To be completely honest, my mother did her best to carve a lady out of this block of marble. I’m talking etiquette school in the city kind of lady. It stuck for quite a while but it wasn’t easy to find the happy medium between me and the lady she wanted me to be. In fact I’ve never become who she wanted me to be. Amazingly enough, I’m pretty OK with that. I like sports. So sue me.
Growing up, our life required the females in my family to be perfect ladies. (Let’s just say we met lots of important AND lots of well known people rather often.) We had to rock a dress, eat gracefully, carry on intelligent conversation with people who specialized in… military operations, the stock market, big business, owned sports teams and more. (no, I’ve never met Trump) You name the business, I probably met some bigwig in it though.
The etiquette school taught me how to eat certain foods, what utensils to use, how to be a good hostess, what to wear, how to talk, how to address anyone from the President of the United States to royalty, how to walk, how to sit at a table, where people sit at a dinner party based on importance, how to introduce any number of prestigious people to another, how to walk down steps property, how to ride an escalator like a lady, and how to gracefully wait for an elevator. And yes, we did learn to walk with books on our heads. If you’re imagining the montages from Princess Diaries about making a princess, you’re not far off.
Now this all gives you an image of childhood me that sounds fantastic and very privileged upper class. But next please imagine the me in regular life outside my Dad’s job. The me who read all the time, sketched, and poured over history books, who loved baseball and college football. Who had more boy friends than girl friends, who had a paper route and hung out with the neighborhood kids. Who relaxed in jeans and a Tshirt, who didn’t shop latest trends or even in name brand stores. I was heavier and had no idea that there were actually stores that made clothes for my body type. I was more comfortable in a barn, mucking stalls in dirty jeans and a baseball cap than at a fancy black tie event on a Friday night. This was my double life from the age of 7 to… well really now. I wasn’t a tomboyish girl, but I was much rougher around the edges when I could be. When I let my hair down I wasn’t afraid to get dirty or work hard or be much less feminine. I didn’t have dolls, or girly things. I had adventure books, coloring, and puzzles.
The only thing that made me a lady was my dad’s job and it’s perks. I could shift into that arena easily with a lovely smile and intelligent conversation and nice clothes, thanks to etiquette school. I could shift right out of that once I got home. It was that easy.
NOW! I’ve liked sports more than anyone I’ve ever dated and anyone who’s ever liked me. In fact all of my current guy friends aren’t fans of any kind of sport, in fact they mock me for it. I’m not even close to a superfan like most men can be. I can’t tell you the name of the Heisman trophy winner of 2017, nor can I tell you who the coach is of any basketball or football team- college or pro. I just happen to enjoy following them in their respective seasons, I’m not a buff, until Indians baseball comes to the table. I’m a fan of baseball and college football equally. Plus, it’s the midwest, sports and corn are all we have.
That being said, it’s a funny pocket of life. Now in my 20’s I’m comfortable and confident in both a sports bar with retired veterans, watching the big game AND at an inaugural ball with the Governor’s wife and cabinet members.
I’ve decided against hiding that part of me, I’d rather consider myself a catch because of it.
It wasn’t always sunshine and daisies when it came to me liking sports though.
In highschool I joined in on a conversation with several boys about football and when I intelligently added to the discussion they looked at me like I was being rude and actually disbanded their group and walked away. I shrugged it off and went on with my life because I didn’t have time to care about foolishness like that. (Those same boys went on to be total assholes later, more on that in another post.)
In that same school year I overheard a girl gossiping about me saying I just liked sports because I wanted to date someone in our class. I can still feel the cackling laughter rising up in me. These kids had no idea what my life was like before I joined their place of education, they had no idea I’d already spoken with Army Generals (Who had listened intently to what I had to say!) and shook the hand of President Bush. (nicest guy ever, btw)
It made me wonder what everyone else in school thought of me. I could hold my own with adults in any setting, but teens? Did they all see me as a phony who tried too hard?
It may have been senior year in high school when I decided not to care what these kids thought about me. They didn’t know me, they never took the time to learn about me, that made their opinion invalid. They didn’t deserve to have an opinion about me.
I’ve accepted that I’m a little less than feminine and I’m ok with that about me. I like being adaptable to several social audiences. It’s time we respected women for it rather than tearing them down for being a joiner or too eager. Most of the time it’s not something fake, it’s an ability to enjoy opposite things. There’s a beauty to humanity when we can appreciate and embrace those things in others.
My point here is, I’ve had amazing experiences and can relate to a lot more than some may imagine. This only scratches the surface. I don’t like being written off as just a girl who likes sports for a guy’s sake nor do I like people assuming I’m not feminine. Because I am. I’m a lady and I expect to be treated like one. I’m not masculine. I’m laid back and easy going.
I’m a lady who likes sports. Act like that’s ok.
The Mild Millennial