Friday, February 19, 2010

#33 If I Were a Boy

February 19, 2010

If I Were a Boy

Last week’s The Ride was skipped purely due to the fact that I had not much to write about. I figure there is no point boring you guys with some contrived article or topic that I am attempting to make interesting. However, this week is different. This week I am once again in California and in a mere 4 and a half days, am attempting to find a place to live and start building a foundation for a new life here. It got me think yesterday how different things would be if I were a boy.
I was thinking how often my directness is misunderstood for brashness and how my confidence is misunderstood for arrogance. People are always trying to find my ‘soft side’ and are convinced that I must be nicer and more empathetic than I really am, unwilling to accept the fact that as a girl I could be anything less. But then I was thinking that if I were a boy, everything about me that seems a bit off right now would become crystal clear. My love of fast cars would not seem masculine or butch, but completely and utterly normal. When I say out loud that I want to buy a Ferrari 599 for my 40th birthday, those quick slightly disapproving glances would be no longer. The fact that I get along with guys so much more than with girls would not make me a “guy’s girl” or a tomboy. It would never seem strange that I am able to discuss the weekend football at the office. My ambition would never come into question and there would not be the never ending and no winning debate of children or career. Men have both quite easily and always have.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I would not trade my bits for their bits any day of the week. Most of the time, I am more than happy being the fairer sex. But, I would be lying if I said it was all the time. There are times when I think it would be easier to be a boy. Not in a transsexual way, but more in an envious way. We still live with so many old fashioned values. I have a number of guys friends who are about to be 30 and some well into their 30’s who are single. Does anyone look at them with pity and wonder why they haven’t married and “what is wrong with them?” No. In fact, it’s the opposite. Their bachelorhood is celebrated and their stock goes up as they ‘focus on their career.’ How about my girlfriends who are in the same group? Of course people wonder why they are not married! They are labeled as too ‘career focused’ and that then becomes the very reason for their singlehood. Their stock doesn’t rise as they pay packet rises. They don’t become more attractive as their job title becomes more senior. It’s the exact opposite of what happens to the boys and it sucks.
So what am I trying to say? That I am bitter about being born a girl? Well that might have been the case had I been born in China (where they probably would’ve killed me) or in Japan (where first born sons are so clearly favored). But luckily for me, I was born in the States, where it’s probably the best place in the world to be a self-professed ‘guy’s girl.’ Growing up I could body surf with the boys, play sports with them and hang out with them without ever feeling that I was that weird. But as we get older, what happens to us tomboys who don’t ever stop being a tomboy?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

No Ring, No Bring

No Ring, No Bring

Feb. 4th, 2010

Ok, so I am beyond frustrated. I had nearly finished writing the whole of this week's The Ride on when my entire computer randomly shut down and everything was lost. So I shall try and attempt this for the second time in an hour.

It seems in the past 8 months that the entire world has gotten engaged. Now, a large majority of my friends from home and school have been married for awhile and are now having kids, but my London friends had been holding out. But in the past year that has all changed. One by one London is getting engaged. Then it seems like over Christmas and New Year it was everyone from Russell Brand to (allegedly) Kate Moss. Meanwhile, I find myself wondering if I am going to turn out like Jennifer Aniston's character in "He's Just Not That Into You" but minus the happy ending.

What really makes me wonder though... is why? Why does my generation still hold so much stock in the institution of marriage. As I near my 30th birthday and also my move date from London to CA, it's a question that is unavoidable. So are you married yet? Are you and Matt going to get married? When do you think you'll get engaged? It's just so easy to get sucked into that world of the 4 C's and some sappy engagement story and believe me, I have been sucked in hook, line and sinker.

The reason I find this topic interesting is that I would say a solid 70% of my friends and acquaintances both here and at home come from either broken homes or seriously disfuntional families in regards to marriage. So yes some parents may still be together, but living in separate wings of the house or having their bit on the side at the ski chalet does not count. You may as well be divorced and are certainly not grounds for a good marriage example. I hate to point the finger at our parents, but come on... I don't know many divorced grandparents. Our generation are only 1 generation off of when marriage was forever. Now marriage is 'til divorce do us part and is a very big gamble.

Many of us are intelligent and savvy business people. Would any of us invest everything we have into a venture in which the odds are only a 50% success rate? Somehow I doubt it. Yet the dream is still there. Sure there are some examples out there of the happily unmarried, but it's far too progressive for the majority of society. Besides, we all know Johnny Depp would marry Vanessa Paradis "in a minute" anyway. Yet my entire generation, bar a few, all see themselves getting married and having a family. Having a family, I get.. but why do we need to be married to have a family. One of the great things about living in the UK is that it's close enough to Europe to have had many forward thinking and liberal views rubbed off onto it. Many couples over here have children and are not married and no one blinks an eye. In the States, those children would still be seen as "bastards". I actually don't know anyone at home who has a child outside of marriage and I am sure it would be gossiped about if it did happen. Over here I know loads and no one gossips about it as it's nothing new.

Yet, I still want to get married and have my own family. It is because I come from a very tight family unit where we have no divorce on either side? Or is because it's what is expected of young women my age? Is it because I am still quite conservative (that Newport upbringing) and do want to get married and then have children? Is it because it's just what you do and what we all want and are taught if you don't want this then there is something wrong with you? Or is it because we are in love and want to spend the rest of our lives with this other person and love them so much that we want to have their children?

I guess only time will tell if my generation does marriage more justice than our parents. In the meantime, I am off to another engagement party.