Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sometimes being "one of the guys" is terrible.

I admit it.

I was one of "those" women. The type who always has a bunch of male friends and doesn't see anything wrong with that. The type who says that she has problems "getting along with" or understanding other women. Let me tell you something about women like me.

It's not you. It's us.

Sorry, sisters who hang out with the guys and always say it's because there is no drama. I'm blowing up your spot.

The reality is, (at least for me) the harsh terrain of high school social hierarchy left a really foul taste in my mouth and I never wanted to deal with it again.

Little did I realize that I dug my own hole for the longest time. That "I don't give a fuck" image that I was presenting to the world was a problem. It made me standoffish. (Ever heard that line: "when I first met you I thought you were a huge bitch". Yeah. Can't always blame it on the RBF.)

People thought I was a bitch because I WAS one. Or I didn't bother correcting them at all.

I had friends. Sure they were dudes and would never really get what being a girl/woman was all about, but hey, I had friends.

What I didn't understand then, that I truly understand now, is that I was at fault for perpetuating stereotypes against my own sex. "Bitches be crazy" or some nonsense that guys would say, I would agree with, because I thought I was just being one of the guys.

News flash younger me: you aren't one of the guys, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Sure. I have trained in Muay Thai for the last 8 years or so (off and on). I like video games. I like cars. I like a lot of "guy" things. I'm not really into makeup. I shop when I need stuff, not for fun. I paint my nails occasionally but it's not that big of a deal. I'm not huge into stereotypical "girl" things.

That isn't a valid excuse to say that I can't relate to other women. It's a cop out. It's laziness.

I used to make the same excuse. I didn't value my fellow women for who they were. I reduced them to their femininity. I turned them into flat characters instead of the brilliant, strong, multifaceted, complex human beings that they are. I was not a voice for women, or men who fall outside the typical male stereotype. I was a straight up asshole.

I'm not saying that you can't have guy friends. I still have many of the same guy friends that I had back then. We hang out. We also talk about their relationships, their careers, and their lives.

For a long time, I was giving my male friends better treatment than those women who I could have been friends with. I was treating my male friends like complex human beings, but was not extending that same courtesy to the women around me.

That's not okay.

I'm 26 now. I've learned much and have much to learn. I have female friends. I ask them about their lives, their jobs, their boyfriends/husbands/girlfriends/wives, their living situations, their troubles. The women around me have morphed from flat, 2-D characters, to complex emotional and wonderful human beings.

I'm sure that in my young and stupid days, I ruined some good chances of having a few good female friends. (All the regrets.)

But I think that without that time, and without the learning curve, I wouldn't appreciate my female friends like I do now.

Being one of the guys doesn't mean that you can't have female friends. It also doesn't mean that you can't be feminine.

Being a woman doesn't mean that you can't be tough. It doesn't mean that you can't be strong. It doesn't mean that you can't do the "manly" things, like drink beer and watch football.

Being a human means liking what you like, doing what you do, and finding people along the way that appreciate you for who you are.


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