“I think I have testes in my abdomen.” My friend Amber spit out her soda and stared at me in silence. For a long time. “You what?!” she asked. “Testes. I think they are in my abdomen.” “So, you are a man?” she asked. “I guess I’m a girl with testes in my abdomen.” “Is this your way of hitting on me?” she asked. This time I just stared at her. “Rita, you can just tell me if you are attracted to me, you don’t have to make up being a man.” “I’m not hitting on you and I’m not making it up!” She just stared. “Amber, I’m not feminine! You know that! Give me a make-up bag and I come out looking like Bozo the clown! And I don’t crave wearing dresses, or jewelry, or heels. I’ve never planned my dream wedding!” She continued to stare, completely silent. “I watched a documentary today about women who have never felt feminine. They went to the doctor and found out they have testes in their abdomen!” She rolled her eyes and shook her head and took another sip of her soda. I pulled at the hair on my arms. “Amber, look at all of this hair! Seriously. LOOK. On my arms! Like an ape-man!” Amber shrugged and said “At least you won’t have to wait in long lines to use the restroom anymore.”
I don’t have testes in my abdomen. To my knowledge. I don’t have abnormal arm hair growth. And last I checked, I’m prettier than an ape. But, to this day, I have trouble with the concept of “femininity.” I opt for jeans and flip-flops over dresses and heels. I don’t know how to apply a smokey eye. Don’t get me wrong, when an occasion calls for it, I know how to dress and my hair is my source of vanity. I, at all times, “feel like a woman”. But, when I have a choice, I tend to choose comfort and then justify it by calling it low maintenance. But, in working with dating coaches Dave Elliott and Jess McCann, I’ve found that my lack of “femininity” has nothing to do with my appearance. I’m definitely all woman in that department. In analyzing my dating history, they have determined that I am very masculine in my romantic relationships. It’s the reason I make a bad dance partner – I constantly try to lead instead of allowing myself to be led. While aggressiveness and being proactive may work in my role as an attorney, it can sabotage a romantic relationship.
With their help, I’ve been able to articulate what I want in a partner. Someone with confidence. I want someone who comforts me. Protects me. Someone loyal. Someone with sound character and integrity. So why am I afraid to let go of my masculinity and allow myself to be led by a masculine male? Why does my mind associate being a woman with weakness?
When Wayne told me about his plans for our date this past Friday night, I decided to embrace what the dating coaches have been telling me and explore my feminine side. I wore a flirty black dress. I put on even sexier, red, high heels. I took extra time with my hair and makeup. I wore fancy jewelry. Not because this is what a woman must do to embrace her femininity – but because it made me feel sexy, which is a good start towards releasing some of my “masculinity.” Wayne greeted me, flowers in hand. “You look beautiful” he said. I felt it.
He took me on a private, night-time tour, of The Pentagon, which was especially exciting for me because, although I have lived in the DC area since I was 7, I have never been to The Pentagon! Wayne was a great tour guide and it was a very moving tour, standing in the chapel where the plane’s nose crashed into the building on September 11, 2001. Seeing all of the memorial quilts and remembrances created by school children displayed in the hallways. Of course, no tour would be complete without a photo at the well-known podium!
From there, we enjoyed dinner, wine and even an after dinner drink or two at a great cigar bar, Shelly’s Back Room. It wasn’t easy to let go of certain habits that the coaches classified as “masculine.” At times, when Wayne would pay me a compliment, I reacted as if he was trying to throw a punch! However, the conversation flowed and the night flew by. I enjoyed my time with Wayne not only because he is a fascinating man, with interesting stories to share, but because he made me feel good about myself when I was with him.
Don’t get me wrong. I still don’t know how to apply a smokey eye. In the car on the ride home, the red high heels came off and the secret flip-flops in the purse made their appearance. But, for that night, I allowed myself to have a “Carrie Bradshaw” moment and simply feel like a woman – intelligent, sexy and alive, with great shoes! And the feeling was addictive. I think my femininity may be here to stay!