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I wasn’t raised as a girl. Don’t get the wrong idea… It’s not like I was abandoned in the woods and adopted by a pack of wolves. I just bonded more powerfully with my father than my mother.

Dad never called me princess and never mentioned that a prince on a white horse would bring me “happily ever after.” When I got dressed up, he didn’t tell me that I looked beautiful; he said “You look good, little one… look good.”

And best of all he thought it just dandy that I loved to watch and play football. I went to the barber shop with him and my older brother. I could show you a picture, but I’ll spare you that. The haircut gives new meaning to the style “pixie cut.” In a nutshell, I was the quintessential tom-boy.

With my high school guy friends, I even engaged in the coming of age ritual of lining up, dropping trou, and writing my name in the snow by…you guessed it (I hope). Of course I lost, but the broader point is that none of us thought it odd that a girl was in the middle of that line.

Throughout my life most of my best friends have been men and I’m finding that now, in my later years, this has put me at odds with some women. I’m confused by the commercial whose tag line is, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” My first reaction was “Huh?” I don’t understand the message…

Not long ago a woman, offering advice to the sisterhood, suggested that women needed to stop making punitive remarks about other women because it weakened the chain…the chain of women who needed to link arms and support one another so that we all could succeed. Again, I didn’t understand the message.

“Wow, did you see that tie? Sure is ugly, but it looks good on him,” Hahahaha
“Do ya’ think he found that suit at K-Mart… on the sale rack?” Hahahaha.
“Looks like he cut his own hair… with a bowl on his head.” Hahahaha

All comments I’ve heard men say about other men. Snarky isn’t — and never has been — owned by women. But the reactions are polar opposites. Women tend to be crushed, men shoot each other the middle finger and head out for a beer.

I tend to think it’s because men aren’t taught to be defined by their appearance, or frankly by what others think. That doesn’t mean they don’t care about it. I might have a bad haircut, the colorist may have made my hair a little orange this time but it didn’t change me. It’s hair! You hate my dress? Maybe you’re right… maybe I had too much wine that evening before I went shopping. OR maybe YOU have no sense of style. But here I am in an ugly dress with orange hair… still being me.

There are many good messages out there today from the sisterhood. I’d like to be a part of that missive. But I’d rather inspire women to be strong individuals first, so that the collective can thrive. I believe that Justice can be achieved in a cooperative with a one plus one plus one theorem.

I aspire to integrity, knowledge, wisdom, courage and humility. I work on these individual and personal objectives, sometimes when I’m getting my nails done or shopping for a tasteful dress. But always in the back of my mind, I hear my dad whispering, “What other people think of you is none of your business.”

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