Ever since I can remember and photos proving from even before I can remember I have been a tomboy (I shunned the color pink and dresses from the age of three). Many girls are tomboys, but the difference between so many and myself is the fact that I didn’t outgrow my tomboy phase. In fact if you looked at my room currently you’d think it belonged to a twelve year old boy. A punching bag, pull up bar, non-descript couch, bed with blue sheets, video game posters, and plastic furniture make not for the room of a 20-something year old girl.
Other examples of my not-girlyness include how I treat people and act. I always hold doors for people, even men. I jump to help others out particularly if there is heavy lifting involved. When I helped my current roommate move out of her old apartment, I carried the heavier boxes out and when she called me a “beast” my chest swelled with pride. I much rather take care of others than be taken care of and my natural tendency towards silence gives me that mysterious quiet thing some males have. When I sit I hate crossing my leg over another preferring to the male resting an ankle of one leg on the thigh of the other. I also generally slouch and take up space when I sit.
I’d much rather be viewed as masculine than feminine, and not because I see femininity as inferior. In fact I am envious of those women who wield their femininity with such grace, skill and expertise. On occasion I have tried to be feminine, but even if I looked the part I never felt it. I always have felt powerless in dresses, which is why I own only two and zero skirts and one pair of feminine flats. I own only about four pairs of shoes: running shoes, dress flats, a set of sandals, and a pair of everyday sneakers.
But all in all as my lovely roommate has pointed out, I dress a lot more feminine than I act. My typical wardrobe is a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, but as I have come to figure out that liking menswear wasn’t a bad thing, I have added more a few more men’s or more accurately boy’s pieces to my plastic set of drawers. This goes along with my getting my hair cut short (not being brave enough to get a super short butch cut I got a short cut in a woman’s style) and buying wife beaters and boxers for the first time. Lucky for me I am friends with a lesbian couple who helped me with my clothing choices.
I love the way I feel in the apparel. When I tried a tie on for the first time I felt powerful and slightly asphyxiated (also a bit clunky, my body type requires a skinnier tie). I’d like to dress more masculine and cut my hair real short, but I admit I’m too scared to do so. As I dress and look now I am perceived as slightly andro, yet still straight. Even though subconsciously they have an inkling. Since I’ve cut my hair men see me as their genderless buddy and the women talk about lesbians and bisexuality a lot more when I’m in their company. Interesting.
When I was in second grade, a friend told me I’d wear a tuxedo to my wedding if I could. For years I denied that, but as I grow the thought becomes more and more appealing.
(This doesn’t stop my relatives from buying me gifts to “help me get back on track”. A Southern Belle Aunt of mine bought me a purse, which I wasn’t excited about until I found twenty bucks inside. When I joined a sorority this same aunt was so ecstatic she sent me a bunch of sorority apparel, even though it wasn’t her sorority. And my mother who didn’t care about my tomboy phase until I didn’t grow out of it in college got me expensive makeup knowing I never use makeup, and I about cried over the uselessness of the gift. Two Christmases later I got a screwdriver from her and was infinitely happier.)
QBP: "It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy." -Lucille Ball
The quite wonderful Rachel Maddow