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I fail at girl

I come from a long line of Southern belles. Women who have the astonishing ability to look good encoded in their genes. They are apex predators at accessorizing. They look like they stepped out of a bandbox.

One of my favorite pictures of my Aunt N. was taken in the 20’s. She was young, newly married, and heavily pregnant. You didn’t show a woman enceinte. It simply wasn’t done. But some camera happy member of my family had a brownie and by god, he was going to use it.

Aunt N. was stepping out of their Cadillac and, with the keen sense of gazelle, knew that a photograph was about to happen. To watch the women in my family at events is like watching Mutual of Omaha. They move in herds. Placid. Gracefully moving across their range. The minute they sense a camera, there is this kabuki movement as their bodies flow into the side turn, hip tilt, foot forward, chin up, nose down.

Aunt N. threw the car open to conceal her belly and leaned on the car window, with a winsome smile. The ladies in my family are ridiculously photogenic. We are renowned for the beauties in our family and have had ladies who graced tiaras. Not participants in tawdry displays of barely clad pulchritude, but back in the day when good citizens decided in civic unity that so and such was a lovely thing and would make a fitting Pecan Queen or Peach Princess. Say hi to just about any female in my family and you’ll get the cup handed rotating wave. They’re great smilers.

Whenever the ladies would appear in public, it would sound like a fireworks display: “ohhh…ahhh….simply lovely”. And then they would get to me. I’m the discordant note. I’m the “oh…well” in my family. It’s not that I’m unattractive, it’s that I am simply mortal compared to them.

I spent my youth with my grandmother vainly trying to teach me deportment, carriage, elocution, and the other social graces. As Charlie Chaplin said of Paulette Goddard, I’m so clumsy that I could fall down in a phone booth. On dates, I tend to get so nervous that I knock my eyeglasses off which results in me knocking over the wineglass. Every time.

Eyeliner eludes me. Mascara winds up looking like I decided to paint the side of a barn. I plan outfits and always wind up forgetting something. The pair of earrings I picked out. The right shoes. My taste in clothes is downright alarming. The kindest thing my Aunt T. ever said was, apparently in my defense, that she found my fashion sense “theatrical” and “flamboyant”. I suppose that’s better than the cbf, who said that I was tacky and tawdry and looked like gypsies dressed me. I have a strong sense of “Do Not Give A Fuck”, which results in my wearing things that the boy said looked better on a kindergarten teacher.

I wish I could be the sort of dainty creature that has carefully lacquered nails with her hair “did”, but I have a tendency to use my nails as screwdrivers and within 6 minutes of a manicure, there is some strange violent force in the universe that will cause my polish to chip.

I damn near killed myself trying to put on pantyhose one night. I rose up from the bed and slipped on the hardwood floor. The pantyhose shot down to around my knees and suddenly…Self Bondage!. I proceeded to roll around in a pantomime of “woman wrestles alligator” before I was able to wrest them into submission.

I make my aesthetician weep. I possess unruly eyebrows. And furthermore, I careth not. My theory is that if god wanted hair there, then let it be. Getting my legs waxed is my one generous social act.

I spent years listening to my grandmother: “Sit up straight. It makes your breasts look bigger. And for god’s sake smile. Nobody cares about what you actual feel like”. I’ve been accosted in public by people asking if I smile like that all the time. Yes, yes I do. Because I can hear my grandmother’s voice in my head the minute I start to scowl or look the least bit dejected.

“Go back and do it again”. We lived in old houses that creaked and popped liked the tides of living. “A lady does not walk. A lady glides. Now, go back and do it over again.” Every time there was a squeak of a floorboard…”Go back and do it again”. If the glass sconces in the chandelier rattled…”Go back and do it again”. If the glass in the china cabinet tinkled….”Go back and do it again”

I am a ninja. Seriously, the only thing I gained is the ability to scare the utter spit out of people when I uncloak right the fuck behind them. My grandmother spent years trying to raise me to become something I simply could not be. My grandfather acknowledged this. It was always understood that “I wasn’t the marrying kind”. But by god, I can stand on the lawn at a party and not turf the grass in my heels while balancing a punch cup and a dessert plate. I’m still trying to figure out what my Swiss Army knife social skills are good for. There really isn’t much call for being able to discern a cold meat fork from an olive fork out in the world.

Submitted by – porno_ewok

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