There’s a certain expectation for women to be feminine, no matter what. It starts in childhood and continues and grows into adulthood.
My mother-in-law is staying with us right now. We were talking about one of her daughters the other night and she made a comment that I just can’t get out of my mind.
“You know, a man is just going to be dirty sometimes. It’s just how they are. They work hard, get dirt under their nails, they sweat. But us ladies, we need to look our best all the time. I’ll never understand a woman leaving her house without her hair done, her make-up done, and smelling nice. It’s just not right.”
The daughter we were discussing does not bathe regularly. That’s a far cry from being picture perfect every time one leaves the house. Basic hygiene should be a requirement for anyone, regardless of gender.
But the expectation that I, a woman, should have every hair in place and put on war paint because I am exiting my domicile is ludicrous.
I know my mother-in-law isn’t the only woman, or person, who feels this way. My mother has mentioned more than once, she wishes I would do ‘something’ with myself. By something, I’m sure she means put on makeup and fix my hair.
Pardon me if I think I’m doing well having on clean, comfortable clothing, teeth and hair brushed, and matching shoes. My socks, will rarely ever match.
Like anyone else, I enjoy getting gussied up now and then. Maybe once every few years. I don’t wear makeup; I don’t even own any. Does chapstick count? I think there’s a tube of lip gloss in a purse, somewhere.
My lack of femininity has nothing to do with being a mom or becoming complacent in my marriage. I’ve always been this way. I may not have a ton of self-esteem, but I’ve needed none of those trappings to enjoy relationships with others. If someone else wears makeup, does their hair, and wears the latest fashions, I think that’s wonderful.
But it’s just not me.
Any time I’ve tried to be more feminine in this way, I’ve been wholly uncomfortable. I constantly rub my eyes, my face, pull at my clothes. Someone has compared me to a five-year-old being made to sit still somewhere they have no desire to be. Well, I have no desire being made up and pushed into clothing that I find uncomfortable. So it’s a fairly apt description.
Don’t even get me started on heels.
“When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others.” — Anais Nin
When people are comfortable, whether physically or mentally, they are more inclined to be content. I know when I’m content, I’m the closest to happy I think I’ll ever get. I’m relaxed, it’s easier for me to concentrate, and I can get more done.
If I’ve had a good day, my family comes home to a happier and less grumpy me. If I feel they have forced me to be someone other than myself all day, to placate some tired standard of what a woman should be, you can believe I will not be a pleasant person to be around. I doubt anyone would, given the same treatment.
Some of us just weren’t meant to be girly girls, and that’s okay. It would be a boring world if we were all the same.