Coming to terms with being a terrible girl
I never mastered the art of block letters. In middle school, all life was seen through the prism of block letters, our triumphs and troubles were all the same: to be expressed in bulbous, weighty characters impractical for college-rule paper. It was this failure that cemented what I had previously only suspected — I lacked a woman’s touch. I was and am gender deficient.
This lesson has been reiterated thousandfold. When I see things like this list of “10 books every girl should read in her ’20s,” for example. I should have known it would be a terrible list post, but I fit all the categories: age, ladyparts and literacy, so I clicked.
And thank God, I did. Because I’m clearly not doing it right. One moment, let me put down my alt-history account of Dracula and Queen Victoria. Now, I’m ready to dive in to the list, which includes the standard Austen fare; something called The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing, two activities I had no idea required separate gender-specific training; and finally, what I can only assume is going to be a real winner — Girls in White Dresses. Luckily, the Amazon reviews told me all I needed to know.
Apparently, the plot of Not The Worst Book Ever Written follows the standard set forth by Britney Spears in Crossroads. (yourememberitdonteven) A summation from the article imploring me to read it:
We watch them through the big-girl realizations we all must make as we enter adulthood — that BFF friendships are not always forever, fairytale romances are few and far-between, and you may not get that dream job you always wanted — all in their twenties. It’s a novel that captures every detail of life in a girl’s twenties and teaches you that you can get through anything with the right amount of heart and sarcasm.
Now, color me stupid, but I think most people learned “BFFs” don’t last forever oh, right around the time braces, zits and training bras became everyday realities. O, friendship! Thy cruel bitch, as fickle as an eighth-grade complexion. As for the other two — the disillusionment with fairytale romances and dream jobs — well, those are just sad realizations. If I want to be that depressed, I’ll just read The Jungle while munching on some processed meat in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.
… And suddenly I have the same feeling of failure as I did when I was the only 10-year-old seemingly averse to the reckless-youth charm of a boy named Dakota. Seriously, there were catfights on the playground over this kid with a cowlick. Meanwhile, Sheldonette Cooper over here was all, “He’s 10. And he smells funny. Because he’s 10.”
Now, I may be bad at being girl — clearly, as my reading habits indicate — but I wasn’t great at being a tomboy either. Sure, I collected Pokemon, but I filled my pokeballs with fluffy creatures like Pikachu and Vulpix, with nary a thought for how they might make me a trainer.
It’s quite the pickle, but behold, the Internet! A quick Google search of “How to be a girl” sadly yields results. Including a step-by-step wiki on how to turn yourself into a girly-girl.
Some highlights from our guide to femininity and its accompanying Weight Watchers ad:
- “If your skin doesn’t have enough oil and is being dried out … it will go into an oil frenzy and make you break out more.” Funny, because if your country doesn’t have enough oil, it will also go into an oil frenzy and make you break out in war.
- “Excessive use of perfume is counterproductive and does not improve your hygiene, despite popular belief.” Wait, wait, wait. I don’t think that’s been popular belief since 14th-century Germany.
- “Being grubby isn’t girly and isn’t ladylike.” BUT THERE’S A LETHAL WEAPON MARATHON ON AND THERE ARE BURRITOS MADE OF DORITOS.
- “It looks gross when your hair is all stiff and oozing.” OK, you’ve got me there. Maybe I’m girlier than I thought because on the matter of ooze, green-eyed anime lady, we are in total agreement.
- “If you truly think you are unhealthy, see a doctor.” Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat, I’m glad you told me.
- “Have a sense of style.” Oh, OK.
- “Brands are just social signifiers meant to make people feel superior.” This PSA would be so much more effective if it weren’t followed by a list of stores at which to purchase girly clothing. I’m getting mixed messages.
- “True girly girls appear like they’re floating.” Lolwut.
Some of the last few tips on how to be a girl read as follows: Don’t swagger; Stop swearing; Don’t stuff your face with food; and be sure to read romance novels and develop a keen interest in poetry.
And we’re done. You might as well try telling Ali to stop floating like a butterfly and develop a keen interest in poetry.
Guess I’ll just keep trying.