Growing up in a neighborhood of boys, I only played with Barbies in private, unless they were invited to a GI Joe game and they needed a nurse doll present. I was an only child till I was eight and I was fascinated with so many things. My parents never led me to understand what was meant for boys or girls because I think they wanted me to experience childhood the way they both had.
I didn’t really have girlfriends until I started grade school. Still, I played ballerina or Paula Abdul (don’t ask) with the girls and then army or Pogs with the boys. As I got older, I found girls like me. My best friends in high school were not girlie. They could play rough with the boys but dress pretty for prom too. We were a perfect fit. We still are, except out of the group of girls I cherish the most, we are scattered amongst four states in separate geographically regions of the United States.
I’ve been hopelessly awkward since I began college. I left home and found myself having to start from scratch. Southern California does not give an East Coast girl the same kind of welcome a surfer girl gets, particularly when she shows up with dark spikey hair and band pins all over her purses; at least back then it didn’t. I’d meet people here and there, do a lunch or two and never really bonded with people my age. The old soul in me met women quite a bit older that I bonded with, but I’ve been left hopelessly unsure of how to act around girls/women my age.
“Let’s go shopping” brings on dread. What do I do? Do I wander and look at stuff I want to see or do I follow them around and comment on their choices? What if I want to go into a store and they don’t? Do we get lunch? Can I talk about how the boots won’t fit my legs or is that too soon? How long do we do this for? I usually shop like a boy; enter the store with a mission, set my sights on the prize and get out, solo.
I thought if I watched a lot of girlie shows or movies, I’d be less awkward. Sex and City well, they talk about sex all the time and that’s not usually the first opening when developing a friendship. (No pun intended.) Still, I’m learning. There are actually women who say we should go out and instead of saying “no” and fearing my awkward and unsure ways, I’ve started to say “yes” and fumble my way through it. There’s hope yet, and regardless of what happens, when my girls come home, I know I’ll be ok.