Lots of people are changing gender these days. And I’m sympathetic with the notion of being born in the wrong body. But it got me thinking. Would I rather be a guy? How would it feel ambling through life with better pay, more corporate and political clout, not to mention a bigger, stronger body? Would I chuck being female for these perks? The answer is surprisingly no, for these 7 reasons…
Clothes and make-up – I feel sorry for men in their staid navy or gray suits. We women are allowed to be the colorful birds of society. I still find it fun to pick out a pretty outfit and put on lipstick. Okay, high heels throw out my back more, but they’re still a kick once in a while. I figure, if you’re housed in a female body, you might as well enjoy the goodies.
Carrying a baby – Not to be confused with delivering a baby. Instead I’m talking about having a fetus grow inside your body. Some of my most profound moments were feeling my sons move while pregnant. My husband Randy could only glide his hand over my undulating stomach. For me, those times were sacred, one of the great trade-offs to bumping my head against the glass ceiling.
Raising that baby – It’s amazing when you look at that infant 25 years later and he has a full beard and is drinking whiskey on the rocks. Or seeing your second baby making poached salmon in the kitchen. It’s cool to look at these people and think, yup, I helped make them. And although fathers are as essential as the sun, there’s something raw and primal about that claim of motherhood.
Men – I like men. Men are sexy, funny and smart. I like being feminine to their masculine, yin to their yang. And though I’ve been married 35 years I still get a kick when a man gives a warm smile while holding the door. I still pull in my stomach when walking past a construction site. I still perk up when that cute electrician comes over. I like the heat between the sexes. Would I trade that to become a man? Nope.
Female friends — In my twenties, girlfriends and I laughed our way through boring corporate jobs. In our thirties we commiserated over diaper bags and sippy cups. During the forties, we bucked each other up about teenagers learning to drive and overdue college essays. Now those kids are grown. And I need my girlfriends more than ever. I love the emotional range of women. We weep. We laugh. We talk. We debate. We shake our heads at life. We kvetch and lament and rant… sometimes all in a two-hour lunch.
We’re allowed to be vulnerable – One time a friend was driving my husband and me on a highway. Randy was in the front passenger seat. I was in the back. Our friend was weaving too fast, tailgating too close. I watched Randy sit rigid in the front. I could tell he was nervous, who wouldn’t be? But instead of telling his friend to slow down, he just gave a nervous chuckle here and there.
That’s when I understood being a man. You’re not allowed to show fear. I on the other hand had no problem shouting from the back, “Will you slow down? You’re scaring me.” Our friend drove more carefully. Randy looked calmer. “Yeah, slow down for her,” he said. I heard the relief in his voice.
There’s beauty in being a woman – Most women are gentle and kind. We’re compassionate and sensitive. We think with our hearts. We’re non-violent. There’s a saying that women civilize men. Maybe there’s something to that. I see how my sons act when they’re with just males. I hear the gross jokes and crude body sounds. Then a few girls pop over. Suddenly they’re all David Niven –wittier, politer, more polished human beings.
There are people who would even argue women are more enlightened, higher on the soul evolutionary track than men. But that’s a different blog post. And I can feel my husband rolling his eyes now.
No, even though I’d like the perks and privileges of maleness, I wouldn’t be a man. Being a man looks hard and I give credit to people tough enough to endure life in a male body.
Thanks but no thanks. I’ll stay a woman.
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