I was one of the skeptics. Online dating sounded kinda lame to me. It sounded kinda like giving up. After all, I was living in New York, a city teeming with eligible bachelors. In theory. I wasn’t meeting any of them, but I was told they were out there. And I wanted to go on some dates. Grad school was calming down, I’d been single for long enough, and I wanted to check out some of those tiny, funky restaurants in the Village. I didn’t want anything serious. I wanted something to wear cute shoes for. I wanted the opportunity to flirt a little.
“Go online,” my beautiful and much more outgoing best friend said. Keep reading »
I have long suspected that I am bad at being a woman. There are things that other women can do that I am terrible at. There are days that I go out wearing giant boys’ sweatpants, my dad’s old football sweatshirt and a red knit cap. I forget that I’m supposed to try to look nice. There are other days when I try really hard to look nice, and then I see about 50 girls on the subway who all are much better at it. Their outfits are both more original and more trendy. Their lipstick has not ended up on their teeth. They always have a drawer full of makeup somewhere, and they know what each type of makeup thingy does. They have an intimate knowledge of flirty, confident, suggestively withdrawn, adorable, fascinating body language. I am in awe. I wonder how they do it. In my head, I keep a growing list of things that women can do that are a mystery to me, in the hope that one day it will all make sense. One day, I will unlock their secrets. After the jump, some of the things woman do that I just don’t understand. Keep reading »
When I got my period for the first time, my mom wanted to throw a party. She had the whole thing planned. There would be a circle of women — many of them her friends, who would talk about womanhood with me, share their womanly wisdom, and tell rousing tales of menstruation. My mom would present me with a special bracelet, ordered from a catalog of all-natural products, that somehow symbolized my transition from girlhood to womanhood. The red beads were supposed to represent my various life-stages. Or congealed menstrual blood, or something.
“Ohgodpleaseno,” I said, when she told me about her plan. Keep reading »
The other day, I found myself engaging in conversation with a stranger at the grocery store about weight.
“God,” the woman said, pausing near me in the aisle as I considered a package of cookies. “I wish.”
I laughed. “Yeah, I’m trying to decide if it’s worth it.”
“Go for it,” she said, grinning. “You can always hit the gym after.”
She went on her way. I put the cookies back. I thought about it. I picked them up again and put them in my basket. What the hell? I never go to the gym. I’m terrible at treadmills and I’m lazy. Or maybe I’m terrible at treadmills because I’m lazy. It’s a chicken/egg kinda thing. Keep reading »
It’s fun to talk about women who get plastic surgery. They’re kind of sad. A little desperate. They’re trying too hard. They’re spending too much money on what God should have given them. Everyone is keeping track of which movie star recently got her lips puffed up or her boobs plumped or her nose whittled down to practically nothing. I flick through a slideshow of before/after shots of famous women, shaking my head. I think, But she looked fine before!
Sometimes, when my friends make comments about someone who “obviously got some work done,” I nod along automatically.
I often forget that I am one of them. I am one of those women who was insecure enough to let someone cut them open for the sake of beauty. Keep reading »
When I was young, my parents told me I was beautiful and I believed them. I went out into the world feeling confident about my womanly charms and things went smoothly for me. I always managed to find a boy who would tell me I was perfect, even if he did wear suspenders and a really old T-shirt that said “STATISTICS means never having to say you’re certain.” And then I moved to Manhattan when I was 22, and everything changed. Keep reading »
“So, this is awkward,” said the email from my friend, the bride. “But I’ve decided to keep my bridesmaids to just really close friends.”
She had three bridesmaids. I was the third. Apparently, she only had two really close friends, and I was not one of them.
“Wait,” I wrote back. “Why?”
“I don’t really feel like I need to explain myself to you,” she replied.
Oh. Keep reading »
People think that when a woman cuts off her hair, it means something is wrong. “I think she’s going through a rough time,” they whisper. They try to pinpoint the trauma—”it was that boyfriend who broke up with her” or “I think she might have had an eating disorder.” Women are supposed to be attached to their hair, and their hair is supposed to be attached to them. It’s one of the most obvious signs of femininity and if a woman shaves it all off, she either has cancer, is majorly depressed, or is rebelling against society.
My decision to buzz my hair was not for any of those reasons. I am not dying of anything. I’m not that rebellious. And to be honest with you, I am happier right now than I have ever been—I love my work, I love my husband, I love my mom, I love my friends. While the women around me tend to have long, lustrous locks, somehow that just didn’t seem like “me.”
Keep reading »