So not a ‘Girl’

A likeminded friend told me I should blog about being so not a “girl.” It takes an “un-girl” to know one, so here goes.

Let’s get something straight right away: I am stereotypically girly in many ways. I love pedicures. I hate spiders. Hallmark commercials make me cry. And I have been an on-again, off-again fan of “General Hospital” since I was 5.

But here are some of the things that make me an “un-girl”:

  1. I hate talking on the phone — to the point where it’s almost a phobia. I will do just about anything to avoid picking up the phone. I am the queen of call screening. Text me, email me, but please don’t call me (unless it’s an emergency, of course).
  2. I don’t “play dumb” to make men (or anyone) feel smarter, and I think doing so is offensive and borderline reprehensible. This doesn’t always win me a lot of points.
  3. I have opinions. Lots of them. And I’m not afraid to share them.
  4. I don’t feel the need to compete with other people. I never have. I am genuinely happy when good things happen to anyone, male or female. If someone I know accomplishes something, I am right there, cheering her on.
  5. I don’t try to make myself look better by knocking other people down. This, coupled with the fact that I speak my mind, is one of the primary reasons I’ve never lasted long in a clique. I believe in being honest but not hurtful. And, for god’s sake, if you have something to say, say it to the person’s face, not behind her back.
  6. I don’t get jealous when my friends make new friends or spend time with other friends. This goes back to the non-competitive thing. If you love your friend, why would you be angry at her for spending time with someone else whose company she enjoys?
  7. I don’t envy other people’s belongings. Period. True happiness comes from almost losing everything and then realizing the things that really matter can’t be taken away.
  8. I’m not big on the whole “girls-only” thing. That’s not to say I don’t like to spend time with my female friends. It’s just that my husband is my go-to person for most things (aside from shopping and mani-pedis). We share a lot of interests and enjoy each other’s company. When we go out or travel, it’s usually together.
  9. On a related note, I don’t “husband bash.” My husband is my best friend, and he makes me happy. Is he perfect? No. Does he almost always leave his socks on the floor? Yes. But after 15 years of marriage, I’ve learned to pick my battles. I’ve also learned that, overall, he’s just not really bash-worthy.
  10. I always, always, always try to see the good in people. Sometimes it’s not easy. But prejudging someone doesn’t work for me. In fact, if Sally So-and-So tells me she can’t stand someone, I will go out of my way to give that person a chance. And I may end up writing off Sally in the process.

It’s not easy being an un-girl. We usually don’t fit in, and we often wouldn’t want to. The good news is that there are a lot of us out there, and we somehow manage to find and appreciate each other. We revel in each other’s victories, and we’ve always got each other’s backs.

Leaving Normal (Well, Detroit)

I left Michigan two months before my 26th birthday. At 18 I had set a deadline for myself of moving away from the Detroit area by 25, and time was running out. So, I did what any reckless 20-something would do: I quit my job, sold my car and moved to Chicago.

Of course it would have made a lot more sense to find a job first, but that didn’t happen as quickly as I would have liked. Plus, if I had waited till the right job came along, I would have missed out on a whole lot of adventures – including brief stints as a telephone operator at Playboy and manager of a Michigan Avenue boutique. At the latter, I learned that (some) women in fur coats with big pocketbooks will buy just about anything labeled “art.” At the former, I learned that (some) men think women dressed as bunnies answer the phone at Playboy’s corporate office, and they behave accordingly.

Also, if I had taken the responsible path, I most likely would not have spent so many evenings exploring the music scene with my partner in crime (a childhood friend who had moved to Chicago before me). During one such outing, I met the man who would eventually become my husband and the father of my two children.

This is the part where my 20-something self would most certainly recoil in terror … or at least shock. Husband? Children? Now, how in the heck did that happen?

Sometimes a wrong turn takes you in exactly the right direction. And that, among other things, is what this blog is about.