April 22, 2013

A Good Woman

Lately I've been thinking about what it means to be a good woman.

I've spent my whole life obsessed with walking the fine line between good girl and bad girl, hard on the outside but soft on the inside, innocent and vulnerable yet naughty and nasty.

I was an excellent student in school, so much so that none of my teachers expected any evil-doing when I showed up late to or skipped class.

I was obedient to my parents.

I lost my virginity relatively late, at the ripe old age of 19, to my first and pretty much only boyfriend.

After that, I let myself loose on the world. And even though at heart I think I was always a good person, I became a bad girl.

In New York, though, it doesn't matter so much. We're all bad girls in New York. That's why we can't find boyfriends in New York. That's why we don't get married in New York.

But does it have to be one or the other?

I mean, the Virgin-Whore Complex is a bore.

We girls grow up. We become women. And if we didn't marry while we were still girls, if we didn't have children while we were still children, we can't maintain this Madonna image as a Single Woman late into our 30s, 40s and beyond. It's just not realistic.

At age 37, I now qualify as a cougar. I've been having sex for nearly half my life.

At this point, I'm not wearing white to my wedding. I am scientifically old enough to be a grandmother. I surpassed advanced maternal age two years ago.

When can I stop worrying about being coy, playing hard to get, waiting for the third date, batting my eyelashes, saying no and putting up a good fight and just do what I want to do?

It seems to me that a Good Woman is honest about who she is, how she feels and what she wants. She respects others, but above all, she respects herself. A Good Woman knows the life she wants to live and the person she wants to be, and she doesn't let anything or anyone stand in the way of letting her become it.

A Good Woman enjoys a meal.

A Good Woman makes eye contact.

A Good Woman knows how to put together an outfit, order a drink, and find her way out when she gets lost.

A Good Woman can pay for herself but lets you pick up the tab.

A Good Woman stopped calling herself a "girl" a long time ago.

I'm not sure I was ever a very good girl, but I'm trying to be a Good Woman. I am not a mother. I am not a wife, and may never be. I am no longer my parents' daughter, nor my sister's sister. I am no more than a passing fancy, a fleeting memory, a stolen kiss or a one night stand to most. And I am a friend to fewer people than I ever have been in my adult life.

So, perhaps for the first time in my life, I am no longer defined by those who surround me. I have no work to do, no titles to hold, no roles to portray - only my own self, embodying my best womanhood I can, while I figure out what that even means.

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