Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Women Are Sisters Under the Skin

About a score of years ago, a businesswoman was much talked about in the area. Y'see, her first career had been as an exotic dancer. A really successful one. With a boa constricter. That was rumored to be rather ill-tempered and bit her twice.
She was built the way a successful exotic dancer should be built, and she could walk in 3-inch stiletto heels the way most women can walk in athletic shoes. Her clothing showcased her assets and she always smelled really good with plenty of perfume.

Her second career was a bit of a surprise. She bought a bail bond company and apparently ran it really well. She made quite a lot of money. She became active in local politics and could be counted on to provide some really nice Republican fund-raisers. She continued her customary dress, perfume and stiletto heels.

Back in the day, a male friend of mine attended one of the fundraisers and was telling me about it. He had actually gotten to talk to her for a few minutes.
He had that air you see in a man who is trying to respect the personhood of a woman while at the same time trying to keep his tongue in his mouth and the drool off his chin.

"She told me," he said in a voice a little hushed,"that she dresses to please herself."

Did I mention? She also wore a LOT of makeup.

I beamed. "She and I have a lot in common!" I said.

To his credit, he didn't say, "huh?" He said, "How do you mean?" His eye casually glanced at my small bust, short waist, and over-generous hips garbed in flat-heeled sandals, an A-line khaki skirt and colorful cotton sports style pullover. I think by then I had quit wearing mascara because it iritated my contacts, and my general scent was French-milled soap, which I used to bathe every day.

I smiled again. "We both dress to please ourselves."

Best I can remember, he started talking about something else. But you know, I would loved to have talked to her, because we DID have that in common. And I bet we could have gotten along really well. It's an important trait. You kinda have to be your own person to get there. And boy, was she her own person. I really admired that.

He and I both had legitimate reactions. They were gender-oriented. Men really do go on alert with a really Hawt Woman in the room. And to learn that she dresses so as a natural woman rather than to provoke the troops must be--well, I would guess a turn-on. And women really do communicate and even bond over commanlities men sometimes find puzzling.

The older I get, the more comfortable I am in the society of women. I was always a feminist, from the time I was a child. (I remember being nine and my father taking my elbow to cross the street. I balked. "Why are you doing that?" I asked. I guess I had never noticed his doing the same for my mother. He said, "A gentleman always takes a lady's arm to cross the street." Well, in his lifetime, it may even have been a practical courtesy--dirt streets, horse apples and all. But I jerked my arm out of my father's grasp and stated flatly, "then I'm no lady." And I stomped across the street on my own.) But I wanted to make my parents happy, so there's a ton of societal rules and practices I did learn and adhere to a great deal of the time. It was just easier.

And, as I age, a lot of those practices make sense. "Please" and "thank you" are two of the best. For all genders.

Hmm. When I was a reporter, I don't remember ever being intimidated by either the power or the glamor of any man or woman I interviewed. I was looking for what was interesting about them so I could write it. And they responded. We all admire the good taste of someone who thinks we are interesting.

Only once did I face any sexual behavior in a man. It was, of all things, at a state Veterinary Association meeting, and I was arranging with the state president to interview one of the speakers. He was about 30 years older than I, and as I walked past him, he patted my rump. I didn't think. I swung around, my hand coming up to slap his face. My brain kicked in, to wit, "This guy is a close friend of the gazillionaire publisher." My hand stopped three inches from his face. He stared at me. I stared at him. I dropped my arm. Neither of us said a word. And he was completely courteous from then on. I have to wonder how that would have played with the bail bondswoman.

I still dress to please myself. More than ever.

No comments: