I interrupt regular programming to remind readers that I am doing frocktober this month! This means I am wearing a dress every day to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research. There is no early detection test, and researchers are trying to fix that. My goal is to raise $1500 this month. My generous donors have contributed $143 so far, so I have only $1357 to go! Please follow this link to be a part of the campaign.
Onto the blog post:
I am going to try to keep the cheesy factor on the minimum, but no promises!
I didn’t expect getting together with the man of my dreams to be so stressful. A few weeks ago on a Saturday, I went on a 12-hour date (personal record) with him and after that it was so on. Even though I desperately wanted to see him the next day, I waited until the evening, when we went to church together. I spent the whole Sunday having zero expectations of myself. I didn’t try to achieve anything. I just relaxed as much as I could, and let my subconscious process this momentous change.
Change! It’s so weird. I have to take another human being into account when making plans. A few days after the 12-hour Date, I was hanging out with the Pilot (one and the same man of my dreams) and he said he was thinking about getting his brother to come over and chop down some trees in the backyard with him on Saturday. I wondered why he was telling me this. Because I don’t have a strong brain à mouth filter, I said something along the lines of, “Yeah, so?”
“Well, I was just wondering if you required me on Saturday.”
Weirder than the moment when he asked if I required his company, was the moment, shortly thereafter, when I realised that I actually did require his company. “Oh yeah, we’re having a Grand Final Day party, and the Lawyer specifically asked me to invite you. Maybe you can chop down trees on the public holiday on Monday?”
“I don’t want to spend the public holiday doing what I do during the week. Then it’s not like a holiday.”
The Pilot is actually currently working as a gardener. But the moniker stays because on the inside, he is really a pilot. He bleeds pilot. (What a weird mental image I just gave myself.)
“Well would it take the whole day to chop down trees? The game doesn’t start until 2:30. Why don’t you spend the morning chopping down trees and come over in the afternoon?”
“Okay, that sounds good.”
I felt a profound sense of accomplishment at the close of the conversation. Is this what they call compromise? I wondered. Is this what people do when they take another person into account? It seemed like he had already read the manual on making plans and somehow I had missed that week’s reading.
The changes have not all been external. I have been undergone a process of change in my personal grooming, which I have been regarding with a mixture of curiosity, mild disgust, and existential angst.
It started when I decided to grow my hair long. Okay, fair enough. Easy to achieve because I hate and despise visiting the hairdresser (unless I combine it with catching up with my friend who is a hairdresser, but she is currently working hard on growing a baby, rather than cutting hair). What happened next? I started wearing dresses heaps more. This was before I was doing Frocktober. Then one day I was hanging out in the kitchen with my housemates, and I asked the Lawyer if I could use some of her nail polish. They both fell over in shock. I wasn’t far off the ground myself.
I painted my toenails a nice dark pink that went well with my sandals. I felt pretty.
All of this was fine, though, until one night I was lying in the bath trying to decide whether I could be bothered shaving my legs for the first time in about two months. I texted the Pilot asking him if he preferred shaved legs, and after some dithering he admitted that he did. So I shaved my legs.
Cue existential crisis: OH MY GOODNESS I JUST SHAVED MY LEGS FOR A MAN.
The thing was, no-one understood my existential crisis. “How can I call myself a feminist?” I asked, and people said things like “I’m a feminist and I shave my legs” which is not the point I was making, and “Being a feminist has nothing to do with shaving your legs” which I admitted to having some truth. The Pilot himself was at pains to point out that he would never ask me to do that. And yes, he has never even mentioned my hairy legs. The fact that I knew he would never have asked me to shave my legs made me want to do it more, once I knew that it was his preference.
I don’t think the Pilot has particularly noticed this feminine transformation I’ve been slowly going through*, apart from my over-the-top reactions to my own behaviour, which are hard to ignore. He certainly doesn’t seem to understand why it’s because of him that I’m doing these things to myself. I don’t understand it that well myself; I only know that it is so.
I guess it’s because I gave up caring about the male panopticon a long time ago, at least to a certain extent. I like to look nice, but I’m not interested in impressing every single male who might see me when I’m out and about. I used to get this frustrated feeling when I did something like shave my legs or wear makeup, because it’s so much effort, I don’t enjoy the process, and it doesn’t improve my life noticeably. But having one person to impress makes a difference. Again, paradoxically, the fact that even if I didn’t try at all he would probably still look at me like I’m a supermodel makes me want to try way harder than normal. I don’t think that compromises me.
*Upon reading a draft of this post, he told me that he has actually noticed.