What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.
What is it like to be a woman? I wish I knew. Even grown women are rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Am I still a girl? I do know I’m sick to death of being “cute.” It’s a good thing too, I’m past my prime in the cute department. Whenever I am writhing my way through some kind of metamorphosis Mr. Husband claims the short end of the stick. He hasn’t learned after 8 years to leave me alone when I need it. Even when I spell it out in excruciating clarity and say “leave me the hell alone.” He also tends to follow me around breathing down my neck when I’m not in a talkative mood.
“Are you OK? You sure are being quiet.” He’ll ask when I’m reading a book. Wander what would happen if I let out intermittent screams and cackles while reading. Would this satisfy the noise criteria? Then the drive by questions start, “whatcha doing?” Well dear, I’m walking from point A to point B, and there is every likelihood that at some point I may walk back from point B to point A, but don’t hold your breath.” I try to see it from his point of view, but usually fail. I grew up in a large noisy house full of people. If everyone asked someone else what they were doing on a walk by, that’s all we’d ever talk about. And probably end up in frustration induced smack downs that rival reality TV.
Now I’m starting to chafe under this weird obligation or burden to be “cheerful” and “cute” all the time. Smile, make small talk, chatter about the weather, blah, blah, rutabaga, rutabaga. Men aren’t expected to do this. Woman are advised to give their guy some space. Let him go off to his man cave, think his deep manly thoughts in solitude and privacy. Uninterrupted by silly questions. “What are doing” Why aren’t you smiling? Is there something wrong? Are you mad at me? Are you taking your pills? Are you plotting my demise? Where is the cat?”
In my family of origin we coped with the need for head space in more of an oriental kind of way. Never gave it much thought until now. It was an unspoken rule that when someone curled up in a corner with their nose in a book or leaned on the windowsill looking at the clouds, this person was in a private place and wanted solitude. I would never dream of walking up to anyone engrossed in a book and ask “what are you doing?” It is a question that begs a sarcastic answer at the very least. “If you must know, I’m judging the heft of this novel against the chances of its cracking your skull?” Be careful when asking silly questions, you might not like the answer.
Is it the interruption factor? Women through ages tell their children, “don’t bother Daddy dear, he’s relaxing after a hard day at the office, the salt mine, the Roman forum.” Mother may still have scramble eggs lodged in her eyebrows from the breakfast battle with junior, but that’s not important in the grand scale of things. Women are raised to believe that everything they do is subject to interruption, idle curiosity or interference by the needs or whims of others. “I’ll just get back to my petty little essay on the meaning of life, the universe and everything it contains, after I scratch your left shoulder-blade.” And we do it with a smile on our face. Or do we? Is it really a baring of teeth? “Yes dear, right away dear, your command is my wish dear.” Truth unspoken – At this moment dear, I wish you would fall of the edge of the earth, today if possible.
Now to Mr. Husband’s credit, this seems to be a recurring theme in my relationships with men. For all the reasons I’ve listed above. Can men help if it they are raised up to believe that women are on this earth for the sole purpose of amusing them? Is it encoded in the DNA or a learned behavior? Who knows. I know I’m not a typical woman. I don’t need nonstop, 24/7, constant interaction, petting and assurances of love. I either feel it or I don’t on a given day. What I need and want is the privacy to think my own thoughts. Uninterrupted, interrogated. If my door is shut, leave-me-the-hell-alone! I don’t even care if the house is on fire.