This morning, my husband came into the bathroom while I was crayoning a purple line onto my eyelid. He was saying "good-bye"- just wanted to let me know he was on his way out the door. I was flabbergasted. How is it that I, who wake at 5:30, can be beaten out the door so consistently by a man who sleeps for two more hours?
"How easy to be a man," I thought. Roll out of the bed, shower, put on pants- the ones that you wore yesterday are just fine- a shirt, pour coffee into a giant travel mug and you're on your way. Andy had gone through such a sequence this morning, like he does every morning, even making time for a very rare wardrobe change. This event, which happens about as often as a lunar eclipse, was only caused by my telling him that he would roast in flannel today- "The high is going to be in the 60's!" I called out to him, after seeing him walk down the hall in a red and navy flannel shirt. No need to stress about these things, though, because every shirt in the man's closet matches (or doesn't, but what does it matter anyway? -and that it my point) the pants he had on. So it took about a minute and a half to resolve this weather-related wardrobe faux-pas, and then he was right back on schedule. Meanwhile, I had been thinking about what I would wear since Sunday, and, even so, still struggled with what earrings were the right choice to work with the Cheetah print flats and minute gold buttons at the sleeves of my burgundy blouse.
At 7:30, I found myself in a quiet house, the only sound was my quinoa simmering on the stove- a sound much too quiet to drown out my brooding over the inconvenience of being a woman. I gave my hair a few good yanks with a tiny hot-pink brush, remembering Dolly Parton's line from Steel Magnolias- "It takes some effort to look like this." Truer words have not been spoken. What I wouldn't give to be one of the fifteen women on planet Earth who look smashing in jeans, a t-shirt and a ponytail, but, let's be realistic. Most of us, if we're being honest, would say we're in Dolly's camp. Sure, if I'm camping for the weekend, I'll do the whole low maintenance girl thing- and maybe husbands think it's cute for anytime, but, at 32 with a full-time job and an ever-expanding mid-section, I need to spend some serious time with the barrel brush and blowdryer before facing the day. My husband, on the other hand, remains boyishly charming without doing, literally, anything. He wakes up that way, goes to bed that way, and gets more and more that way every year.
After my appropriated time with the brush and dryer, I rushed into the kitchen to check on the quinoa."This," I thought to myself, "is just another example of the problem at hand." Men don't simmer quinoa in the morning so that they will have something healthy to eat for lunch. Andy would probably eat Taco Bell for lunch and not think another thing about it- something I'm pretty sure no woman over the age of thirteen ever did. Because isn't it some sort of unwritten rule that, as a woman, if you don't show up with some type of salad or whole-grain mixture for lunch that you must at the very least flog yourself mentally and verbally for the rest of the day? "I can't believe I ate that- I never eat that way. I won't eat anything at all for dinner. Definitely going vegan all day tomorrow"... that sort of thing.
While spooning my quinoa into a tupperware, I caught sight of another damsel dilemma- my fingernails. Gold nail polish, which had looked super chic on New Year's Eve, had lost its luster entirely a few days back when it began to chip off. It was already past 7:30, and I was due at work at 7:45. Is it unprofessional to show up to work late? Of course. Is it also unprofessional to have your hands be projected onto a screen all day with nails that are only partially gilded? I went with yes, so, gritting my teeth, I dashed for the bathroom again and rummaged under the sink for the nail polish remover.
At 7:51, I was on my way to work and had a startling thought. Next year at this time, I won't just have myself to get ready- I will have another girl to prep in the morning. The thought seemed overwhelming. I chuckled to myself, recalling something from last night's BSF lesson. We're studying Leviticus and covered the chapters about purification after childbirth. Oddly, God commanded that women take a 60 day rest after giving birth to a girl. After a boy, they were back to business as usual after just 30 days. Our teaching leader said that she'd tried to look up the reason why, but that she couldn't find anything, and would just have to ask God herself one day. As I rounded a sun-soaked curve, I thought, "Maybe He was trying to get everybody used to the fact that it was going to take twice as long to get anything done with a girl." The curve straightened and I contemplated if I could really do it, chuck the whole girly thing- be like Andy and just get out of bed, get clean and go. Wouldn't it at least be simpler that way? Wouldn't I save myself so much trouble? Would I be teaching something truer to my daughter by avoiding the fuss that so often comes with womanhood?
But then my mind veered in the direction of the tiny pink onesies that were purchased over Christmas break. One of them, it has to be my favorite at the moment, has a little tulle tutu around the middle and little ballet slippers at the feet. Just thinking about it made me start smiling. No, I'm not ready to abandon girly- not now, when girly is just getting good. As inconvenient as it might be, as time consuming, and maybe sometimes as pointless, there is, at the root, something special about being a girl. So for now, Andy can have his pre-worn pants and Taco Bell, and I guess I'll suck up the consequences, and also enjoy some of the benefits, of being just a little bit girly.