I’ll admit it – I’m a tomboy. I do occasionally wear heels and dresses; I am physically capable of applying mascara and straightening my hair. But I’ll be honest: I would rather talk about football than the latest gossip. I’m much more scared of manicures than creepy crawlies. And don’t even get me started on the ridiculousness of ‘Made in Chelsea’…
Now obviously I’ve made some pretty generic statements on gender there and feel I should probably clarify my position on this. Clearly there are ladies out there who like cars and gents who like makeup, and I think that’s great. I don’t buy into the idea that, “girls wear pink, boys wear blue,” and I’m all for male nurses and female plumbers. I believe in equal opportunities and equal pay for people who do the same good job. There are still some things in life that I really don’t see anything wrong with being ‘genderised’ – for example, I don’t think science should ever go down the road of male childbearing. There are lots of things that make us unique as men and women that I think are brilliant and we should recognise and celebrate, not see as divisive and problematic.
Anyway, it’s all become a bit serious. If anything, I like being a tomboy. I get to complain about (but secretly enjoy) dressing up for a wedding / night out on an infrequent enough basis to just about remember how to do it. I can joke around with “the lads” whilst having an inbuilt female filter about what is an acceptable level of banter: I can also see when the target of the mickey-taking is trying to hide the fact that he is actually a bit upset (and possibly about to cry – which is, naturally, fine with me).
Maybe the stuff I don’t get about boys will be a subject for another time. I am quite experienced at being a woman. I feel like I’m in more of a position to pass judgment on myself in relation to other females of the species. So here goes. Apologies to any girls reading who think I need to get over it, but I just don’t get it… why do we ask such silly questions?
“What are you wearing?”
There’s an episode of Friends (‘The One Where No One’s Ready”) where Ross is getting frustrated that ‘the gang’ won’t get dressed ready to attend his big night at the museum. Rachel causes particular problems by failing to even choose an outfit, never mind actually put one on. I am Ross. I don’t get how making this decision can possibly take so much time. Girls are always asking one another what they are going to wear for a night out, which to my mind just unnecessarily prolongs the process of dressing, which is a stressful and time-consuming enough activity for me when jeans and trainers are unacceptably casual. I therefore like to make it as simple as possible by giving myself one, or at most two, outfit options. Presumably girls want to know the answer in order to accurately determine a vaguely unique, yet reasonably similar outfit to the rest of the crowd. I am simply interested in the most comfortable clothing I can find that is of a satisfactory level of smartness. As a post-script to this section, I should also mention that I learnt a painful lesson after an unfortunate incident at Buckingham Palace when I thought my wedges were comfortable when I tried them on at home; If any pair of shoes hurts when I stand up in them to check my outfit in the mirror, I can confirm that it would be a bad choice to wear them.
“Do I need a coat?”
Yes. If you’ve had to ask the question, the answer is always yes. I’m pretty sure most of the men who are forced to give up their jackets to their cold, underdressed “should-I-bring-a-jacket?-no-I’m-sure-I’ll-be-alright” girlfriends would back me up on this. I’m convinced that the irritation of having to carry a coat or pay a couple of quid to stow it in the cloak room is a better option than freezing to death in a queue to get in, or a taxi rank to get home. Obviously this rule doesn’t apply if you’re a tough Northern bird – I am Southern and therefore wimpy.
“Do you need the loo?”
Apparently when ladies go out of an evening, it suddenly becomes necessary to be accompanied at all times when visiting the toilets. There was a recent (unrelated) news story about a cubicle at one of the venues for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi having two toilets inside it. The reliability of this story has since been questioned, but as far as I’m concerned this isn’t a new thing. At Loughborough University I clearly remember thinking how odd it was that one of the cubicles in the Students Union was a “double”. Since successfully becoming potty-trained, I haven’t required any assistance to get to, use, or exit the ladies’ room. Going into loos in twos doesn’t make queuing more efficient… and to be honest I just think it’s weird.
“Should I buy it?” and “Does my bum look big in this?”
I know not all girls like shopping and to be fair I would say I probably vary a bit in this area myself. However as a general rule, I make my own mind up on whether or not to buy something pretty quickly and I certainly try not to project this question onto the unlucky soul navigating Westfield with me. This is obviously harsh on my part – I’m sure it is a reasonable and normal thing to ask for advice from a friend, but let’s be honest here: if you like it, you will almost definitely buy it anyway. Meanwhile, usually even the very best of friends will disguise an honest, “Yes, your bum looks massive in that” with a gentler, more kindly, completely unrelated, “I’m just not sure they’re the right colour for you”. Why do we ask that question if we don’t ever give (or want to receive) the ‘real’ answer?
“OMG, do you think she has got fatter?”
I was going to write a section about female gossip magazines, but it started making me feel really angry. This article is supposed to be reasonably lighthearted so I’ve decided to write a whole entry about that at a later date (probably soon, I must get these feelings out). Watch this space.
Well on that jolly note, that’s probably about as many girly questions as I can handle in one day. Sorry about all the moaning. Having read this back, it’s actually turned out to just be a reflection on my own inadequacies as a “proper” girl. Anyway, must go… there’s Spanish Football on the telly tonight and I need to catch a spider.