I have long described myself as missing the “girly” gene.  I mean, I am female, but I’m missing that innate desire to exhibit “girl behavior.”  I still don’t understand the draw of it.  I don’t understand the desire for behaviors that other women seem to be born with.  It’s like those posters at the mall that look like a bunch of squiggly lines and if you stare at it long enough, a picture will pop out at you.  But there’s always that one guy who stands there saying, “I just don’t see it!”  I’m that guy.  I’ll see women doing things that they feel compelled to do and it never would have occurred to me to exhibit that behavior.

When I was a child, I didn’t want to play with dolls.  I understood that I was a girl and I was supposed to want to play with dolls, but I couldn’t figure out why.  Dolls didn’t DO anything.  Other little girls carried dolls around with them, but it just seemed like arm clutter.

I remember once asking my mother how to swaddle a doll.  She very sweetly and slowly relished the opportunity to impart her motherly knowledge (which is natural for her).  I think I disappointed her, though, when I replicated in super speed, handed her my swaddled doll, and ran off to play with my blocks and matchbox cars (neither of which I believe are masculine toys, by the way).

My family compares my teenage years with my sister’s (my sister also has the innate girl gene) when they say, “We told Alison, ‘Go wash off some of that make up!  We are not going into church with you looking like that!’ But we told Courtney, ‘Young lady, you had better go put on some make up!  You look awful!  We are not going to church with you looking like that!”  I must also point out that my sister’s teenage years were in the mid 80s with all its neon glory and mine were in the 90s during the grunge era.

My husband’s aunt always has a clean house and ample seasonal trinkets.  I am baffled how she can do that and everything looks clean and cohesive, but if I attempt the same thing, my house looks cluttered.

My friends have the girly gene too.  My friend, Lauren, has been trying to dress me and give me hair instruction for years.  My family truly appreciates her efforts.  I still need lessons.

My friend, Hannah, is the perfect hostess.  Hannah reminds me of a “Cathy” tv special (at 2:45 - but without the judgement) I saw when I was a kid.   Cathy’s mother comes over to see her, grabs a plate out of the fridge that holds only three peas, waves her hands wildly, and reveals a beautifully dressed turkey.  That’s Hannah.  I see her moving, but I have no idea how she makes things materialize.  I can identify that everything she touches turns to gold and I can usually follow her logic, but sometimes she says things that baffle me.  For example, she said, “I’m really into white pumpkins this fall.”  I understand that one can change preferences over time.  I understand that one can have different preferences seasonally.  What I don’t understand is the implication that she will like something this fall and know that she will like something totally different next fall.  I’ve seen her wave her hands wildly in front of my sad centerpieces and wall décor and the end result looks so much better with the same set of materials.  How?  Okay.  Thanks.   Do it again.

Though I get “girl cred” for a lot my behaviors, none of them are really motivated by my inner girl.

For example, I crocheted a hat (with a big ol’ flower) while I was talking to students yesterday.  Crocheting is regarded as a motherly skill.  Really, it’s just fidgeting and patterns.  I like fidgeting.  I like patterns.  Crocheting is a way to keep my hands busy (instead of taking the students’ pencils and doing their homework for them) and to keep me patient.  I’m not really crafty.  

I prefer skirts.  This doesn’t stem from any femininity, but from the conundrum of why men choose to wear pants all the time.  Truly, a full, long skirt is a tent of freedom.  Men have NO IDEA what they’re missing.  Togas and kilts.  I’m just sayin’.

I birth at home instead of going to the hospital.  Two reasons.  1) Hospitals are for sick people.  Having a baby doesn’t make me ill.  So, I don’t need to go to the place for sick people where it’s more likely that I’ll end up being sliced and diced.  It’s just not logical.  2)  Why would I want to PACK a bag and GO somewhere?  I’m already having a baby.  Isn’t that enough doing?  Can’t you come to me?  Healthy birth – there’s no place like home.  I also exclusively breastfeed.  It’s the healthiest thing I can give my human infant.  But there’s a better reason.  IT’S FREE.  Yes, I know that it’s bad that I rank the reasons in that order, but I do.  For these two things, I’ve been called “Granola Mama” and “Earth Mama” at work.  Nope.  It just seemed to be the reasonable things to do.

Furthermore, I love my children, but I’m not partial to every child.  Moms (assuming that I possessed the every-child-is-wonderful-I-just-love-being-around-children-so-much gene) have asked me, “Don’t you want to hold the baby?”  Nah.  I’ll hold the baby so that the mother can go do something, but I don’t understand holding someone’s baby for the sake of holding a baby.  If there are enough people around who truly want to hold the baby for fun and this gives the mom a break, I’m not vying for my chance to hold somebody else’s kid.  I don’t get it.

I wear lipstick to work.  If I don’t, I hear my mother in my head telling me that it’s unprofessional not to.  Frankly, I don’t keep open containers of makeup in the house.  There’s only makeup in the car.  If makeup takes more than 3 stop lights, it’s taking too much time.  Efficiency is a preferable professional skill.

I bake, but that’s because I can bake cheaper and better than store-bought.  I’ve also learned to compensate for my poor hostess skills (dinner is ALWAYS late) by setting out a tray of veggies/fruit or a crock pot of soup.  I’ve been credited for serving multi course meals, but I’m just too unorganized to get dinner done on time.  My dad said of my food, “Haven’t you ever heard of cornbread and collards?  I’ll probably like your food, but I can’t ever pronounce it.”  So, I cook, but that’s not the same as being a good hostess.  It helps to mask the insufficiencies though!

Sometimes I do girly things, but I have concluded that I am really just a poser.  I’m okay with that.