Tuesday, November 10, 2009

That's What Girls Are Made Of

I was at the Hudson bar, enjoying a drink with my best friend, Maria, when two gentlemen asked to join us. We consented and wound up having the kind of intelligent conversation that is so absent these days. The kind where no topic goes uncovered. The kind that ranges from pop culture to politics to the best Prince song ever written (Let's go crazy! Let's get nuts!). Eventually, per usual between men and women, the topic of relationships came center stage.

There was much discussion on the gender differences and how we love in our own individual ways, but something stuck out. A question that stumped Maria and me. We were volleying words that make men, men. Strong, protector, provider, masculinity. We tossed them with ease, having a clear picture painted. But then someone said, "Well, what makes a woman a woman?" And everyone was silent. Maria said kind. I said caring, sanguine and feminine, but it didn't seem right. It didn't seem to encompass the female make-up. And I was mad that we all agreed most on the words nurturing and giving. Why is it that our characteristics were dependent upon others? Why couldn't we stand alone in our traits as the men had? The truth is, women are taught at a very young age to nurture and care for someone or something outside themselves. How many little girls have you seen toting around doll babies in strollers or playing house and being the mommy. Contrastingly, you see little boys running a muck, doing what they want to do, jumping from stairs and scrapping, wrestling. They're taught early on that to be a man means strength and confidence. That they have the weight of many on their shoulders and must provide and protect. While we're being reared to get a husband and a household full of snotty kids.

A very close friend is going through a major breakup right now. They were together five years and lived together for the last two. It is safe to say that her boyfriend (well, ex) is going through some sort of quarter life crisis. He doesn't know much, but knows that he thinks he needs to be alone. So much for provide and protect. He's yo-yoed her around the last several weeks while he has done what he believes to be best for himself. Problem is that as easy as it is for him to think of himself first, he's just as easy to forget about her feelings altogether. Meanwhile, she's hanging on, reverting backwards, just to make it work-to take care of him and his needs.

It's a shame really. Why do we need to be the nurturers all the time? Why can't we be known as strong and confident? Well, if I really think about what it means to be a woman, and about the women I look up to and hope to be, I realize that maybe the reason its hard to pinpoint what traits create our makeup is because we are all of it. Strong, yet soft. Confident yet yielding. Giving and nurturing with the weight of the world on our shoulders too. I love being a woman. Sugar and spice and everything nice.

That bitch stole my line,

Blackie Collins

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