Anyway, conversation turned to women welding (as it does). Said guy thinks women doing this kind of work is hot (remember Flashdance?). He said shiny skin from sweating is hot and well developed bodies from working is hot. And something about softness next to hardness. Hmm.
My ex used to tell me I wasn't feminine enough. It was weird. He liked watching me shear sheep, which ties in with the 'women doing hard work is hot' theory (of course, what most of these fantasies don't contain is the red sweaty face and the fact that it's usually a) noisy and b) smelly, but anyway). But when he wanted to hurt me, he'd say "You're like a man" and "I wish you weren't so hard" and "Why don't you wear makeup more often?" and "It'd be nice if you were into cooking." Then, after a while, he dumped me for a soft, curvaceous, cookie-baking single mum who wears makeup and has clothes shopping as a vocation. I loved him. It hurt. Lots.
Anyway, my reality has always been that although guys like to fantasise about the mask lifting and it being a beautiful, well-toned woman (complete with immaculate makeup and long tresses for the sexy shaking thereof) underneath, this kind of thing is best kept in fantasy for most people. Like many fantasies, you can conveniently erase the not-so-hot bits.
As a result of this not-so-gentle ribbing and wearing the consequences of 'not being feminine enough' I am oversensitive about it. Any implication of being even slightly mannish and it's floods of tears and much retiring to my happy place and eating chocolate (yes, the irony of this is not lost on me - who said it was a rational thing?) while staring at myself in the mirror and wishing my chin was smaller and my eyes were bigger etc etc you know the drill.
The other thing that sparks off my insecurity is girly-girls. The ones with small chins and big eyes and skinny arms, that wear makeup daily and smell like flowers all the time and can wear floaty clothes without feeling silly and have nice nails and know different fashion labels. The ones that understand about shoes. The ones that know how to flirt. The ones that guys flirt -with-. Small girls. (yes yes I know, but slim does not equal small. I have shoulders like a quarterback). When one of these girls comes along, I feel like a big lumbering rhinoceros and fully expect to see myself sprouting facial hair when I look in the mirror. And if I'm not much cop at flirting generally, with one of these women around, the only thing that I can successfully do is go into 'one-of-the-boys' mode, because that's my comfort zone and the thing I've had the most practice at. This, of course, makes me feel even less feminine, and I watch these other girls getting the kind of attention I'd like and it's all just not very nice. I'm not a big fan of girly girls for this reason. Not because there's anything wrong with them per se, but because of how I feel when I compare myself to them.
"But that's stupid Tats!" I hear you say. yup, it is. Talking with this guy yesterday was good in that respect. I realised something. Why the hell should I try to be like someone I'm not? So what if that person gets all the flirty attention? At least I know that if someone is paying attention to me, it's because of me, right? And the conclusion I came to is this:
I don't need to be like those women. They have traits that I would like to have, sure. But resenting them because I'm not like them is not the right approach. People like me too, for different reasons. I could list them, but I know what they are and that's good enough for me. And the people who care about me obviously appreciate those things too. Also, you can guarantee that many of the things people like about me are things that those girly girls a) don't have and b) probably wish they did have. I'm pretty happy with the way I look in a skirt, although I don't wear them often because I'm still not sure of shoes. I'm learning about clothes, slowly.
And if a man finds those other kinds of girls more attractive than me, then he's probably not a guy I'd want to hang out with for long anyway. I don't fit in most people's little boxes so anyone who thinks I'm special in that way must be someone pretty rare and special too. You know?
So, I am dealing with this insecurity. I can be mature about it. I also spend time blubbing in front of the mirror and acting childishly. This week has been a blub/childish week. Girly-girls everywhere, and me with a haircut that is shorter than usual and I'm not sure of it yet, and the shearing thing, and having reason to feel less attractive than usual.
Thank you, Sophie, for the reality check about comparisons with other people. You are Wise without even trying.
And, I'm not looking for people to tell me how wonderful I am here, k? This is about explaining stuff to myself and trying to work out what's what (ie dig myself out of the 'I'm so ugly and unfeminine and nobody will ever love me' hole). I think I'm getting there.
All that having been said, today I'm wearing makeup (Tats version which means a bit of eyeliner) because I want to feel pretty.
So anyway - women working hard - hot or not?
And, I played DDR with above-mentioned guy. It was fun if somewhat, er, interesting (the interesting was provided by the small crowd of teens who gathered to make fun of the 'oldies' on their machine). I wouldn't mind having one in my house. We cracked the beginner level. The next level was all about the arrows and requiring an extra leg. Reminder to self: Have a go at Dance Dance Immolation at Burning Man this year. Mmm.. immolation.
It's a shame he lives in another country really.