Dear Young Woman:

oh dear

You are so beautiful. You are young, shiny – filled with collagen and elastin and other things that make me envious. You have a future, a spark, and more opportunity than any generation of women in the history of everything. You’re really the first girls ever for whom just about anything is truly possible. You can go to the moon, you can stay home and raise a house full of kids,  you can do both.. it’s up to you.

So while I am sure you are going after those things, planning them and making goals and figuring out your path, I have a couple of questions for you. Don’t take these the wrong way (as if I know what the right way is)… I don’t want to offend you or sound as old as I’m sure I do, but I don’t get it.

Why do you dance like that? Like a stripper… you know what I mean. Dancing, all by itself, is just so naturally sexy and free and open, who told you you had to do a lap dance on the floor? When you go up on the dance floor with your friends, why do you all look like you’re auditioning for a porn flick or a strip club? Seriously, I’m not trying to be an old bitch but the front row is usually expected to come armed with small bills for that kind of performance, and there’s generally a cover charge.

Those pictures of you on Facebook and Instagram … the sexy booty pics in the bathroom, you know the ones – you in your bikini or little tank top sulking and making duck lips with the toilet in the background. What’s that about? Or the drunk ones..the ones with your hands on your best friend’s boobs and your tongues touching. Why? Are you gay? Are you experimenting with your sexuality and want to showcase it to the world? Or are you really just trying to look hot, ’cause guys think girls making out is really hot? If you’re coming out via Facebook pics, power to you. If you’re trying to look hot… seriously, why?

I think sex is great. I think being sexy and celebrating your sexuality is great. I don’t want to shame you or blame you or tell you you can’t go out of the house dressed like THAT, young lady!  I just don’t understand who it’s for, all those moves and those pictures, and all that.  Does that stuff make you feel empowered? Maybe owning your sexuality in that way makes you feel strong, in charge. If that’s why, that makes sense to me somehow. But is it really that, or is it just because that’s the crap that’s been poured into your brain by Much Music, by all the ho’s and biotches in the games, videos and movies you’ve seen.  I worry “that’s what sexy looks like” to you and presumably, the guys.   I’m more afraid you’ve been convinced it’s how you’ve got to look rather than out of a sense of freedom and control.

When I was a little girl, my influences were pretty tame; Barbie, Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Cher.  You girls catapulted straight from Barbies to Britney, Bitch. The world changed shape around the time you were all what…. 13, 14?  Suddenly everybody was texting, Facebook was a thing,  and before the world knew what had happened, we were underwater.  Everything shifted shape.

I guess I’d like to know why… honestly. I guess I’d like to believe that, if any part of my concern or questions ring true to you, you might think about that. I would love it if, the next time you run out onto the dance floor with a bunch of friends you dance for the joy of moving your body to music you love… to HELL with whoever might be hooting from the cheap seats.

I think you’re beautiful when you dance like a regular person. I think your photos are gorgeous when you laugh and look like a dork in them. I celebrate your normal, beautiful, sexy self.

Body Armor and Good Shoes

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Today I am dressed for work. Really dressed for work; black pencil skirt, lovely drapey blouse, suit jacket, neutral pumps (understated and professional with a good dash of sexy). My hair is short and styled, my makeup is appropriate and my accessories complement without distracting. Pearls, actually.

If you look a bit closer at the outfit, the shoes, the hair and the look you’ll see the hidden rivets. The seams where the metal  of the breastplate meets the tasset show the dents of the club hammer and the effort that went into its construction. Those good shoes… they’re really a modern sabaton; protection, baby.

Don’t think for a moment that I woke up this morning and decided to dress like this because heels feel awesome, because I love panty-hose. These earrings were chosen mindfully and the necklace too. My clothes are my armor.

There are things in my life right now that demand my full attention. My energy has to be rationed and my strength shored up. I am not up to the challenge in jeans and a t -shirt; I need something external to let me know I can handle what I must handle. I need to look in the mirror and see someone who is competent, strong, determined and certain. At the moment I’m none of those things, so for that, I need a disguise. I need a costume. I need armor.

A friend observed that often when women separate from their partners they begin to dress better than they used to. He seemed to believe it to be a peacock preening kind of thing; a desire to strut, to appear attractive. I’m offering another possible explanation; it’s fear. It’s fear, dressed up to look like courage. It’s armor.

Look at me… I look great. I look strong. I look like I know what I’m doing.

I’m a jelly fish. A jelly fish in really good shoes.

We are genius.

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It has recently come to my attention that I’m a freakin’ genius. No, don’t laugh… seriously! I have mastered a set of skills so highly specialized that many people don’t even know they don’t share them.

You’d think I’d hoard this magic, keep these powers to myself, but you’d be wrong. I WANT to share. I have willingly offered mentorship to anyone who is interested. Sadly, so few are interested… in fact I can say with honesty that, to date, no-one has actually wanted to learn.

So I will remain, for the foreseeable future, one of an elite few. A member of an unarmed group of specialists who know one another on sight, and know impostors in a moment. We are all around you.

We are the brave. We are the powerful. We know how to change a toilet roll, replace a paper towel tube, fold towels, sweep under the edges of the cupboard, sort laundry, close cabinet doors and refill liquid soap dispensers. We know how to empty the lint tray, pull gunk out of the kitchen drain and put a new bag in the trash bin. We understand that milk lives in the refrigerator, that food left out overnight goes bad and that brown bananas taste better. We know how to cap the toothpaste and collapse a stroller. We can tell you where you left your blue jacket and which type of peanut butter you prefer.

We are mothers. We are legion. We are genius. We are tired.

Sorry… I’ve already taken off my bra.

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Is there anything better than that? Taking off your bra? Walking in the door, shedding the boots, the socks, the belt, the earrings and necklace, and ohmigodgetitoffbeforesomebodydies… the bra. I don’t care how much it cost. I don’t care how pretty it is. I don’t care if the girls look like a million bucks when I’m wearing it. For the love of all that is holy get the damned thing off.

I am a lot smarter about buying bras now than I used to be. I check the underwire… I know what’s likely to kill me and what’s not, but it’s not fail safe. Dammit, those cross your heart hope to die pieces of feminengineering are a pain in my….soft bits. That’s right. My soft bits.

Why the HELL do I wear a bra? I don’t even have much to lift!  I realize now, living with teenagers horrified by any suggestion that their old ma is actually a girl, that I wear a bra largely to hide the occasional nipple hard on, to keep the old girls from moving, and to keep everything “dignified”.

Seriously? I suffer this kind of indignity for other people? Not even for me?! Hmmmm.

Maybe a rethink is in order. Would you REALLY be that horrified by the actual suggestion of a nipple under my (not transparent) shirt?

Yeah right. As if I could pull that off without walking around with a concave chest, bent in on myself to disguise the nakedness beneath my clothes.

Alright. I’ll keep it on during the day but lordy lordy, don’t stand between me and hoochy girl freedom the minute I run through that door at day’s end. And don’t even bother asking me to do anything after 6pm most nights… once that straight jacket’s been removed I am in, baby.. in for the night!