When I was a kid, I liked to dress up and “play princess” like many other girls. I’d clomp around in my mother or grandmother’s high heels and think I couldn’t wait to grow up and have shoes like that of my very own. But somewhere along the way, something happened, and I became the woman who would live in jeans every day if life would let her get away with it.
So take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt. This is no fashionista talking. That said, I just don’t get the whole tie thing. Who came up with the idea that businessmen slipping something nooselike around their necks everyday was a requirement for being “professional?”
I’m not a fan of men or women’s suits, either, to be truthful. But the tie thing is the one I really don’t understand. Since I work in an office, I’m surrounded by tie-sporting men all day. Of course, they’re working alongside women in shoes that make them groan in relief and rub their feet when they finally kick them off for a spell. But these women ooh and aah in joy just as much as pain over those shoes. I’ve never heard my male colleagues gather in the lunchroom to gloat over tie sales.
I know it isn’t true, but sometimes I think ties were actually invented by someone who wanted to even the scales a little bit. Think about it.
– Women have to shave just about everything. Men have to shave their faces – maybe. There are some dudes who make the Grizzly Adams look work. I don’t know any women, no matter how drop-dead gorgeous and sparkling with personality, who will get very far in the dating game with Sasquatch thighs.
– Let’s face it. If men had periods too, the workworld would have an entirely different structure. We’d all automatically have five days off a month, no questions asked.
– When men go gray, they can pull it off as “distinguished.” When it happens to us girls, most of us pay someone to hide that shit. Or in my case, we turn our own bathrooms into something out of a horror movie set turning “a few strands of gray” into “reddish brown highlights.”
– No one pays much attention if a man dates a woman who is closer in age to his daughters than himself. When a woman steps out with a guy who is that much younger, tongues wag.
– Pregnancy and childbirth. Not that I’ve been there, but I’ve heard the stories.
– Men can eat more without getting fat. And if they DO get fat, they can usually lose weight much faster.
– If a couple’s home is cluttered and messy, or their child shows up to school without the right art supplies, or they bring something store-bought instead of homemade to the potluck, it is the woman the biddies snipe about when they gather and cluck their heads, not the man. It doesn’t matter if both of them are working 60 hours a week or even if she’s the only one bringing home the bacon. We’re making strides, but there will always be people who see that stuff as “women’s work.”
I could go on, but you get the picture. Life has thrown us chicks some pretty hard curveballs, and we’ve managed them well. We bleed for five days and don’t die, have babies, clean and shop and dye our gray hair and cook delicious meals for our families before sitting down to our own plate of low-cal leaves and twigs. OK, not “we.” I’m a rebel. But many women. Then these same uncomplaining heroines show up for the board meeting in their stiletto heels.
But at least they don’t have to wear a tie.
Sometimes I joke about the fact that if it wasn’t for mowing lawns and killing bugs, I wouldn’t mind being a guy. It looks like easy street. Then I show up at work in the steamy heat of July and August, wearing some short-sleeved, leg-baring summer outfit. And there are my male coworkers, in their long pants and ties. Sure, it is 100 degrees out, but if they show up to that meeting without the white collar membership badge (which again, goes on much like a noose), some boss-type will be sure to look at them sideways. So they sigh and daydream of Casual Fridays.
This time of year, I’m glad to be a girl. The guys can keep their double standards and “distinguished” middle age, if it comes with having to put a tie around their necks.
I’d still like to campaign for those extra days off each month, though. Seriously.