One of the Girls?

on July 21, 2011

I’ve always maintained there was some class in kindergarten that I missed – some absent day where all the girls were taught how to dot their i’s with tiny hearts, how to gossip correctly, and how to fold notes into origami shapes that were so complicated they could, in a pinch, probably double as sport utility vehicles. It only got worse as I progressed through school, an earnest, loving girl but not a terribly feminine one, except for my long hair. I preferred to tromp through the woods with Billy rather than stay at home playing dolls with Liz, and no one said boo to me. In laymen’s terms, I was a tomboy.

My one foray into femininity came one stubborn 4th grade summer when I refused to wear anything but sundresses, but it was most assuredly a phase. I watched my mom apply her makeup out of kits large enough to dwarf the aforementioned SUVs, and splash on jean nate. I liked the idea of it all, but putting any makeup on made me rub and brush my face until it came off in my palms. It literally felt like a physical weight on my face until I managed to get it off.  I actually suspect my longtime struggle with trichotillomania began when I’d pull out my eyelashes the few times I tried to wear mascara.

In high school, I wore button up shirts and tweed jackets, slacks and ties, entire thrift store outfits that did little to hide my chest, which was even massive back then. I loved my body, but I felt awkward in it, like a sweater that was too tight in the elbows.  I eventually settled into a very comfortable routine of jeans and t-shirts, which became my uniform to this day. Jeans feel good, won’t hold me up if I have to run from ninjas, and have pockets for storing things. That’s essentially my checklist for what good clothing should be – comfy, ninja-repellent, and imbued with some sort of storage.

Today, I got a box in the mail from a makeup store. I had ordered this box with things I thought I should have, including some sort of cheek tint glow, eyeshadow, and creams that would penetrate my face (har!) and give my cell walls SPF’d shiatsu massage.  I spread the contents of the box out on the bed and eyed the jeweltoned tubes and boxes with a healthy dose of skepticism. I tried some sort of mineral makeup and saw no difference. I smeared charcoal-hued shadow across my eyelid in an attempt to re-create sultry and looked more like a prizefighter after a losing bout. I smooshed hot-pink tint with provocative names into the apples of my cheeks and looked like a doll brought to life – not Barbie, mind, but her cousin Bambi from the dollar store that the rest of the Mattel family didn’t like to talk about at family functions. I was not good at this.

I sighed, smudged things around with my fingertips, and tromped into the other room to get an opinion from ToySir. I presented myself with a flourish and waited patiently while he complimented me on “new shirt”, which I’d been wearing all day. He didn’t notice the makeup, and even when I pointed it out, and his pleased reaction to me being nearby didn’t change at all. I snagged my new facial cleansers and went into the bathroom to wash off what already felt like ten pounds of makeup, even though it was barely any.

I’m happy with myself, my partner is head over heels for me even with bedhead and dragon breath, and I’m old enough now that I really don’t give a shit about being seen as unfashionable or less than feminine. Still, though, I feel like there’s some secret world in makeup that’s been kept from me. I want to understand the secret joys of $32 lipstick and perfume that costs more than three days’ pay, but I struggle to understand. Shoes elude me, to the end of owning only three pairs. I’ve been carrying the same khaki-colored purse for a year now. I revel in my wide-hipped fertile beauty, but I feel decidedly more Athena than Aphrodite these days and I wish I could find a happy medium.

Maybe I’ll give the shadow another try, after all.

2 responses to “One of the Girls?

  1. I can relate to this even though a lot of people see me as the girlest of girls. The thing is all through my 20s I had two modes – daily (yoga pants, tshirt, pony tail) and showtime (make up done for me by someone else, hair done for me by someone else, corset, garters, skirt, fussy hat, etc, etc). Figuring out an actual day look was hard.

    Here is my daily makeup regime (it can be done in like five minutes total, I swear!):

    Clear mascara (Bonne Bell – drug store) – put on eyebrows and lashes too if you’re feeling crazy!

    stila lipgloss (usually so expensive but you can get 3 for $12 at stila *and* they’re labeled for cool skin tone or warm skin tone – I’m a warm) (

    Cheek stain – start about an inch from the bottom of your nose on each cheek and pull the stick upward to your eyeball and stop about an inch below it. Rub the stain in downward.

    Eyeshadow – Get in “bone” or “silk” ( Feel where the bone is for the top of your eyesocket on your eyelid and use an eyeshadow brush to apply it up to the eyesocket bone.

    This will produce a subtle fresh from the spa look.


    You may be wearing the wrong size bra. Try a few on in “sister” sizes at Lane Bryant and a few different sizes and see how it looks with your top on. Getting the right size and shape has been life changing. If you want comfy but sexy panties, I cannot recommend these enough (


    If you don’t already, you need to try on everything before you buy it. What looks good on the hanger, may not look good on you. I find Lane Bryant to be expensive and limiting. I like: Kohls, Old Navy, NY & Company and Target for my fatishionista needs. I love wearing skirts and dresses but I don’t like thigh chub rub. I find these to be awesome and comfy to wear during the summer time:|1287991011&searchSize=150&searchPage=1&searchNodeID=1038576|1287991011&searchBinNameList=subjectbin%2Cprice%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Ctarget_com_size-bin%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&frombrowse=0
    I wear black cotton leggings during colder months under skirts and dresses.

    Ballet flats are cute and girly and at the same time super practical.

    Many girly tops require a cami top underneath because otherwise we look like porn stars. Many cami tops are too low cut. This is an awesome cami that’s just the right cut on top and a long length in case a top or a sweater is a little too short:

    Kohls and NY & Co. tend to be good for jewelry. Target and Kohls tend to be good for shoes.

    I find it hard to find cute pjs that are practical to lounge in but are still sexy. I found tank tops like this:|1287991011&searchSize=150&searchPage=1&searchNodeID=1038576|1287991011&searchBinNameList=subjectbin%2Cprice%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Ctarget_com_size-bin%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&frombrowse=0

    and girl boxer shorts like this:|1287991011&searchView=grid5&searchSize=150&keywords=gilligan%20o%27malley%20pajama&searchPage=1&searchNodeID=1038576|1287991011&sr=1-61&searchRank=target104545&frombrowse=0&qid=1311276648

    to do the trick.

    If you want to try skinny jeans, I recommend Old Navy’s Flirt, they’re stretchy and not low rise:

    J. Crew outlet stores have really good tshirts and hair accessories.

    Torrid is good for going out/convention/bar clothes and fun accessories. They’re also super good for not expensive purses (compared to like coach or juicy):

    If you have trouble keeping a manicure, I can’t recommend Sally Hansen Nail Effects enough (drug store) ( They’re dry, they last for about a week and super easy to use.

    If you’re looking for super sexxxy but affordable lingerie for fatishionistas, I recommend Hips and Curves (

    I have now shared with you all of my fatishionista skillz I have spent the last two years learning in this lengthy piece of completely unsolicited advice! Let me know if you use any of it 🙂

  2. Epiphora says:

    I am SO WITH YOU ON THIS in so many ways.

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