Recently, the Tesco security man felt an urge to stop and ask me, mid shop, ‘Why do you have such big arms for a lady?’ He actually did the universally accepted mime for ‘henchness’ as he asked me (which could also be interpreted as a gorilla mime, for extra offence). His tone was genuinely perplexed, but I couldn’t help but wonder if he was actually really asking, ‘Why aren’t you a meek small feminine woman, whose only role in life is to think about fluffy bunnies and to please me and my man parts?’ Would this man, pray tell, have bothered to stop a bulging biceped man and enquire the same thing?
The interaction left an unpleasant taste in my mouth; it made me feel unfeminine and then led me to question why the buggering bollocks I would want to feel feminine anyway. After a few minutes of stewing, I decided I was going to become ‘feminine’: the ultimate feminine woman, if you will. Take that, Mr Security Guard – no more stopping me and questioning my femininity, because I’ll have taken on board your body-shaming and changed myself because of it. Ha. That’s what I call winning.
Consequently, on my quest for true femininity, I started to trawl the internet for tips on how I could achieve my goal. Boy, oh boy (sorry, ahem, girl) have I learnt a lot from this experience. And, for every woman’s convenience, I have now compiled the top 8 tips on how a woman becomes more feminine – just in case, like me, you’re so piss-poor at performing your assigned gender role that shop workers stop you in public places. You monster.
So, without further ado, it’s…
HOW TO BE FEMININE, A COMPULSORY GUIDE
1) Avoid doing Masculine things
According to the ‘Feminine Woman’, ‘doing masculine things can dull our bodily energies and create great stress for our feminine hormonal balance, and our beauty.’
Well blow me (gently please, I am trying to be a lady). I didn’t realise that the activities I have been partaking in had such an impact on my feminine hormones. Quilled note to self: I must stop playing computer games in my pants ASAP. It will make me lose my monthly curse and turn me ugly, probably within hours.
2) Love a man deeply
The ‘Feminine Woman blog also informed me that ‘unless we are truly masculine at our core, often, the ‘power’ of being in control and the ‘power’ of having command over our finances, over our lives, our destiny, and the fight we fight to get there, is just such an unfulfilling kind of power when it’s not coupled with the power of a woman surrendering to her deeper drive to love a man deeply.’ This jumble of prose makes absolutely no sense, of course. However, I have roughly translated it to: you might as well die unless you surrender to the love of a man of any quality. I must address my homosexuality, quickly, and warn Sue Perkins and the Ellens, lest we all live completely hollow lives. They are gonna be devastated to stand corrected.
WikiHow’s extremely useful article, ‘How to be feminine in 12 simple steps’ (with pictures) gives a wonderfully practical feminine tip that really stands out amongst the others: ‘Always be clean. Shower once a day, at the very minimum. Staying clean is the key to becoming more feminine.’
I am going to share something personal with you now: sometimes, I don’t shower every day. This must have been the reason the security guard stopped me – he could smell my masculinity wafting through the shop – or was it the Tesco’s finest cheese? Either way, that’s clear cut, Camembert-flavoured testosterone.
4) Marry a Prince
Now I was committed to embracing my femininity (and casting away any homosexual thoughts about Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’), I didn’t just want to settle for marrying any man. I wanted a goddamn (is a feminine lady allowed to curse?) PRINCE. ‘The Proper Lady’ had some marvellous tips on ‘how untitled women marry princes’, which is highly important, and informed me that I could be ‘the princess his country needs in this difficult and turbulent time.’ For only $20 I could continue reading these groundbreaking tips. I didn’t cough up quite yet, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before the sensible side of myself surfaces and I get me a step-by-step guide to snagging royalty.
I didn’t realise that embracing my femininity could actually influence world peace, but that’s what The Proper Lady was so adamant about. So, I’m delaying enrolment in that PhD in politics as frankly finding a prince will be far easier, and more effective. Sorted.
5) Refine your speech
Fuck. I’m not allowed to curse. Shit, wank, titty, nob chops, bugger and, um, boob. Best to get all of those out before I mention the next tip. In Foxie Oxie’s – yes, Foxie Oxie’s – article ‘The Art of Being a Lady: 10 Ways to Feel More Feminine’, she informs the reader that she ‘totally understands the allure of using a curse word… but, is the English language really so devoid of flavour that we must descend down to the pits of hell to voice our thoughts?’ This created ponderous questions in my mind such as: which words constitute the title of ‘curse’? And, furthermore, would a sly ‘quim’ affect my quest to be feminine? After all, in my humble opinion, using olden-day swearwords makes a woman sound soft and alluring and as if she hasn’t left the house in 200 years – which seems to be the whole point of femininity, as far as I can tell. I shan’t risk it though; I wouldn’t want to jeopardise my chances of reaching my feminine epiphany at the fault of a quim. If Foxie Oxie tells me not to curse, then by heck I will do my darndest to not fudging well let my language go down on Satan. I mean with Satan. Balls.
6) Look like a proper lady
Another marvellous tip from the author of ‘The Proper Lady’ touches on attire and looks: ‘If you’re not feminine at first glance, many people won’t stick around long enough to see if you are made up of feminine energy… Aim for looking the opposite of what a masculine man usually looks like.’ Interesting. I suppose it’s fair enough that if you’re not feminine at first sight, most people won’t even bother registering you as a human being worth conversation or probably even civil behaviour. So I guess Ken is the most masculine man I can think of, which makes me…Barbie? Hellz yeah, let’s break out the tiny plastic heels and the play bus. I can’t wait for people to soak up my new found feminine energy at first glance. And, yes, that may just be a euphemism.
7) Do not cut your hair
The author of ‘Fourteen hints to become more feminine’ suggests that women should refrain from cutting their hair, because rules. ‘Hair is decorative and feminine. If you chop it off, you sacrifice part of your appeal.’ And dammit, woman, if you’re not decorative then what the hell are you?
One slight problem here. Does the author mean the intimate hair of bush, or the public hair of head? Surely having an untamed lady garden – long enough, say, to wear in bunches – would not form the archetype of a feminine woman? To be on the safe side, I shall grow my hair (in both regions) as long as a mane and I will shun all women with short hairstyles. Apart from Clare Balding, of course. I’m not ready to sacrifice Clare Balding.
8) Do not be competitive
The same article offers another pearl of wisdom in the art of femininity in a relationship: ‘You may be better than your man at everything under the sun, but that misses the point. Your part in maintaining a relationship with him is to be on his side, not to outdo him.’
This is a slight sticking point. I am extremely competitive. Even when I play games against small children – and I mean small – I will not let them win; whimper they may, but I am teaching them the art of losing gracefully. Being able to smugly smile at your partner when you have beaten them at Trivial Pursuit is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I simply cannot adhere to this one. I cannot turn myself into a compulsive loser.
Because, jokes aside, I really am a winner. Some days I identify more with He-Man than Beyonce, and that’s OK. Masculinity and femininity don’t need to factor into my life as concepts that I need to take any more seriously than I did this tongue-in-cheek guide to being the latter, because enforcing the gender binary in Tesco’s is so over. So the next time a security guard lets me know that my biceps are intimidating the hell out of him, I’ll just walk on by with a smile on my face and a big middle finger up to heteronormativity. I guess living my own truth really just isn’t that ladylike, and I’m fine with it.
-Clare E, who blogs here