Saturday, September 4, 2010

Girl World

Do you ever get the feeling that everyone else attended some class or briefing or read some secret instruction manual that you somehow missed? I get that feeling all the time and have as far back as I can remember, starting with Kindergarten at least. There were probably moments before that, but school seemed like a place full of all this stuff that "everyone" knew that, for whatever reason, I didn't know. This feeling has lessened as I got older, but it never entirely disappeared.

And nowhere do I feel it more than when I have to deal with "Girl World."

Girl World is this mysterious other place full of rituals that I only dimly comprehend and have no natural aptitude for. It's full of people who know how to accessorize, which shops sell what kind of clothes, how to put on make-up, do their nails, style their hair, get hit on by guys and lots of other skills that flummox me.

When I was younger, I told myself I wasn't interested in that stuff. I was above all that. I was an "egghead," not "boy crazy" like those other girls. Besides, make-up was created to oppress women and spending time on your hair and clothes was frivolous. (Can you tell what era I grew up in? Heh.)

It makes me a bit sheepish to admit this now, because I no longer see the world so black and white. I realize as an adult just how much I limited myself as a kid by putting those kinds of labels on myself. Plus, I can see that my decision to not play the game just made everything worse instead of better.

When other girls were painting their nails and putting on that horrid blue eye shadow all 12 year olds wore and thinking they were so sophisticated, I had my nose in a book and was sucking up to my teachers. Which means I not only missed the secret classes, but I missed the public ones as well.

At some point, I wised up. I would spend time trying to dress up and look good and I'd end up being dissatisfied with my appearance. Nothing was quite right. For the time I spent, I wasn't getting the payback.

So I took a real class. Yes, they have real "Girl World 101" classes.

Oh, it wasn't called that. I forget the name, but it was several weeks long class on how to put on make-up and shop and what colors and accessories looked good on me. I learned a few simple rules and those rules helped me understand some of the mysterious stuff that eluded me before. I still didn't wear make-up unless it was a formal event or a performance of some sort (i.e., I think of make-up as stage make-up, not something for every day), but I could pick out earrings that would look good with an outfit and not buy stuff that would never look good on me. It was a start and it felt good.

But eventually I became excluded from Girl World again. I had lost a lot of weight for my wedding, but I gained it back over time, as the morbidly obese tend to do. In other words, I got fat again.

This time my exclusion was not 100% voluntary. Some fat chicks can keep their Girl World membership, but I wasn't one of them. I couldn't buy the kind of clothes I wanted to, for starters. I did the best I could with what I was given, but my introduction to this new world was too perfunctory to allow me to navigate is as an outlier.

Ironically, it was only when I lost weight again and began to re-enter Girl World that I discovered shops that I could have shopped in as a fatty. Er, I mean as a Big Beautiful Woman. I have no idea why I didn't know about these shops before. Again, I feel like I missed some secret class.

But now all options are open to me. Or most options anyway. As a shorty, I can't shop everywhere and I'm getting too small for some places too. (Short person + small frame = sizes too far below average to be carried everywhere.) But I have a lot of options and I'm having a lot of fun exploring them.

But I still feel like I missed the secret class.

I have so many questions. What's a normal number of purses to have? Have I gone overboard because I have two that are brown? Or are the upper echelons of Girl World laughing at me because I haven't got three in each color scheme, one dressy, one casual and one in between? Probably the later.

I'm not completely clueless however. I have mastered the "girls must go to the bathroom in packs when out in public" rule, for example. Plus I color coordinate all my bike outfits. So I guess there is hope for me even though do I feel like I'm navigating in a foreign country where I don't quite speak the language.
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