones, that tell the stories we want others to see. We form groups and cliques and love feeling included. We cluster around those with titles and think of witty things to say; like queen bees and wanna-bes. We write paragraphs trying to get our points across. I am guilty.
Yes, there are the males who compare cars and jobs, dropping hints of six figures. But for the most part my male friends talk news and politics and argue sports calls. They are not super sensitive; they are more apt to say things like they are and hash it out. They can assess situations much more objectively. They use bullet-points to get their points across. A sentence is short and concise; not more than six words. It’s that simple.
I found myself asking the opinion of my hubs as I worked through a situation in my head. My husband has always given me the same answer; the one I refused to acknowledge. I was surprised to hear the eldest son interject his opinion as I rattled names out loud. I am tired of the girlfriends who say things are fine when really they aren’t. The son answered who were true and who were false. He had no reason to lie; he spoke with candor and the depth of his understanding rattled. He called things like they were. I was blinded by emotions, false loyalty and history.
I admire the males who can exude confidence without drawing too much attention. Those who are fair and can share what needs to be said to make things right. The men who can lead by example and motivate others to serve. I appreciate the XYs who are well-maintained (good hygiene, groomed, dressed appropriately, etc.); they don’t have to be buff or uber-athletic. The ones who work with their hands and love the challenge of tough questions. The guys who give people space without judgment; who don’t micromanage nor are OCD. The males who smile without artifice; who can laugh out loud and take the heat when someone else dishes it out. The guys who give hugs and words of encouragement, without subtle meanings. The ones who won’t kick me down when I’m hurting but will lift me up and throw me back on the horse.
I wish my female friends could be more like men.
Don’t get me wrong, I can be a girlie-girl. I love to go shopping and perusing make-up counters in malls. I love to chatter away with a drink in-hand: coffee, beer or wine. I write in paragraphs and enjoy the nuances and subtle meanings of the written word in poetry, books, music or news articles. But I’m distracted by things that don’t matter and smoke and mirrors. I say yes when I really need to say no.
I long for acceptance instead of accepting who I am.
I get lost in the cliques and brand names. I am invisible to others without a title. When people ask how are you? they say the words but don’t really care about the answer. I need a way to work this through; longing for boxing gloves and a punching bag versus disingenuous words and getting sucker-punched reading between the lines. I need things to be simple.
I thought the above as I sat in the cafe, waiting for our order. The couple at the order counter had sat behind me in a crowded stadium, the night before, at a high school rivalry game. We are parents in the same booster organization. Last evening they were chatty and in the cafe I readied my hand to wave at them in acknowledgement. When my hubs called to me to toss my keys; he had crossed directly in front of them. But I never got to wave; their body language pretending they did not see me. I was invisible.
When asked what super-power I’d like to have, I usually answer with invisibility. Instead, I want the power of discernment. To know who is true and who is false.
Most of my male friends do not hold grudges. They get their agressions out and let things go. All is forgiven. I strive to tap into this mentality; to resolve my issues and stand up tall. I take the hits as they come and am grateful for my hubs and sons to bring me clarity. I speak my truths. To the friends who have heard me I thank you; you know who you are. I am making progress.
May our relationships remain simple and our words be always true.