Hear Her Roar

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“Woman.

“Wo-man.

“Whoooaaa-Man!”

-Mike Meyers, So I Married an Axe Murderer

This past Valentine’s Day my adorable eight year daughter came home from school all flummoxed and flustered and let out an audible, “Hmph!!!”

“What’s the matter?” I inquired. “What happened?”

“Well, if I tell you about it, you’ll probably be happy because you don’t want any boys to like me until I’m sixteen.”

(Or older, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it…)

“Now I’m intrigued. What happened today at school? Something happen at the Valentine’s Day party?”

“It’s what didn’t happen. Nobody asked me to be their Valentine! Oh sure, I got little cards and Smarties from everyone in the class because they have to give everyone a Valentine, but no special Valentines! Nobody asked me to be their special Valentine!”

“Oh. I see. Did other girls get asked to be special Valentines?”

“Yes!!!”

“But not you.”

“No!!!!”

(She was right. That did make me happy. I confess, I nurse a fantasy called “Operation: Keep Her as Unattractive as Possible Until She’s 21.” It involves slipping the orthodontist a little extra to keep the braces on until graduation and an artichoke style haircut she mysteriously can never seem to grow out.)

“Well, you’re right. I’m glad boys aren’t giving you special gushy valentines right now. You know you can’t have any boyfriends until you’re sixteen. (At least!) What were you going to do if a boy did ask you to be their Valentine?”

“Well, I just wanted to be able to say ‘No!'”

Ah, there it is. A woman. She’s turning into a woman.

I don’t know why men think we’re so hard to figure out. I don’t know why they find our ways so mind boggling. Our needs are simple. We want to have our cake and retain the option whether or not to eat it too. But make no mistake, we still want the cake. Preferably chocolate.

We want the luxury of deflecting compliments with phrases like, “What, this old thing?” and “I’m flattered really, but…” But we still want the compliments. We even fish for them and then turn around and insist you’re “just saying that.” But we still want you to say them. We want to be able to ask you which outfit you like best, ignore your advice completely and still have you think we made the right choice in the end and look amazing and say so. Go on, speak up.

Honestly. Is that really so hard to understand?

And no, Professor Higgins, we can not, nor will ever be “more like a man” so you might as well make your peace with it.

So how did we resolve the second grade No Gushy Valentine debacle of 2012? With loads of compliments and praise, of course. And a bit of chocolate.

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