Rechecking my gender
What does it mean to be a woman in America?
I’m still attempting to discover that and am troubled by how much I cannot relate to a lot of American women. I’m not sure if it’s simply personality differences or that I’m a weirdo. (I single out American women because it’s the culture I have the most constant contact with.)
As I age, I find that my interests are not static. At one point in my life, I was obsessed with fashion (despite the fact that I really had no use for it since I wore uniform five out of seven days a week). Now that I am able to wear whatever I want, I have decided that keeping up with daily changing fads are expensive, difficult, and simply not worth the effort. Two years ago, an adorable baby was something cute but not for me. Now, I spend a whole day crying each month simply because I am not a mother.
I post on an online forum and am always dismayed by how different I am from the women there. I attend a church and am frustrated by the lack of similar interests we share apart from the given (belief in God and Jesus Christ). I force myself to develop an interest in the interests of other women I know of but I’m not sure many of them would reciprocate the same for me.
For me, it is always easier to define myself by what I am not and what I do not like. I will try to limit my list to female generalities:
- I do not like chocolate. I grew up allergic to it and dislike the taste of 98% of chocolate. I am likely to avoid it altogether.)
- I do not like flowers. I have never understood the romance behind plucking a living plant and hand it off to someone so it can now die. I also have no use for them. I do not like plants and do not have any in my home. I am also somewhat superstitious about flowers from a romantic standpoint. I have a theory that once the flowers wither, so does my romantic love for the person that gave it to me. (Each romance shortly died after I received flowers.) My husband (smartly) has never given me flowers and I would think it an extremely poor use of funds for him to try and surprise me with them in the future.
- I do not like teddy bears. They were nice when I was a child but now I have no use for them. A few years ago I acquired a stuffed dog, which I named Pray, and while he cuddled with me at night for a few weeks, I haven’t seen (or cared about) him since. Teddy bears, at my age, only add to junk and clutter.
By the way, I just quashed the typical Valentine’s gifts right there.
- I have no need for any more jewelry. While I troubled my husband for the longest time because I had diamond envy (women always seemed to have bigger rocks on their fingers than I did), I’ve decided that I have no need for a new ring because I barely wear the one I currently have anyway (it’s too small now and I have eczema on my ring finger). Due to my eczema, I am limited in how often I can wear jewelry. And I am often much too lazy to put anything more than a watch and bracelet on. I am quite content with what I have now (except I should get my band resized a bit bigger).
- I don’t like makeup. I don’t primp and preen like other women and find it a waste of my time. I’ve been criticized by many other women for not “taking care of my appearance” like I should (eg, keeping up on my eyebrows, shaving that light mustache of mine [yes, I have one! ew!], wearing mascara or lipstick). I am thankful I didn’t need any of that to snag an awesome husband.
- I am not “crafty.” I don’t like crafts. In fact, I hate them. I always have, even in school. I am not your typical craftswoman who likes working with her hands. (Ignore dirty joke here.) I always fear that my lack of craftiness will make me a poor mother. Or perhaps I’ll be forced to be crafty and enjoy it (keeping in mind my interests are not static). Which brings me to…
- I don’t enjoy scrapbooking. It’s a lot of work. I don’t find scrapbooking relaxing but only took it up as a way to make friends with other Christian females. I’ve discovered that scrapbooking is a huge interest among Christian women and since I’m a Christian woman, I should like scrapbooking too, right? I’ll tolerate social scrapbooking but I won’t pursue it as an interest on my own.
- I don’t like baking. Some women have made baking an art in my church, I have no patience or interest in putting in effort into making myself fatter.
- I don’t like romantic comedies. I’m sure I could enjoy them if I tried but you won’t see me begging to watch the next Julia Roberts, Sarah Jessica Parker, or Jennifer Aniston movie. Romantic comedies tend to border on awful, are often predictable, and are eye-roll-inducing. I also tend to avoid women’s movie nights at church that involve anything super girly. Yes, I will happily pass up social interaction to avoid girly movies. (Although I do want to see Julie & Julia.)
- I am not into homeschooling. Yet. Should I end up with a growing child, I have a funny feeling I’ll develop a budding interest in this area. But I wasn’t exactly gifted with teaching so I’m a little nervous.
- I don’t like throwing parties/entertaining. It’s simply another source of stress for me and I don’t enjoy it. I’ll be forced to do it out of love for my kids but I’ll likely avoid it when I can. I host Saturday Bible studies at my home every now and then but always dread it.
- I am not interested in discussing celebrity/reality TV gossip. I don’t keep up with the Kardashians, am frustrated by Jennifer Aniston still being linked to Brad Pitt five years after their divorce (cover of this week’s People magazine), and roll my eyes upon any mention of Snooki from the Jersey Shore (thanks to the Craig Ferguson show). If you want to tell me about what some real housewife of some big city in America did, go ahead. Just don’t expect me to know anything beyond the fact that “The Situation” is a guy with a really bad spray tan. (No lie.) I know these things exist by proxy (which is more than some people) but don’t expect me to torture myself by watching it or discussing it.
Things I enjoy that your typical American female doesn’t really enjoy or care for:
- Sports. I’m not completely clueless about football or baseball (but I don’t know all the ins and outs either). I can honestly enjoy a good sports event (especially hockey when a fight breaks out) and wouldn’t mind an outing that involves watching an Eagles, Yankees, or Phillies game.
- Action/adventure movies. I’m not a huge movie fan but if I must watch a movie, keep the action going please. Feel free to throw in a kiss and romantic plot here and there and I’ll tolerate it if there’s a car chase, destruction, mayhem, and stuff blowing up. When I expressed excitement about the new A-Team movie to my hairdresser, she gave me a loud groan.
- Video games. I play backseat gamer because I’m too afraid to fail. (You don’t know how scared I was picking up an Xbox controller to play Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.) But I love watching my husband play any of the Call of Duty multiplayer games, Assassins Creed (1 and 2), and any other game he wishes to pick up. (Except Bioshock was creepy.) It works out well because he doesn’t mind my backseat gaming and I love to assist him. But I enjoy playing Rock Band immensely, especially… The Beatles Rock Band. 🙂
- Discussing/learning about theology. I am always up for discussing theology in an effort to gain more knowledge on the subject. And I am always dismayed to discover that my conversations are usually with my husband’s Christian friends rather than with my own.
- Discussing politics/current events. I have tried to avoid this lately because politics is simply too depressing for me to dwell on but again, I find my most willing participants of political discussion are… men.
- Social media/technology. I find social media and new technology to be fascinating. I’m not quite sure why, but I keep up with social media news sites like mashable, engadget, lifehacker, and techcrunch. I follow news about Twitter third-party applications like TweetDeck, eat up news about Apple’s latest product, still hate the fact that Apple keeps rejecting Flash on the iPhone, and love to fiddle with the latest Google tool (Wave!). I won’t play Farmville on Facebook but I’ll know it exists and that it’s a popular game. I’m not so techie that I know how to develop an API but I understand the basic function of it. Most women couldn’t be bothered with this nonsense. They actually have kids and lives or something.
For some reason, the circle of friends I have don’t seem to particularly care much for going to concerts. I love music with a passion and haven’t really found anybody who is as up for almost anything as I am. Most of my friends back in New York were concertgoers like me so not to have that in Pennsylvania has been very frustrating. (Considering I lack money for it right now anyway, I suppose I shouldn’t be too disappointed.)
To sum up, I would rather watch Last Action Hero before Maid in Manhattan, would rather watch sports or wrestling over Martha Stewart or reality TV, and would attempt to play Assassins Creed II on my own before finding researching the latest fashion trends. How I have any female friends is beyond me.
Perhaps I need to recheck my gender.