Thursday, March 1, 2012

Girly Deficient

Growing up, my main male influences were my dad, who taught me to shoot targets and change tires, my grandfather, who taught me that girls could and should be smart and my two boy cousins, who gave me an appreciation for Star Wars and the beauty of playing hide and seek in crawl spaces.

But, aside from these four dudes, mine was a girly world.  At home, I had a sister and a girly mom.  I had two aunts and a grandmother I saw frequently.  From the get go, I was in Girl Scouts and dance classes.  I sat with girls at lunch and talked about Madonna.  I cringed when a boy tagged me at recess.  I lined up pastel colored My Little Ponies and combed their tales with jeweled plastic combs during music class.

By Junior High, I had three bestie girlfriends and we formed our little new wave anti-cheerleader clique.  We had slumber parties, talked about boys and tried wine coolers for the first time.  We danced around to Depeche Mode and shared make-up tips.  (Lots of eyeliner and dark lipstick.) We spritzed ourselves with Exclamation! perfume before sneaking out of the house to walk around the neighborhood and kick rocks.

We got older.  We got cars and boyfriends and ten-eyelet Doc Martens.  We snuck out to go to parties and local clubs where we'd stand outside, smoking clove cigarettes, trying to look cool.  We were each other's world in the unhealthy codependent way of teenage girls.  No decision was made without consulting the others.  We wrote notes about everything.  We cried on the phone.  We fought over who Robert Smith would fall in love with when he inevitably started hanging with us.

Then, they all left me.

Midland was an oil town so people were constantly moving.  First Jill moved away.  Then, after Sophomore year, both Shay's and Jennifer's parents were transferred.  I panicked.  I was already an outsider.  A theatre freak in combat boots in a school full of pep-rally loving kids in polos.  Our circle of friends had widened to include a lot of guys but my core girlfriends were gone. I felt very young and very alone.  I felt abandoned.   I mean, the guys were awesome but, they were GUYS.  I didn't know how to hang with a male unless I was dating him. (And by dating, I mean lots of long letters, mix tapes and over-the-clothes make-out sessions at the movies.)

I was so wrong.  My last two years of high school I spent with my guy friends from high school and my guy friends from the theatre.  We listened to music and hung out in parks.  We watched Monty Python movies and meteor showers.  I played groupie during band practice.  They came to watch me do Shakespeare or cheesy musicals.  I rode to school with my pal Max in a huge station wagon and we'd talk about bullshit.  There wasn't any drama.  Just music and movies and beer.  Although I missed my girl pals, I found it to be way less stressful to be one of the dudes.  I always knew where I stood.  I became comfortable around guys in a way I never was with girls.

Maybe your teenage years are your most formative?  I don't know.  I only know I'm way more relaxed and myself seeing a concert or talking about bullshit over nachos than I am crying with a girlfriend over chocolate.  I get uncomfortable talking about my feelings.  I get all twitchy talking about friendship.  I am girly deficient.

To this day I have a handful of women friends who are amazing.  I'm lucky they put up with me.  But, it takes me years and years to feel comfortable around other girls.  I'm awkward and weird.  I think they all hate me.  I find it way easier to be myself when dealing with men.  Which, I know is strange and not at all the way to endear myself to other women.  But, the ones who are worth it have stuck around.  They're patient with me.  I think I'm really really lucky to have fantastic friends of both sexes who don't care about my crazy little issues or even know about them.  Unless they read it in my blog.

I'm lucky to have friends who read my blog.

*photo by one of those cool dudes, Midland, sometime in the 90s, during a meteor shower.