Dear Ms. Moran: On Reading How To Be a Woman

jpegDear Ms. Moran,

I think we should be friends. I know, I know. You probably have all of the female half of the British Empire clamouring to be your BFF, but for reals – we have a lot in common. Let me put forth my case for your perusal.

An eerie number of personal data in common

We are about the same age. Okay, okay, by my calculation you are a year younger, but I won’t hold that against you. (I just checked – you are almost exactly a year younger, even born in the same month! See?)

When I was young, I loved Buck Rogers. I never made the Han Solo connection though, and you kind of blew my mind with that…But now that I’m older and have the advantage of hindsight, I see your point. Buck was just a knock off Han. How did I not see it???

Also, when my sisters and I were young, we would also go around the house with our tights on our head, pretending we had beautiful long hair. I have never heard of anybody else doing this. But perhaps it was a generation thing? I remember we had elaborate ways of tying them up with elastics to make it look like ponytail.

I also spent my youth reading in order to avoid as much as possible the horrifying awkwardness of me. Though it sounds like you might have read better books than me – while you were reading Germaine Greer, I was reading S.E. Hinton, Annie Rice and, during my most elitist literary teen years, D.H. Lawrence and J.D. Salinger.

I have never read any feminist readers until, well, you. Oh and last year I read Lean in, which kind of horrified me. What? The workplace is not equal? Women still have to employ complicated, Machiavellian techniques in order to not offend the men and still get ahead? Huh. Way to burst my nice, sheltered liberal bubble.

I will get on the Germaine Greer and company, I promise. See? You could suggest reading material to me. It would be fun.

We got married at the same age to the quiet man in the corner that took us too long to realise that he was what was missing from our life. And I agree with you about weddings – I don’t even remember mine. I was too busy fretting about walking up that aisle in that large dress without tripping over myself and then after, feeling so relieved that I didn’t fall to take in anything else. NOT the best day of my life, but every day since has been pretty good…

We also had our two kids at the same age – two daughters. Hey! They could be friends! We could have vacations together!

On second thought, never mind. That never works.

I also had homebirth, but I won’t go into that. Your first birth seemed horrifying (I want to go find that Swedish midwife in the hospital and poison her lingonberries). Mine went embarrassingly well. In fact, I always feel a need to apologise to other women when recounting our birthing stories. If there is one thing I do exceptionally well, it is pushing out children. But that doesn’t mean I want to keep doing it – two was plenty. We have that in common as well.

We have the same rants!

What the hell is up with the small underwear? I like to have my proudly ample bottom well covered. I don’t like butt floss or panty lines. And I don’t like clothes that I have to keep adjusting. I want to put them on in the morning and not notice them until I take them off in the evening. Why is that so hard???

Bras. Unlike you, breastfeeding did not leave my breasts as the trampled peaches in the bottom of my purse. In fact, breastfeeding left me with pretty much nothing. My kids literally sucked me dry. I now have the privilege of eschewing that particular torture for little sports bras and tank tops with an extra panel inside. Yay breastfeeding!

Shoes: this is the dress code at our house:

1. Don’t wear anything you can’t bend down in without showing people certain parts of your anatomy.

2. Always wear shoes you can run away in. And no, just because Buffy can kick ass in a pair of stiletto boots, does not mean you can. That’s TV. You would be better served to hold the stilettos in your hands and wear a pair of sneakers instead. That way you can stab any attacker with your boot and then run away.

Don’t get me started on the state of pubic hair these days. I am in total agreement with you: the stripping bare of our vaginas (see? I can say the word) is not only perverted (who wants to look like a ten year old girl? The thought creeps the hell out of me) but apparently unhygienic.

In conclusion

I am also a terrible prude, which could afford you many an enjoyable afternoon watching me blush as you go through different names to call one’s vagina (I did it twice now and my cheeks are burning).

Also, thanks. Just…thanks. Your book was refreshing, hilarious and ultimately, what is the word I am looking for?  Oh yes.


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