Are you an adventure baby with dirt in your skirt? If so, listen up, this post is for you. (But hey, the gents can probably find something in here they can relate to when it comes to understanding the adventure babes in their life.)
I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a “Tom Boy”. I swear infrequently at the best of times and atrociously when provoked. I am more comfortable in my running tights and a hoody than high heels and a tight dress (although, when it does happen, I’m happy to say I pull it off). I can run with the boys, hold my own on the ski slopes, throw a strong torpedo pass and pack a serious punch. (Just whatever you do, don’t get me hanging off a rope or submerged in a scuba suit – they are my two worst fears).
Truth? As horrible as it sounds, I’ve always thought of “girly girls” as being serious punces. Weak. Vulnerable. Boring. Oops, I said it. My world is full of strong women. Every single one of my close girlfriends, even if they don’t share my love for ultra marathons and other adventures, shares my energetic and passionate approach to life.
I remember my first encounter with a serious girly girl. It was when I first moved to Hong Kong three years ago. The conversation went something like this:
“Do you like to run?” I asked, trying to see if I could find a new running buddy. “No,” she curtly replied.
“Do you play any sport?” I searched for something to relate to.
“No,” she replied, a little more blankly this time.
“So, what do you like to do?” I asked. Her eyes lit up. This is going to be good I thought to myself, hoping for a unique artistic streak or an unusual hobby.
“I like to shop,” she replied enthusiastically. It wasn’t even unusual shopping, like antiques or haute couture, just run of the mill knock offs. Facepalm.
I was mystified (and horrified). The thought of merely existing in life to look pretty in pretty clothes and spending your life shopping for said pretty clothes is not my cup of tea. Maybe it’s because I went to a school that bred feminists; maybe it’s because my mother is a tough woman or maybe it’s because I needed more functional clothes to keep up with my older brother who I adored when growing up. Whatever the reason, I’m a Tom Boy through and through. Though I do like to look pretty… I like to do it while doing badass stuff… in less girly clothes.
As a teenager, this rough and tumble streak made me playful; in my early twenties it had a sort of “tough chick” appeal. To my male friends I was considered “cool” and (I hoped) a bit cute.
But as I begin to slide into my thirties, I’ve discovered there’s a fine line between being “psycho” and being sassy; between being rambunctious, rather than being vivacious (a much more attractive quality). I’ve also realised there’s a time to slow down rather than trying to “keep up with the boys”; a time take stock and be a bit more wise and womanly, rather than wild and wicked (well, there are of course times to be wild and wicked ).
The older I get, the more I’ve come to realise I can perhaps learn something from those girly girls. That is, of the important of grace and beauty, even in the face of extreme adventure.
My dear friend, Tori Leckie, always makes sure she has her make-up case with her no matter what ultra marathon she’s competing in. I know of another competitor that always puts on red lipstick before a race (and one that even carries lip gloss with her to reapply at the end).
So while I’m not planning on losing my Tom Boy-ish ways completely – it’s who I am, after all – I am happy to embrace my femininity a bit more. Pack the lip gloss, maybe invest in one of those cute little running skirts.
Though girly shopaholics and adventure babies may differ in their chosen pursuits, we can keep one thing in common: we can be a lady in the process.