Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood

I’ve always felt that I’m not really a girl. Or rather, I am a girl but I’m not a ‘proper’ girl, a ‘real’ girl, a ‘girly’ girl.

Personally, I blame my parents, it’s all their fault. Their siblings had many, many male children and few female ones and when I was five, my parents moved to a new house in the countryside where most of the kids were boys. This location continued to affect me when I went to senior school, since the small numbers of girls living close by meant that there was no bus to the girls’ school; I had to catch the bus to the boys’ school with the boys and walk across the fields to the girls’ school. While I had one or two girlfriends, most of my friends were boys.

By the time I left school, I was much more comfortable around men than women. Coming out of an angsty, hormone-laden girls school, I was quite clear that the less time I spent among girls, the happier I’d be; I just couldn’t get my head around the gossiping, bitching and backstabbing, and the obsession with hair, makeup and clothes.

So when I left school, I quite naturally headed for a male-dominated industry, did a degree in construction (there were two women and thirty six men on my course) and then went on to work on building sites. My particular job meant that I could have chosen to work in an office, but there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to work on a building site, it seemed like so much fun! (it was!)

Plus, there were too many women in offices.

Women in high heels and a skirt.

Women who are grown-up versions of those girls I went to school with.

No sirree, I am not interested in working in an office, not ever, no way.

Further evidence that I’m not much of a girl that goes beyond my education and career choice, too. I’ve hardly watched any chick flicks. Dirty Dancing – nope. Ghost – fell asleep (that movie is so embarrassing). Titanic – boring, left halfway through. A Star Is Born – yuck. I just know that other women seem appalled and horrified when they start talking about some amazingly gushy and romantic film and then they find out that not only have I not seen it but I also have zero interest in ever wasting any of my life watching it. The same goes when they start talking about the latest hunky movie stars: I don’t know who they’re talking about. Chris Hemsworth is about the extent of my knowledge and I only know him because he’s an Aussie and I enjoy the Thor movies.

But the big indicator, the true, real, indisputable evidence that I’m not a ‘real’ woman is that I don’t like chocolate. Or sweet things. Well, that’s not true, I do like chocolate, but it has to be excellent quality dark chocolate. The darker the better. I’ll eat one or two pieces of it and then I’m done. I wouldn’t dream of ordering dessert in a restaurant and going out for a coffee and cake just wouldn’t occur to me.

I love Marian Keyes’ novels but there are parts in every book that leave me stranded in baffled incomprehension: the parts where a woman is upset so she tucks into a tub of ice cream, or she wants to diet but she caves in and heads for her stash of emergency chocolate rations, or she’s split with her husband and eats nothing but cakes and chocolate for a fortnight.
I don’t get it. If I eat one single piece of cake, I fall into a sugar coma. If I eat chocolate, particularly chocolate with a sweet filling, I feel nauseous. I can’t relate to this desire to stuff your face with sweet things whenever you’re upset. Every woman is supposed to have it, but I don’t. I just don’t get it at all.

See what I mean? I can’t possibly be a ‘real’ woman. If I was a ‘real’ woman, I’d understand the desire to rush down to the corner shop to grab a chocolate bar because I’ve been on a new diet for A DAY and I’m so over depriving myself of sugar. Why would I want to drown my sorrows in sugar? It’s baffling.

Having said all that, I love the fact that I’m not a “normal” girly girl. I’m much happier being “different”!