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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Taking a page out of the guys’ book

Published: November 3, 2006
Section: Opinions

Sometimes I wish I were a guy.

Has any other girl out there thought the same thing? I bet. Many times I have found myself discussing with friends how we wish we could shed some of our painfully feminine traits for our simpler male counterparts. It isnt that we want to be male, because, for the most part, being female is a good deal. But there are, as all females out there can attest to, some definite downsides to the job. Sometimes, I just want a day off from my extra X chromosome.

For most girls, the issue of appearance is huge, and one that we get really tired of keeping up with. Guys can roll straight out of bed, pull on a hoodie and head straight to class. Their looks wont suffer. The bed-head and baggy jeans approach is completely acceptable for guys, and they dont look half-bad in it. If you are actually one of the few who shower and maybe even slip on a collared shirt every now and then, points to you. But that added effort is like extra credit for a guy. If he does it, he looks like a style god. For us, it is standard procedure.

That grungy look just doesnt cut it for girls who want to be seen as attractive and put-together. While a high-maintenence guy might need some gel, our daily routines often include high voltage tools and an arsenal of products. For some, the morning routine can be a two hour affair. There are the dilemmas of hair (curly or straight?), clothes (skirt or jeans?) and make-up (eyeliner or shadow?). Most guys probably dont have a clue as to what needs to be done in order to look the way we do when we stroll into class at 11 AM. No matter how naturally pretty we may be, we do not roll out of bed like that. They dont know that, and it is our secret plan to keep it that way, which only perpetuates the cycle.

All this is partially caused by a society that calls for women to look pretty and presentable and well-groomed at all times. We are supposed to have naturally defined eyes and plump lips and sleek hair all the time, right? We never look like a rumpled, puffy mess at 9 AM. Of course not. At the same time, the pressure also comes from inside. Females are notorious over-thinkers, over-worriers and over-reactors.

We are going to worry that, if our hair is a little frizzy or our jeans are too baggy, everyone is going to notice. And not only are they going to notice, they are going to care deeply. Guys dont seem to hold these silly notions. They just dont care. So when I say that sometimes Id like to be a guy, it isnt that I want to walk around in pants that hang halfway down my behind or not shower for three days or consider turning my underwear inside out a washing. I just would like to care a little less. It would be nice to throw on the first thing I touch in my closet and walk out the door without checking the mirror or worrying that I didnt put on lip gloss. Lots of guys would say to this, Ok, so stop caring so much. But girls will know that it is so much easier said than done. We are self-monitors, and that is a trait that can be difficult to get rid of. I know that the way I look is always going to be important to me, and there isnt anything wrong with that. But Id like to learn to take a few lessons from the guys.

A while ago, I spent a great night with my boyfriend. We didnt get all dressed up to go out to dinner. I didnt straighten my hair or put on a push-up bra. Instead, I wore sweats and we sat in his dorm room eating Cappys pizza straight out of the box while watching UFC (the Ultimate Fighting Championship). I didnt think to look in the mirror once. And you know what? Ill bet my boyfriend thought I looked just fine. Elastic waists, greasy food and men fighting. Simple, and perhaps a touch caveman-esque. But man did it feel good. Or should I say woman?