Growing up I was always a tom-boy. I idolized my big brother, collected baseball cards, rode BMX bikes (or tried to), climbed trees, and generally just ran around and played in the dirt. My mom never tried to make me into a girly-girl, either. I suppose that’s one very big thank you I can say to her. Thank you, Mom, for not making me try to be other than my dirt-playing, tree-climbing self.
So in my 20′s when boys became a little more important, and I realized that being “one of the guys” usually meant I wasn’t going to be dating any, it became more important to me to try and find a feminine side. It was difficult for me because I didn’t feel like I necessarily had much in common with most women who weren’t also “one of the guys,” who played in the dirt with me and climbed rocks with me. That’s what I knew to do and how to relate to people.
But as my 20′s rolled on and it became increasingly more important to me to find my more feminine side, I worked on the concept of The Princess.
Around that same time, though, my bff Dick (no, really, his name IS Dick—short for Richard) and I used to have loooooooong and involved conversations about the nature of men and women. Why we are the way we are, how we think, why it’s impossible for us to really relate to each other, and why we constantly also want to be together (assuming you’re of the hetero persuasion). We would talk on the phone for hours, also relating our latest dating foibles and frustrations.
One idea that he presented to me was, Men like the damsel in distress—you need to be the Princess that he needs to rescue. WHAT?!?!!? Did you say to me? I need to be a what?! I’m sorry, but Princesses don’t get their shoes dirty. Heck, they don’t even have the hiking boots / climbing shoes / ski boots to get dirty.
Take 2. Don’t think of it as the weak, needing-to-be-rescued type. But that’s what you just *said*. Think of it as the one he vies to win. We’re not getting any better here, Dude. I am not a “trophy”, nor a “prize”. I am not property.
Again, stubbornly. It’s not about you! It’s about the guy! Ooooooohhhhhhhhh. Yeah……I think I get that. It’s like Shrek, not Rapunzel? I can be a big, green, kicks-ass, takes-names kind of Ogre Princess. First saved from the dragon, but then saves the hero from thieves. I think……I’m cool with that?
Sort of. Be the Princess that’s worth rescuing, worth a man proving himself worthy of you. ”Be all that and a bag of chips?” Oooo, now you’re just appealing to my man-sized ego.
But as my 20′s rolled on and it became increasingly more important to me to find my more feminine side, I worked on the concept of The Princess. I started to understand what Dick meant. I could work not only on becoming a better climber/sailor/cyclist, but also a more gentle person when I wasn’t on hard rock, more softer-spoken when not shouting over rough seas, and more still in a conversation when I wasn’t riding 30 miles an hour down a hill. His concept of The Princess became the way I viewed the other half of life. The woman who liked to get dressed up in foul weather gear for sailing was the same woman who liked to get dressed up in red patent leather heels for a dinner date. The Princess was simply one way to express the femininity that already existed inside me—mine was simply a mean, green fighting machine as well.