Banno, not content with my posts about goobers and how much children suck, wants further proof that I’m constantly sinning against my gender.
Anything for a friend:
1. Phone. I remember the phone as an essential part of my teenage years, stuck to my ear as I ate, studied, watched TV, listened to music, or even went to sleep. I’d wake up in the morning and my dad would hand me the ringing phone along with my morning chocolate. I spent so much time on it, I developed code systems through which I could communicate when unfriendly ears were near. I was a living, breathing teenage cliche and my parents had the bills to prove it. No longer. These days I can’t wait to get off the damn thing. I hate everything about it – the sound of the ringing, the feel of the handset against my ear, how I can’t just hold up my end of the conversation through expressions alone… email me if you want better conversations.
2. Walk. I don’t walk, I stride. Charmingly, or so pervy men have said (thank you, pervy men!), but it’s definitely a stride. Walking with my mother is a test of patience because I’m always half a block away by the time she’s out of the car and then I have to wait for her to catch up while she asks me where the fire’s at. In my belly, Ma, where it’s always been.
3. Hunch. Another thing about my walk – I do it with my spine straight. Shoulders back, full height plus generous heels, eyes ahead. I’m not ashamed of myself nor am I sick, why the hell should I slouch and bend over like I have osteoporosis when I’m going about my business? I was once depressed about something and all hunched up on my way home when a homeless man passed me on the street and asked me to walk with pride. He might have been living out of a shopping cart but he knew what was important. I wish I’d thanked him but he strode away soon as he said it and left me gobsmacked on the sidewalk. So I’m just going to pay it forward and tell you to walk with your chin high.
4. Handshake. Okay, I don’t know how other women shake hands but every time I do it, I get these surprised looks from people like they were expecting to be handed a dead fish and found a human hand instead. And it’s usually men who give me those looks. Why are men so obsessed with handshakes anyway?
5. Love. Sorry, but I don’t play. No love letters, no gentle weeping at the thought of goodbye, no “our song”, no monthly anniversary, no dried flowers in poetry books. I tried when I was young and didn’t know I could say things like, “Dude, no offense but this makes me feel really stupid so I’m not going to do it.” I make up for it in other ways. Besides, men are much better at this sort of stuff, I find, and it’s a lot sweeter when they beat gender expectations and do it.
6. Cry. Obviously, I cry. Duh. Human beings do. But I don’t do it in public and never to manipulate. I’ve met men and women who do this (and sadly, most of them have been women) and I don’t like it. I have nothing against genuine expressions of grief but this is something else entirely.
7. Smile. “Smile less! No, no! Not like that! Try smiling with your lips closed then!” How many times have I heard that? And all it does is make me smile harder, longer and even more widely. Hee! I also laugh loud enough to make heads turn. In public. Sue me.
8. Funeral. I accompanied my grandmother’s body to the crematorium when she died. People gave me funny looks but I thought she deserved to have someone who loved her, remembered her as she used to be at her best, of her own blood, be there for her at the very end. My dad threw his arm around me and simply bundled me along when various old uncles looked as though they might protest. I think when I die, I’d like a woman from my family to be there when my body’s about to enter the fire. We spend so much of our lives surrounded by our sex, how is it fair that the last human touch we take with us is exclusively that of men?
9. Travel. I wish I could travel alone to all the places on my bucket list without worrying twice about my physical safety. Not all the self-defense classes and pepper spray in the world can give me the feeling of freedom that I imagine even the puniest of men must carry within himself.
10. Pee. Every woman who’s ever felt the need to relieve herself in a public toilet has wished that she too could pee standing up. No lie.
Sins Against Gender Stereotypes: open to men and women. What does your inner tutu/plaid shirt say?