I’m not the kind of girl who gets upset when people call me one. Indeed, you can call me a chick. And I’d love it if you called me a dame, broad, or skirt (even though I rarely wear one). But if you want to make me cringe, refer to me as a “woman” or a “lady”. (As an aside: Once, when I was with a female friend, a guy called me a “young lady”. I laughed and said in my best scratchy-throated-cigarette-voiced-quasi-Jewy voice, “Oh my god, he called me ‘lady’!” My friend laughed and responded, “Oh my god, he called you ‘young’!”) It’s just difficult for me to consider myself a “woman” when I still can’t say the word “vagina” without mentally gagging, never discuss my “period” or “PMS”, and can’t even consider these words without surrounding them by quotes, even when they merely reside inside my head and not on the page. And yes, of course I know there’s more to being a “woman” than those things (please, I beg of you, don’t make me type those words again). I know there’s stuff like knowing what the word “escrow” means and how to fold sheets properly and how to hem pants and oh so much more.
And it’s not like I’m not a “feminist”, either. I am. But I don’t know what kind of feminist I am. I don’t know how to define it and don’t have any desire to do so. I do know that I’m not the type of girl who thinks that my grandest achievement in life is to be ornamental (although I must proudly admit that that is something at which I really do excel). I know that I have never wanted a baby, will not coo at yours, and when he (and yes, I’m using “he” rather than “s/he”) reaches the age where he is able to speak, I will not talk to him as if he were still an infant. In fact, when he is an infant, I won’t speak to him that way either. I also have no desire to be married, never dressed up as a bride as a child, and can’t stomach the idea of someone above Communion age actually wearing a white frilly dress.
Anyway, I have this plastic device (please, boys, let me finish the sentence) called the “Spaghetti Stick”. Along its 10-inch length, it has six holes of graduated size, marked as follows (I don’t quite get what the fractions and numbers in bold represent):
- 1/4 CHILD 5 YR
1/2 CHILD 5-10 YR
3/4 WOMAN OR CHILD 10-12 YR
1 MAN OR TEENAGER
2 2 ADULTS
3 3 ADULTS
When I first bought this thing, I was actually a bit disturbed that whoever was responsible for the categories decided that a “woman” would (“or should!,” I fumed) eat only as much as a 10- to 12-year-old child, 1/4 of a measurement less than a man or teenager. I think I was even a little put off by the realization that a “woman” was probably not meant to be included in the “ADULTS” category at all, represented by the two largest holes on the Spaghetti Stick.
I actually considered writing an irate letter to the manufacturer, and told myself that I could even write some sort of feminist treatise, based on this outrage, worthy not only of the bachelor degree I was pursuing at that time but also of a doctorate. Well, quite a few years later, this girl, who measures more for herself than is allotted for “3 ADULTS”, let alone a mere “MAN”, thinks it’s absolutely hilarious that someone out there would consider her constitution so delicate that she could only stomach as much as a little girl, but still fantasizes about converting the Spaghetti Stick into a meter to measure the spaghetti dick of the man she just knows is responsible for the contraption.