Sunday, June 6, 2010

Traditional Gender Roles Are For Quitters

thisI've always been something of a tomboy. When I was a kid my favourite hobby was bush-bashing, in its most non-innuendo sense. I learned how to abseil in the bush behind my grandparents' house before I was old enough to watch M-rated movies at the cinema.

As for other hobbies, I was originally enrolled in the local ballet school but after a few years of utterly and vocally hating it, I was switched to the local swim team. Eventually, I ended up in water polo, a sport I enjoyed a whole lot more. Our team was even sponsored by the local steel works, it was that macho. My personal motto was 'It's not whether you win or lose, it's how badly you injure the opposition'. Words I still live by to this day.

I remember in primary school when I tried to follow social convention and be friends with girls. I remember trying to pretend that I would rather watch some bullshit about Disney princesses than the latest episode of Pokemon. The most valuable social tool I figured out for myself was when I realised that if I accidentally caught myself singing the Pokemon theme, I could switch to 'Part of Your World' from the Little Mermaid halfway through and no-one would notice. Seriously, sing the first line from each, they're exactly the same.

Needless to say, in my teen years I became friends with a lot more boys than girls. I had a big group of friends and for conversational purposes we would often split off into sub-groups. Around year 10 I noticed that these sub-groups usually consisted of girls on one side, and then boys + me on the other side. Every now and then I would feel a bit disloyal to my gender and try to join in their conversation, but after about three minutes of talking about tv shows that I found about as entertaining as watching a turd dry in the sun (see my current poll for more details) and gossiping about who was asking who to the formal, I found myself smiling, nodding and wandering back to the boys so I could outline why I thought Steven Bradbury should be our national sporting mascot. For the record, it's because nothing embodies the Australian spirit more than cruising casually into the gold medal position after everybody else stacks it at the last minute.

Don't get me wrong, some of the best friends I've ever had have been girls. But in general, I just plain old get along better with boys. Spitting, swearing and belching are three of my favourite activities. I remember being out in the courtyard when Vegatrain pointed out that a certain tree needed watering. My sole response was to spit on said tree, which he followed by filling a glass of water and then throwing the glass itself at the tree's trunk (for the record, the tree is doing just fine now). I also quite enjoy being able to drunkenly make out with my mates, then never mention it again apart from to say 'Hey, remember that time we totally macked?' and then high five.

I know I'm not a proper girl. When girls are upset, they are supposed to watch romantic comedies with a box of tissues and probably some ice-cream on hand. I know this from the films. Personally, if I'm upset, there's only one movie I will watch and that's Die Hard. What would cheer you up more? Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman and a whole lot of explosives, or Hugh Grant weeping for two hours? I know which direction the scales are tipping for me.

Needless to say, a lot of people have thought that I was a lesbian over the years. I remember conversations with my mother where she appeared to be encouraging me to 'come out'. I think it may have been wishful thinking on her part, due to her complete and total paranoia that I would one day come home knocked up.

These days I get mistaken for a lesbian a lot, although it's mostly due to the fact that I have a boyfriend who is mistaken for a girl so often he doesn't even react to it anymore. When I first moved into the sharehouse known to all as the 'Dude Ranch' there was some discussion of whether it could keep that name with a vagina under the roof. In response, all I needed to do was point at Vegatrain, who was probably talking about how much he loves Charmed (but only the parts with Julian McMahon, on account of dreaminess).

I am well aware that my boyfriend is a total and utter girl. If there is so much as evidence that a spider has been near his desk, I am called in for the kill. Or if it has since disappeared, it is my job to find and destroy it on the chance that it might come back. I am sure that I'm one of the few heterosexual girlfriends in the world to utter the phrase 'Sweetie, do you want to keep these ticket stubs for your memories folder?'.* When we go out, he's always the one who takes ages to fix his hair and decide which pair of bright pink fisherman's pants he's going to wear that day. I have often said that dating him is the closest thing you can get to lesbianism while still having regular access to a cock. The reverse is probably true about me.

And, realistically, what more could you want in a relationship?

-Smackie Onassis

*On a related note, I feel that I might be in the minority of girls to have said to their boyfriends: 'Clearly, you have not seen Star Wars enough times.'

EDIT: On reading this entry, Vegatrain turned to me and pouted, saying '...but I only have ONE pair of bright pink fisherman's pants.' I think that in itself says enough.