Editor's note: The author of this week's “Sordid Tales” column is Larisa Rose, the winner of our contest to write Edwin Decker's column while he's galavanting in Europe. Her first column was published on April 27. Decker will return on May 25.
For the record, I am all woman.
What I mean is that I'm not harboring any dangling genitalia in my jeans or any dangling chromosomes in my genes.
Along the spectrum of femininity, from girly-girl to butch, I fall just on the dainty side of tomboy. I guess you could call me a low-maintenance type of woman. I enjoy being a girl. A new bottle of nail polish can make my day. I can't walk past a display of shoes or jewelry without taking an extra moment to let my eyes linger, visually groping every shiny bauble or spiky heel. But the odds are three-to-one that when I do walk past that window, I'll be wearing comfortable sneakers and won't be wearing so much as a MedicAlert bracelet.
I have short hair, because I think life is too short to spend 45 minutes a day shooting hot air at my head in a quest for voluptuous volume. I also like wearing dresses because it spares me the anxiety of playing a sartorial match game in my closet every morning. Neither choice proves I'm more or less of a woman; it just proves I'm lazy.
There were some social conservatives who tried recently to make a big fuss over a little boy's toenails being painted pink by his mother in a J. Crew ad, claiming it was some sort of attack on gender identity. Does a 5-year-old even have a gender identity? Is there any more arbitrary and artificial social construct than girl colors and boy colors? Anyway, lady parts are pink. Doesn't it make sense that a heterosexual male would be drawn to the color?
Because I lack some of the finer feminine sensibilities, I think I've subconsciously sought out men who can pick up the slack. I've dated a shopper, who possessed that special gene that makes a person believe that thumbing through every rack in every store at the mall is a fun way to spend an afternoon. I've dated a primper, who spent more time and effort putting together an ensemble and arranging his hair than I did. There was a guy who was so in touch with his feminine side that he loved chick flicks. It didn't work out. The problem wasn't that he was sensitive or emotional; it was that he had terrible taste in movies.If I tried to have a relationship with a man who mirrored by masculine traits, we'd probably have a lot of fun building furniture, watching cartoons on Adult Swim and going to metal concerts. This macho man and I would probably also get gout from living on take-out since neither of us likes to cook, and we'd never sleep past 6 a.m. because nobody thought to buy curtains. After we broke up, I would wonder how long the relationship actually lasted, because neither of us would be able remember our anniversary.
I think the two-party system works much better in relationships than it does in politics. Opposites attract for a reason, and sharing a bedroom, bills and chores can make life much easier. You'd think that polygamy, then, would multiply the benefits. But have you seen Sister Wives? The benefits of group love definitely seem to be outweighed by jealousy. It gives me the heebie-jeebies to share a toilet with multiple people— sharing a penis is out of the question.
Naturally, a division of roles emerged over the millennia, establishing standard his and hers to-do lists. Men are generally bigger, stronger and faster than women, so it made sense for them to be the providers when providing involved chasing down a buffalo with a sharp stick. The number of women receiving undergraduate degrees has been outpacing men for several years, so it stands to reason that women's incomes will begin to outpace men's soon. If a woman earns more money, that would make her a better provider and open the door for the man to take on the domestic duties.
If only this modern approach to the division of labor could extend to childbirth. I'm not sure I ever want to be a parent, but I can tell you for damn sure that I don't want to deliver a baby. I know many women consider the ability to bear children a privilege, or even a miracle, but that's one job I Do. Not. Want. First of all, it sounds painful and exhausting. Secondly, now that we're modern Women Who Can Have It All, we're expected to bounce back, rebuild our bangin' bods and become MILFs after giving birth.
Most women spend their entire postpubescent lives waging a battle of bulges, cutting calories, hitting the gym and squeezing into Spanx in an effort to control their dangerous curves. Pregnancy requires that a woman surrender her waistline to her growing child's need for elbow room. It's a perfectly reasonable sacrifice to give up your bikini belly for a new life, but I'd feel like I had to Zumba out of the delivery room for fear of not earning my yummy-mummy badge.
I'm happy to live in a time and place where I can pick and choose what is defined as woman's work. I will happily mow the lawn, if my man will do the laundry.
Yes, as a woman I am perfectly capable of disposing of the dead mouse my dogs are gnawing on, but I can't do it without shrieking like a coked-up dolphin, so I'll let my boyfriend be a manly man and take it out to the trash for me.
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