Monday, May 3, 2010


In conversations with others of my sex these days I find my interest waning when they mention hairdressers and grooming treatments. It's almost as though a man has invaded my thoughts.

Just this morning, my colleague, Leo, asked, "So who is Evangelia?"

And I said without even blinking, "You know, that chick with the mellifluous voice. Dirty blonde hair and droopy eyes. Slim, petite, nice butt. Sexy in a not too overt and clean-cut kind of way. Definitely doable if you like the mousy sort."


I looked up and sensed his awkwardness. "I said it like a man so that you'd understand," I excused myself.

Or maybe I've been working with men for way too long. Long enough to be conversant in soccer and for them to not have to censor themselves when in my presence.

A friend - one of those "real" friends unafraid to criticise you to your face - told me to stop this de-feminisation, to wax my legs, pluck my eye-brows, go for a manicure and to get my act together. She told me I was not "taking care" of myself - neglecting me, setting a bad example for my daughters...



I chose this photograph of Frida Kahlo because I think she has unbridled sexuality, managing to break through stereotypes of beauty despite her unibrow and mustache. What makes a 'woman'? Perhaps it is passion and warmth more than fashion and fake nails...


Robin said...

I am not sure what is actually happening here... are you actually just being yourself and allowing other people to see it because you are not censoring yourself OR is the workplace changing you? If you are just being yourself then that is a great thing. What a wonderful thing to drop the pretense of being interested in a bunch of crap that you aren't just because society says that you should. Shakespeare got it right, "To thine own self be true," oh crap my memory just went out on me... and then it was something like because in doing so you can't be false to any man. Shoot, I would like it up, but I have a doctor appt, so my time is short. As long as your daughters see you as a smart woman who lived her life true to herself I don't think you can go wrong. Moooo.

Sandy, Sisters of Season said...

Hi Mary, I worked with mostly men the last 10 years of my career, I felt like a he-she after awhile . . it easy to become that way. I don't see anything wrong with it, men sort of find it attractive, it's probably all the confidence it generates. To me a women's beauty comes from within whether she has fakes boobs or nails, or the perfect dye job. Interesting post. Sandy :O)

Purple Cow said...

Robin, I used to like shopping, plucking etc and all that's left is the shoe-buying. I've really been slacking off lately...didn't realise people realised I wasn't waxing beneath the panty hose.

Sandy, I agree. Still, taking care of our looks is a sign of well-being. No?

Janna Qualman said...

ROFL! I wish I could think so quick on my feet. I give you kudos for your comment to Leo. :)

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Phoenix said...

As a tomboy I gotta say I'm totally with you - some days I do the "sniff test" just to figure out which clothes are clean. Meh.

I think that women don't have to have their sexuality defined by typical ideas of grace and beauty, nor does their worth have to be measured by sexuality at all - your example of Frida Kahlo was spot on - she was sexy and powerful and bucked traditions of what women are supposed to look like or how they are supposed to act.

I say keep on doing what you do :)

Ro Magnolia said...

Ahhh ... I'm thinking a kind of "sort the wheat from the chaff" is a good idea when working around men. My working world is primarily a male environment too so I can certainly relate. But what is "wheat" to one person is perhaps "chaff" to another, so I won't presume to suggest to you what to keep and what to set aside.

But there is that indefinable core of femininity about us women, that surely has nothing to do with the outward, and all about the inward - yet somehow manages to affect how we take care of the outward. Does that make sense or is that just really confusing? :)

Robin said...

You are too funny. I left an award for you on my blog. Lucky you!

Purple Cow said...

Hey there Janna - I think it comes from not thinking. When I think before speaking I usually keep my mouth shut!

Phoenix - For a tomboy, you look pretty good in a dress (from what I've seen from the pics on your blog).

Ro - it does make sense!

Robin - Will check it out...I shudder to think what this award could be for!

sushi said...

i can relate...i've been around men for as long as i can remember!
and i've been told several times that i think like a man. nothing wrong with that :) gives us a bit more edge dont you think?

however, i still do love girl stuff hehehe!