I used to wonder where they were, the girls like me. I’d grown up, sandwiched between two brothers so, if I wanted to play, I played with the boys. Like the boys. A tomboy. Even after we moved to neighborhoods with lots of girls my age, it was too late. I never enjoyed playing dolls because they didn’t have adventures. Apparently, we were just supposed to change their clothes and do mundane things that families did on a small, playhouse scale. There were no dragons, or spaceships, or bad guys. Just girls sitting around drinking fake tea from little cups that tasted like cheap plastic, or raking a comb through plastic frazzled doll hair, or pretending to be mothers when we were just kids.
It was too late to be a girl, by the time I entered high school. I was surrounded by girls who said things I didn’t know and talked about shows I had never seen. They talked about hot boys, and TV stars and people from movies, and romantic plot twists, and weepy love stories. High school is where I learned to hate Tome Cruise because my friend watched Top Gun three times in a row and I was too pissed to leave because I had walked a whole hour to get to her house and I thought we’d at least watch something different. I was supposed to have a crush on Maverick and Ice Man and all the other fly boys but I didn’t know it. High school is where I learned that I was supposed to like Grease, and apply too much make-up, and fall in love and half-die from the resulting broken heart, and have turmoil with my parents, and suffer angst. But I never did those things because I didn’t know how. It looked tiring and really weird and, anyway, I just wanted to slay dragons, and ride a motorcycle, and be an incognito superhero.
Girls around me grew up to be the women around me but we never seem to be the same. I am in my late forties and there is still so much that women do, naturally, that I do not. I don’t know if I miss it because I don’t know what it is. I do know that when women try to show me, I run away. I don’t want to go on day-long shopping trips. I can’t stomach Fifty Shades of Gray or any other color. I cut my hair off because I don’t want to spend time doing it. More than mascara and lipstick scares me. A movie without jump scares, big explosions, or a rubber monster may not get more than 10 minutes of my undivided attention… …
Somewhere along the way, I missed the maturity train. I was supposed to get old suddenly, and make wise decisions. I was supposed to stop laughing at The Three Stooges, and I was supposed to find robots and space monsters childish foolish nonsense. But it never happened. For some people, maturity is like their skin. They can’t take it off. They can’t ever put it down. For me, maturity is the coat in the closet. I clamp it on when I need it but the minute I don’t have to wear, I shrug it off, throw it the corner, ignore it. Outside, my skin says Woman, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister but inside there is a being that shifts between between 8, 15, and 46 and is perfectly happy giggling over Tucker and Dale Vs Evil for the 20th time.