Three Ways I Choose Not to Be a Lady


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Most straight women do certain things to show the world that they are, well, straight women. Here are three of those things that I choose not to do:

1. I don’t wear makeup. I used to as a teen, probably without much skill. Over the last decade, I’ve experimented with mineral makeup, but it makes my face itch. And honestly, if anyone’s important to me, they’d better like my skin the way it is.

2. I keep my hair short. Again, since high school. I have a nice neck and shoulders and like to show them off. Anyway, long hair is a pain. And clogs the drain.

3. I don’t have pierced ears. It’s a tradition in my family–my mom and her mom never pierced theirs. Also, now that I’m almost 40, it’s fallen into the category of “probably not gonna do that unless on a dare.”

It’s not that I scorn these behaviors, or think I’m superior to women who do them. If having long hair and wearing lipstick makes another woman feel more confident and attractive and professional, that’s awesome and she should go for it.

It’s more that I have a finite amount of energy and attention (not to mention money), and I’d like to spend it elsewhere.

Is all this confusing to the guys I meet? So far, no one seems to be unduly horrified by my lack of feminine signifiers. I do wear skirts and clothes that show my physique, so probably even the most clueless gentlemen tumble to the fact that I’m a girl.

I have moments of fear, though. What if the masculine objectifying gaze of some hot prospect passes right over me, because, no mascara? Some guys on Match specifically say they’re looking for long-haired women. Oh well, I can pass them on to my girlfriends.

Weird to be still thinking about these matters, at the magical age of 39. I guess I could always do the chick version of a midlife crisis: get multiple piercings, raid the makeup counter, and get extensions. But who has the time or the cash?

The man of my dreams will see the real me beneath the–well, I guess he won’t have to look beneath anything to see the real me. I guess that’s the point.

Thank goodness I don’t work in a Devil Wears Prada type of environment, where I’d have to adorn and polish myself more aggressively.

What about you, readers? What do you do–or not do–to show the world what flavor of human you are?

9 thoughts on “Three Ways I Choose Not to Be a Lady

  1. I like wearing my hair anywhere from buzzed off to long. That’s funny that you said you don’t want to spend the money, because that’s one of the reasons I don’t keep on top of keeping my hair short, because it cost money to have it short! Unless you can cut it yourself or have a friend who can cut it for you. Long hair is free and can be trimmed easier. It is a pain to deal with it timewise. 😉

    Maybe it’s different down in Boston, but here in Maine and in Vermont, most of the women I know don’t wear makeup. A couple of friends wear mascara. I don’t wear makeup either. Time and money saved! Probably saves my skin too. I still get compliments on my skin at 39.

    I got my ears pierced when I was 10 and do enjoy earrings although I forget to wear them. I forget to wear jewelry in general, but like it when I remember.

    I do shave my armpits and legs, although I can be lazy about the legs in the winter. The smooth legs make me feel womanly. My personal philosophy on the pits though is if everyone (men and women) shaved their pits and it would be a less stinky world. 😉

    I don’t wear heels. Well, very rarely I’ll wear the one pair of very short ones I have to a wedding. I can’t walk in anything taller than those. I do like my boots with a chunky heel though and how they make me taller.

    • PS It’s true that some guys prefer long hair and freak out when their ladies trim it, even to chin length. Luckily my husband doesn’t care. He wanted me to buzz it off this summer, although I didn’t cut it quite that short. If they do care, tough shit! I like cutting my hair off in the summer!

  2. Interesting topic! I love lipstick, and since I buy it in the grocery store it doesn’t cost much at all. My mother wore it, but her generation wore quite different shades; my grandmothers didn’t. I think lipstick began being worn by suffragettes, as a sign of independence for women, a sign they were not just homebodies. Before then, only showgirls wore it, and they had a reputation . . . .
    Your hair is great, and all lengths of hair are fine, really. Spiky short hair sends a message, but it is hard to say quite what it is . . .
    As for pierced ears, my mother always sniffed at them as low-class, but I have loved them, and didn’t get my ears pierced till I was 35 – a good story I will tell you sometime. It’s a lot of fun to shop for earrings and they are much less expensive than necklaces. It’s been my step away on my own, to have pierced ears and enjoy earrings, and to push the edges on what’s a professional look, especially in my profession!

  3. Some days I think I’ll wear make-up and heels when men do. Some other days I feel like I should make the effort and put on heels and make up when I go to some special event. I spend most of those other days swearing about how men don’t have to do shit like that.

    • Yeah, I know. I guess most guys do have to shave every day. Other than that, though, I can’t think of any equivalent actions that say, “Look world, I am a manly man.” Maybe their decisions about how much to work out fill that function for them?

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