Several years ago, I was having lunch with two girlfriends. One was a no-makeup, Birks-and-jeans boho gal. The other was a consummate athlete who ran and biked all summer, ran and skiied all winter, and seldom wore anything flashier than a simple silver necklace. We chatted away about our husbands, our hobbies, movies we’d seen, new local restaurants, short- and long-term life goals. Then, somehow, the conversation turned to matters of grooming, and eventually the two of them were trading tips about the best place to get a Brazilian and great spots for cheap pedicures.
At the time, I’d only ever had one pedicure; On my wedding day, six years previously. And the possibility of getting a Brazilian had never even entered my mind. I was a little stunned to find that these two women – both of whom confessed to being extra nervous before meeting me, fearing I’d declare their fashion choices unacceptable – were in possession of girl knowledge that was utterly alien to me.
My first realization: Despite my best efforts, I had made some assumptions about my friends based on their appearances and lifestyle choices. These two gals claimed ignorance in my preferred area of girliness. I was frankly surprised to hear that they both possessed expertise in equally mainstream areas of girliness, and ones that were outside my own realm of experience.
My second realization: My lack of exposure to pedicures and Brazilians made me feel … behind. Like I’d missed out on some key lessons that might result in getting kicked out of the club.
And yes, I realize that getting a wax job and paying others to paint your toenails are not measures of womanhood. And yes, I ALSO realize that womanhood can’t actually be measured. At all. By anyone. But the experience made me realize that my ideas about myself as a woman were much more fluid than I’d realized. I was surprised to find myself feeling so excluded and inexperienced, so comparatively green. It was like getting jolted back to middle school when the whole world revolved around girl-to-girl comparisons.
And although the incident lodged in my mind as fascinating and worthy of examination and discussion, I didn’t attempt to play catch-up. I’ve since had a few pro pedicures, but they weren’t reactionary. And getting a Brazilian … still not interested.
Have you ever talked with female friends and realized they possess a wealth of woman-specific knowledge that you lack? Ever felt left out due to lack of exposure to typically-girly or stereotypically-girly activities? Did you seek out those areas of knowledge or those experiences for yourself, or just move on? Do you feel that you, personally, are expert in any realms of girl knowledge?
Image courtesy Rachel D.