Sunday, October 6, 2013

Femme Failure

Last night I dreamt that someone asked me my opinion on how a pair of earrings went with her outfit and my reply was, "Do I look qualified to answer that question? I'm wearing a skirt made out of sweatpants."

I don't really own a skirt made out of sweatpants, but the essence of that scenario is true. I just wasn't born with the super power that most women seem to have where they can coordinate clothes to match each other and the tone of their skin, hair and eyes. This has always fascinated me about other women, and occasionally some men. They will spot someone wearing a green shirt and say, "That's a great color on you." Is it? How can they tell? Green's a great color in general, but how is it a great color on that person in particular? Is it because green is the color of frogs and this person resembles a frog? And both the complimentor and the person in the shirt think that frogs are awesome and that's why they're both so excited about it?

I don't know these things, so I dress myself in simple colors so that there's no confusion about whether or not they go together. Like black and black. Or blue and bluer. That's for work, that is. When I'm home, it's blue jeans and a T-shirt that I've owned for ten years.

And as I stand there in my ripped Warren Zevon T-shirt and listen to one woman say to another, "I love that top!" I look at the woman who's been flattered and I think, "Really? What makes it lovable? It doesn't even have a band on it, or say anything funny. It's gray and it's got some weird shiny things going on with it, but that just makes it look like one of those iridescent fish. And what makes it a 'top' instead of a 'shirt?'"

I don't ask these things out loud. I'm pretty sure that asking these questions will automatically disqualify me from being female, and though I don't dress the part, I like being a woman.

Those of you who've seen me are probably thinking, "But I've seen you dress up nice." Yeah. About that. Do you know how I determine if something looks nice? I determine how boring I think it is, and if an outfit really bores me I assume it looks good to everyone else. So when a woman asks me, "Does this look good?" my brain switches on a boring calculator and if what she's  wearing seems really dull I say, "Yeah, you look great."

Tonight I saw a woman wearing black jeans, bright blue and green jogging shoes, a pink fuzzy shirt and a brown Fedora. I found the combination so entertaining that I decided she must not match.

This problem stretches beyond clothes. A couple of months ago one of my guy friends called me up and asked me my opinion on couch pillow color coordination and I was absolutely no help. I tried to save him some time in the very beginning when he started the conversation by saying, "So I need your woman's opinion on something."

"Hmm," I said. "You're probably going to be disappointed."

"Do you remember the color of my couch? Do you think an orange pillow would go well with it?"

He reminded me of the red of his couch and then he described the orange of the pillows he was looking at. I thought about how  boring those two colors would look together.

"Um...sure," I said.

"You sound uncertain."

"Of course I'm uncertain. I told you I'm no good at this stuff. I don't know if orange and red go together, but when I picture it I guess it doesn't look horrible."

"Ok. Do you think I should get more than two? Like maybe a lot of pillows?"

"I don't know, man. Do you want to sit on this couch?"

"Well, yeah."

"How are you going to sit on the couch with all of those pillows on it? Pillows are for sleeping."

"They're also for decoration."

"Ok then yeah, get a shitload of pillows."

I was now just saying anything I could to get off of the subject of pillows. It was one thing to stretch my imagination about whether red went with orange but now we were talking about the subject of pillows as decoration and I thought I might die. Because I really don't care about decorative pillows. Pillows are supposed to be fluffy and inviting and they're supposed to support my head and neck while I sleep, they're not supposed to lie around like glossy whores trying to make a couch look good. And then you don't sit on the couch because you might mess it up. So then you've got a couch you can't sit on pillows you can't sleep on and you stand there in your mismatched clothes next to furniture that thinks it's better than you.

I don't understand spending money for decorative pillows anymore than I understand spending a lot of money on a purse....and this is really where I risk having my female membership revoked. But it's worth it, because really, honestly, spending anything more than $20 for a purse makes no sense to me. Because it's a fucking purse.

"But it's a name brand bag," you're thinking.

No. No, it's a fucking purse. Why would anyone spend hundreds of dollars on a purse no matter whose name's on it? Is YOUR name on it? No? Does it have wifi? Can you play games on it? Does it fix you breakfast? No? Really? It's just a fucking purse? Oh ok. You probably have pillows that I can't sit on.

I know I must sound bitter about this, and it's because I kind of am. Because other women seem to have this insight that I don't have about what beauty is and what material things are worth. I really wanted to be able to answer my friend's question about the pillows. I really wanted to care because it seemed important to him and because I felt that my femininity was challenged.

I'm not completely ungirly. I would have been totally stoked about the pillows if they had been in the shape of little penguins. THAT would have been adorable. Then my answer would have been, "You found tiny penguin pillows? Buy twenty! And when I get off of work I'll come over and dive into a mountain of penguin pillows! This is the best shopping trip ever! Stay right there, I'm coming to the store!"

Oh yeah. I should mention something else. I hate shopping. Hate. Despise. Loathe. I remember going to the department store with my mother and her sisters, and they would stop at a clothes rack and sift through tops or whatever the hell else was on sale, and I would stand there and moan.

"Mooooooooom....when are you going to be done?"

"When I'm done," she'd say, which is bullshit because all she did was answer my question with part of my question. "Why don't you look around and see if there's anything you like?"

I looked around and saw no books for sale or small animals. "There's nothing here I like! I'm going to DIE!"

Then one of my aunts would find something and ask the others if they thought it looked good and they'd all say things like, "That's such a good color on you!" or "You look so thin!" And I'd think, "I am dying and they're flipping out over a white shirt."

That was just last week.

Now I've done it. Shop-hating was the last straw and now the Femme Police are coming to revoke my female privileges. After I hand over my maternal instinct and my uterus I'll sit on my pillowless couch in my sweatpants skirt and burn a pile of purses.


Anonymous said...

Bet you have a shitload of guy friends. If not, just add beer to the conversation and you're golden.

Genevieve said...

I do, actually, have a lot of guy friends and guy-like girl friends. We drink root beer.