The Difference Between Men and Women

Actually, to be more politically correct, this post is about a difference I’ve discovered in the masculine vs. the feminine ways of viewing appearances. It all started two nights ago, when I was talking to my good buddy Alex about my gender identity. You see, I’m very much a girl, but my personality and some of my interests tend to be more masculine. Disclaimer: this has nothing to do with my sexuality and everything to do about my frame of mind and how I view the world.
I was raised in a family full of girls, so we really didn’t exposed to as much gender stereotyping as some families with mixed gender children are. We were girls — so what? We played with Barbies and trains, we wore jeans and skirts, we hauled wood and folded laundry. My dad also got us into Star Wars and action movies, and then when I started driving he taught me a bit about how stuff works under the hood.
I also generally prefer to hang out with guys because it seems to me to be so much easier to fit in. When I’m hanging out with “super girly” girls, I have to work to pull out my “super girly” side because, although it is there, it rarely sees the light of day. Don’t get me wrong, I have some girlfriends who think like me, and they’re excellent company and generally my closest confidants, but as a rule, I dislike groups of shallow girls.
Which brings me to the story. On a whim last night I got my nose pierced. I’d been thinking about it for a long, long time, and I had actually made plans earlier that day to go with some of my girlfriends in early May, but it seems I’m so much more prone to do things like this on a whim. It’s just so exhilarating. The girlfriend I had with me is one of my laid-back girlfriends, but even she was super excited that I got my piercing. She kept saying things like, “I can’t believe you did it!” and, “I’m so jealous, now I want one!”
Later that night I went to hang out with the guy I’m currently seeing. He met me at the door, kissed me, and then started asking about my day as we walked upstairs. I was shocked he didn’t say anything and wanted to see if he’d notice (that’s my girl side).  I didn’t say anything for a good two minutes (it was hard).
Finally, I stopped and said, “Really? You didn’t notice?” and he said, “Notice what?” and I just looked at him. After a few seconds he goes, “Oh, are you talking about your nose?”
“Um, yes, I was talking about my nose!”
He shrugged. “You told me you were going to get it. It looks cute.”
“So you like it?”
“Yeah, I do.” He smiled, kissed me and kept walking.
It’s such a classic exchange. “Aren’t you going to say something about my hair?” “Don’t you like my new dress?” It didn’t matter to him because I said I was going to do it and he said he’d approve. He didn’t see why he had to make a big deal out of it. My girl friends have ALL made a big deal out of it. Why? Because girls put so much emphasis on appearances.
I am positively sick of blow drying and straightening my hair every morning so it will look just right, but I keep doing it because if I don’t I’ll feel weird all day. If I put on the wrong shoes and walk out the door my day is ruined. If a shirt doesn’t fit just right or my pants give me a bit of a muffin top I won’t be able to focus in class. I finally understand why those middle-age mom magazines are obsessed with beauty shortcuts. Even if I’m just going to the gym, I have to look good. How shallow is that? It’s just the way a feminine mind works.
OK, so my discovery is not revolutionary, but it has changed the way I look at myself and the way I judge others. Yes, appearances are important. Girls know looks make the first impression and looks change how people act towards you, but the problem with the way we collectively judge appearance is that so often it is the only factor in determining how to treat a person. The issue here is that for some girls, appearance has become the goal rather than a means to obtain a goal.
And sure, there are masculine-minded guys who like to look good, but they don’t require it of themselves every damn day. It’s a front, really, a façade girls put on when they go for mani/pedis or for “girls’ night out”s. I enjoy those activities, but they’re so trying. Example: what do girls talk about when they go get manicures? Guy troubles. Work troubles. School troubles. Girl drama troubles. Who wants to talk about troubles all the time? Just like a perfectly made-up face, these cliché girl-time worries are part of a façade.
Give me a beer and good, meaningful conversation and I’ll have myself a grand time. Give me a tried-but-true sweatshirt and my snug-but-comfortable jeans and I’ll enjoy myself that much more. It’s almost as if “girly” girls can’t be comfortable in their own skin. There’s always some worry. It’s not that I don’t like looking nice, or that I want to be a guy, I just don’t want to keep living my life behind that made-up mask of girl problems.
So, my “gender struggle” continues. I stress about my looks but simultaneously know it doesn’t  matter. It doesn’t make sense, really, but I’ll keep doing it, and just have remember to look beyond others’ appearances so I can find what’s really underneath.

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