My mom used to sing this around the house. I think a lot of girls enjoy being this kind of girl at least a little bit of the time, if not anywhere near all of the time. But it's a cute melody and didn't seem inappropriate to its time. If it's a bit much for you, write your own lyrics to it. I've always thought it seemed rather un-feminist for girls to hate being female. I do enjoy being a girl! (Working on becoming a woman, but I plan to enjoy that too.)

I'm strictly an uppity female
And my future I hope will be
In the arms of a feminist and free male
Who'll enjoy being a geek guy with a geek girl like me.

My daughter has her first full-length formal gown for Homecoming. She is gorgeous. Empire waist, spaghetti straps, pink underlay with black chiffon star print on top. Twirly... We will braid her hair up with pink star beads. We will get soft makeup jobs and do facials. And even that isn’t quite enough. Today she wants to go to thrift stores, yard sale hopping. She wants “tons of skirts”, she is “in love with dresses”. My days as a Hot Topic Mama appear to be over. She’s now a girlie girl who likes to shop at thrift stores.

Mothers love to dress up their daughters. I enjoy being a girl and having a girl like her. It is symbolic of a deeper bond. The last time I got to do this dress up thing she was 2 years old. I dressed her up more than I did myself. This will be a brief interlude I know. There will be new fashion statements and bigger tugs of separation. Our bond will be expressed in other ways but one of the best things about being a woman is having a daughter, and oh but today is fun.

I'm a momomom-in-law. She comes from a family of 4 women. I never knew her grandmother, who has passed away. They are all widely read, musical, naturally intelligent and lovely. Their house looks like "Little Women" hit by a hurricane and sent forward in time - a controlled chaos of cats, books, bric-a-brac, music and crafts in progress. The twins' upbringing was very sheltered; mass media played little part.

Our nuclear family (despite 2 out of 5 of us being female) is very male dominated. My creativity is expressed in my yard and work. My daughter's is in her art. These are quiet pursuits. Our male contingent is loud and has a love for the cutting edge in electronics as well as massive collections of "antique" computer and car gear, parts and carcasses. Our house looks like a Large-Generic-Electronics-Store-in-a-Box that is no where near ready for the public. The wiring is so complicated it goes through-walls and is still frequently duct-taped to rugs. It goes outside via wall tunnels and up to the roof. There is even an antennae farm on the roof plus wires strung out to my trees. No horizontal surface may be left uncovered. No electrical plug unfilled. Small pockets of Carla and Xie peek out from our bedrooms/bathroom and our fish/plants/cat/hobbies/gliders but we make very little dent in the overriding "Big boys and their toys" life and house theme. We enjoy having our built in geek boys and even loan them out to neighbors and friends but we miss a lighter touch, a conversation not about computers, a more decorative approach.

So now we have these 3 wonderful women in our life. It's such a bonus to have a daughter-in-law plus her twin and mom come as a package. We are neighbors (except My DIL's twin is currently going to school in Australia hence the January wedding - her summer time). We have fun together. We hike, we knit, we cook, we admire babies and we talk. I have more girls to enjoy being a girl with.

Wow, two years can really bring a lot of change. Both my sons have moved out. Major clean ups, monthly dump runs and some minor redecorating has resulted in a slightly more decorative house. Emptied bedrooms have become a hobby room and an office. Things are so quiet most days. Only three of us live at home now while the extended family grows. Bridgett married Luke in they are visiting and will renew their vows here. I like it when they are all here at once to visit...pulling out those table extensions!>

And the ending remains the same, I'm so happy to say. We are female. We like it.


Change is a human constant. As we live, we are always growing and changing in one direction or another. Often, change is gradual, so slow as to be almost imperceptible, due to an amorphous confluence of contributing factors, and we only realise it's occurred after the fact. Other times, it's rapid and fundamental. And sometimes, we can watch ourselves changing fundamentally before our own eyes.

For me recently, it has been the latter. Over the past three months, I've had front-row seats to watch my entire personality rearrange itself from the inside out. It's an utterly fascinating process, which I have only recently begun to understand completely. As I write this, I am fully aware that the process is continuing. Those who read further will find my thoughts on that process, on its causes and its nature, and on the way in which one person can have a profound and lasting effect on another without even knowing it.

I'm definitely not the same person I was just four months ago. I don't feel the same, and I'm not acting the same, either. I painted my nails twice this past week. In the past, I've painted them that many times in the course of two months. I've begun redecorating my bedroom, arranging all the pretty things that had been collecting dust in remote corners in prominent places on my overflowing bookshelves. The fragrances, the jewelry, and the various cosmetics containers, with their shapes and colours, seem to be declaring: There's a girl living here.

I've suddenly begun paying more attention to — and taking more pride in — my appearance. The morning beauty rituals of leg-shaving and makeup-applying, which I had generally viewed as tolerable drudgery in the service of presentability, have stopped being drudgery and have actually become pleasurable. I actually have fun putting on makeup in the morning ("morning" here is a term of art meaning "the time at which I get up, including, but not limited to, dusk"). Though I've always tended to beat my hair into submission, blow-dry it, and be done with it as soon as possible, now I'm actually taking care of it, and putting some work into making it more than just presentable. At night, I'm actually bothering to remove my makeup properly and put on some moisturiser before going to sleep.

On a more core level, the changes are even more significant. I'm more confident than I've ever been before. My self-image has expanded, and my whole outlook has changed. For the first time in my life, I'm actually able to express affection in a non-artificial-sounding way, and I have more psychic energy than I've had in years. In the mornings (used again as a term of art), I actually wake up happy. As I gradually regain consciousness, I am momentarily filled with a sort of giddy happiness, and one of my first thoughts is: Damn, I'm glad I'm a girl.

Others have noticed changes that I wasn't even aware of. My body language and my walk have reportedly become less clunky and choppy and more at one with my state of mind. My movements are apparently more graceful and feminine than they had been. I'm also said to have become nicer and easier to get on with. I also recently discovered that I somehow managed to lose 15 kg while eating the same large amounts of the same foods as I always do. It's the first time I've been under 100 kg in years.

Even my cat seems to have noticed the difference. She tries to spend much more time with me than she ever did before, and snuggles up next to me at every chance she gets.

Over the past two weeks, due in part to spring holidays and in part to a quadruple wisdom tooth extraction that left me unable to do much of any thing else, I have been reflecting on these changes, and have finally begun to understand them.

It all began this winter.

In November 2003, my normally lackluster dating career experienced a sudden and significant upswing. I met a girl named Liliana, an adorable, fiery, sweet, affectionate, funny 150 cm half-Cuban, half-Colombian soft-butch who was working for the moribund Ben Chandler gubernatorial campaign in Kentucky. He'd already lost the election (to a man who was on TV about a hundred times more often than he was, but whose last name I nevertheless have never been able to remember) when we met in November, and she was soon to return to her native New Jersey. Before she left, she did want to get to see Cincinnati, and so we decided to make an evening of it. After a delicious dinner with an excellent Chilean red wine, a movie (Love, actually), and a game of pool, she was going to drop me off at home. The weather, however, had other plans. It was raining so hard that we couldn't even see through the windscreen, so she asked to spend the night.

The night before her flight back to The Garden State, she paid me another visit, and again spent the night. I've never felt as good in someone else's arms as I did with her. Having her next to me in bed, I felt utterly content.

After she returned to the East Coast, we kept in touch by e-mail, IRC, and the phone. In December, she decided to spend some time in Worcester, MA with friends from Smith College, her alma mater, and invited me to come up to Massachusetts and see her. I couldn't believe it. I was going to get to see her again, spend actual time together with her. Fall asleep next to her knowing she wouldn't be leaving in the morning.

I wasn't disappointed. The week we spent together in Massachusetts will surely go down as one of the best times of my life. I met her friends, who were very nice, interesting people, and I spent plenty of quality time with Lili. Apart from coming down with a cold, I loved every moment. In bed, we made up for lost time. We spent hours holding each other, talking, kissing. While the sex was lovely, other things come to the forefront when I think of those nights. I had never experienced such profound, wonderful intimacy in my life. Though I spent a long time trying to avoid prematurely labelling it, I was falling in love.

But the root of my psychological growth spurt was not such much how I felt toward Lili as it was how Lili made me feel about myself. Though her words and her actions, she gave me confidence in aspects of myself that I'd never been particularly confident in. One evening, when we were talking online, I got up the courage to ask her the question I'd always wanted to ask girls I'd slept with: How did you like it? I was rewarded with the knowledge that she loved it. I was, in her words, "very attentive and affectionate." In addition to making me feel quite proud of myself, the question opened up the lines of communication between us on that and related subjects. Through those newly open lines of communication, I also found out that she had spent half of Love, actually trying to decide whether to put the moves on me.

The way Lili treated me, both in bed and out, combined with her answers to my questions, created the climate necessary for the change that began to take place. She made me feel pretty, feminine, and desirable for the first time in my life; never before had I had any confidence in those aspects of myself. While I've always tended to be more feminine in general, I've never had confidence in my own femininity. Because I lacked the confidence to express that aspect of myself, it basically atrophied. It occasionally showed itself a bit, but not on a regular basis. My general attitude was basically that being female was sort of like having an epiglottis: Yeah, it's there, and it's probably important somehow, but I just don't get what the big deal is. Certainly, I hadn't the faintest idea what to do with it, so I tended to keep it at arm's length.

My self-image was in a similar state. Certainly, there were always plenty of things about myself that I felt good about, plenty of positive attributes that I have always been quite proud of; however, through my conversations with Lili, I got a new perspective. She held up a mirror, and, when I looked into it, I saw someone totally different from who I normally saw. Everything I always saw in myself was there, but there were changes, new attributes: sexy and pretty girl. I'd never thought of myself as being even remotely sexy, nor was pretty girl a term I'd ever have thought of associating with myself.

This changed everything. For the first time in my life, I felt feminine, attractive, even sexy. I suddenly saw myself as pretty. This was a true paradigm shift. I no longer marginalised that whole — rather substantial — element of my personality. Femininity — even downright girliness — was no longer something to take out every once in a while and keep tightly under wraps the rest of the time. I was able not only to recognise my femininity, but to embrace it, to love it, to take great pleasure in it. Being a girl — and a pretty one, at that — was no longer a peripheral fact to be casually and fleetingly noted on occasion and then ignored the rest of the time — it began fully integrating itself into my being, subtly reworking the rest of my personality as it went.

I enjoy being a girl

We often underestimate the importance that a single person, a single relationship can have on personality development. Lili certainly found it hard to believe that knowing her had heralded such profound changes. The fact remains, however, that she did, without even being aware of it. It's come into vogue these days to discount the importance of relationships — whether romantic of platonic, personal or therapeutic — in bringing about core-level personality change. Instead, conventional wisdom has it that the better alternative is a three-month refillable supply of blue pills, which (as we are grinningly informed) "have a low risk of sexual side effects." In these days of incessant adverts hawking conveniently packaged sources of libidoless, impotent, blissfully egg-shaped mental health in a bottle, we must always remember, as I have recently learned: while it can take one person less than one minute to traumatise another for life, sometimes it's just as easy to make an equally permanent change for the better.

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