Walking Like a Tomboy…Thinking Like a Girl

Many of you, who have been following my blog for a while, know I am trying my hand at Tomboy Conversion. I am sorry to report I’ve had a bit of a relapse.

I had been making a consistent effort to do my hair, apply my make-up and consistently wear anything that was not made of old sweats or t-shirt material. I’m going to blame the economy (because that just feels like the right thing to do), but I have found many more productive ways to spend my money and my time.

I have discovered something though.  I think my thought-process has been flawed. I equated the girly look with the girly experience, and I think I might be missing the point.

I spent the entire weekend, last weekend, with my two girls.  The three of us did arguably the most girly of activities: watched an ice show, set up for and attended a ladies tea, watched Freaky Friday, shopped at the mall and all the while embraced all that it is to be with a group of girls.

For one entire weekend, there were no sporting events or practices and not a single athlete fluttered across our television. We giggled and posed dramatically for pictures. We hugged and danced and celebrated.

I noticed something though.  The events that generally attract women as organizers take a lot of planning: pagaents, ice shows, dances, choir concerts, weddings…this is in contrast to the events that attract the men.  Men, as an over-generalization (and most closely connected to my man), seek out sporting events, fishing, or hunting,.

This is all still swirling itself around in my head, but I started to think, maybe the stereotypical difference between men and women is this:  women spend time planning to control the outcome of events, and men want nothing more than to be surprised by the results.

For women, the stories they share after a planned event are about those things that didn’t go as they had hoped. The surprising dress that Sally wore and the disruption to expectation.

For men, they rehash the details of triumph and defeat and live vicariously through the men who have taken control in a spontaneous way (beating an opponent last second, reeling in the big one).

I’m still trying to figure out the differences between the girliest girls among us and the tomboys, like me, who have spent inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to control the spontaneous. Maybe if I really want to convert from being a tomboy, I need to worry less about the clothes and makeup I’m wearing and more about the forethought and planning.

I LOVED the tea. I loved the process of planning, the time I spent with the women behind the scenes, and then the sense of accomplishment that what we had hoped would happen… did.  It is so unlike the preparation for a game with a completely unpredictable outcome.

My job, for the tea, was to help write a presentation.  I spent time with my writing partner writing, and discussing and refining. I spent time, in front of a mirror, practicing and preparing. I presented the end product with the hopes it would sound the way we had intended.

I think writing has always been my girly expression. There is planning and preparation and expectation. I am grateful for my tomboy tendencies though.  It is helping me to adjust to the surprising ways readers ingest what I write.

My tomboy conversion continues, but it may not look like it to an outside observer. I’m fairly confident that I haven’t been able to stick with it because my transformation really needs to start from the inside…out.

23 thoughts on “Walking Like a Tomboy…Thinking Like a Girl

  1. Megan you made me think today. I have always been a girly girl that was raised by a non-girly mother. Yet, she has always been a wonderful planner. I will have to think about the two and how they relate. I’m so glad you had fun with your girls this weekend. Thanks you so much for a great post!

    • Oh Kathy…I think I need to hear more about this. How did you become such a girly-girl? Do you and your mom enjoy girly things together? It is definitely more than just planning expertise.

  2. Meagan, you may be on to something that I plan to explore a little deeper myself – the fact that women spend time planning the outcome whereas men prefer to let things roll. The ‘surprise’ outcome may not please them and that doesn’t matter to them – whereas for women it can be a crushing, mood-altering disappointment!
    Thanks for making me pause to think…

  3. Hmm . . . You’ve definitely given us food for thought. Certainly, a male coach would disagree since he’s trying not to be surprised on the field. And I would guess that male hunters don’t want to be surprised by a bear. That aside, what a fun, special time with your two precious girls! Sounds like you know how to relish every moment. What a great mom!

    • Nancy…Thank you!
      I would agree that male coaches do not want to be surprised, and they spend hours planning for how they hope things will go (hunters too I suspect). I am married to one of those “planning” coaches. The difference, I think, between a choreographed piece of dance and a sporting event is the games are so much more unpredictable. Like life…something inevitably goes wrong in both arenas, but there is less surprised when the event has been rehearsed. I hope that made sense….

  4. Hey Meagan, you brought me back to my childhood today. I was a tomboy growing up and still like to think that I still have that side of me today. I do love being a girl and all that comes with it, but I tend to switch on and off my “boyness” and ‘girlness” due to situations I find myself in. I guess is the way adapt. So good you can enjoy girl time with your girls. I on the other hand, spend alot of boy times with my boys. 🙂

    • We are absolutely given the roles we are meant to have. I always thought I would be a great mom for boys, but I can hardly imagine life without my girls. Crazy how those stories are written around us and in our control all at the same time. MMF

  5. Meagan, what a thought provoking post! It’s incredible how we seem to disregard many details in life that when scrutinized and pondered, seem to shed new light in the way we view things. The part that most resonates with me is when you mention that women plan things and men just let them roll. I couldn’t agree more. Or at least, that’s been my experience until now. Do you believe society conditions us to be this way or is this something that’s been programmed in our genetic code? 🙂 I’ve always been a “girly girl,” with the exception of my rebel years at the age of 13 when I took up skateboarding and refused to comb my hair. Needless to say, the skateboarding resulted in a broken ankle and my mom nearly ended up cutting my hair in a pixie style, that’s how tangled it was. I think that was a turning point in my tomboy ways and I’ve never looked back. Now and forever, give me lace, tulle and things in the color pink. 🙂

  6. Sounds like you had a great girly-girl weekend! (And what an adorable photo!) I think you hit the nail on the head with your take on the difference between men and women.

    Happy mother’s day!:)

  7. I was never a girly girl, but I also never fit the tomboy persona either. I love spontaneous events, but find myself being the planner (because someone has to 🙂 ).

    I enjoy a good hockey game, but love to knit and drink tea.

    Maybe that has something to do with having two older brothers to look up to, and receive hand me downs from. Or the fact that I have a house full of testosterone (even the cats and dog are boys).

    Whatever the case, I think wherever you are comfortable, even if its in what others define as tomboy ways, is the right place to be.

    Your post made my brain work after 9 pm. 🙂

  8. I’m interested in your thought about female events being planned versus male events requiring little to no planning. Do you think that maybe it’s because women enjoy the planning portion almost as much as the event?

  9. Meagan, I had a tomboy (insert old haggard housewife) transformation of my own. I decided that I wanted my outside to be another expression of my inside – just like my writing, my singing and all the other things I love. With that decision – my transformation became empowering instead of an attempt to keep up with some superficial sterotypical standard of beauty. I am actually happy when I look in the mirror and periodically I love getting all dolled up. But it is my version of being dolled up.

    However – do NOT ask me to plan or participate in the planning of a tea, a pageant or any “girl related” program of any kind. Including weddings. I HATE it. I am the one who says – “Why do we have to plan every little thing?” Just send out invites and order some pizza. It goes to show you that labels like “girly” and “tomboy” in the end don’t mean much.

    • Sometimes I wish we didn’t have to use words to describe anything. They never do an adequate job! Thanks for your input CJ…it is thought-provoking, as always! MMF

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