For over two years now, I have been single and celibate, not so much as kissing a man in that time. Somehow, it is the celibate part that gets attention more than the single part. Somehow, it has become ‘unhealthy,’ and I am denying myself ‘the expression of my femininity,’ like sex can somehow make one feel more like a woman than any other thing in the world. Sometimes I believe these ideas that have been cast upon me by other people. And sometimes, when I have spent four days in spandex (not the same pieces for all four days of course), and I’m covered sweat yet again, both my own, and other people’s, I do have moments when I feel a bit less than feminine.
So it was nice to put on a dress and heels, and catch a random man cast an appreciative glance, smile or even greeting my way. To this stranger, I am not the yoga teacher, the person who fixes his posture or the person he shares his aches an pains with. I am not the person who cashes the till or locks the studio up at the end of the day. I am not the asexual best friend who he jokes around with. He doesn’t know the decisions I’ve made and the thoughts in my head. To this man, I was just a woman walking down the street who might give him my number or go home with him.
Perhaps, given the chance, the encounter could have progressed. When I was younger, believing that every avenue needed to be explored, it probably would have. Perhaps numbers would have been exchanged. A call here. A text there. Trying too hard to make something happen when it could have been left as a nice random exchange. Perhaps I would have tried to make him like me because the more men wanted me, the more of a woman it made me feel like. I was never a flirt, but that didn’t mean I that I didn’t sometimes wonder if the amount of attention received meant that one was a better woman than another. Those thoughts always flew away as quickly as they came however.
There were always more interesting things I wanted to do and learn.
There were people I wanted to meet and know; their stories, their lives.
And in these explorations, and doing things, I am too learning that the expression of femininity might not be limited to the late night trysts you have with a man in darkness. If it is, I want more than that. Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I am learning that femininity is more than looking like a stereotype of what the average male wants you to look like. It is not the long hair, or the diets, or the oh so flirty way you say his name as you saunter towards him. It is less than that, and it is more than that.
It is about how you feel.
I am in my feminine when I am bathed in sweat, dancing between the postures. When I have spent a day in spandex, or elbow deep in numbers trying to find that missing link in the counting. I am there as I sit here in my towel, exploring these thoughts. When I am the shoulder to cry on, the teacher, the best friend, the sister, the daughter and even when I am cracking the whip. I am in it as I sink in the bath at the end of the day, and I am in it as I haul a box across the way. I am in it in my anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment, happiness, joy. It is there when in my interactions, when I speak, touch, listen, and love. It is in, and a part of me and no person has a right to say that I am not honouring it by not feeding my base desires.
And perhaps, my deeper desires are stronger than my base desires. That desire to be seen as a whole, a person, a friend. Perhaps my femininity is in wanting to turn things inside out, to stand there emotionally and mentally vulnerable, to allow him to see me from within and move from there. Perhaps, in my 33rd year, I am starting to believe that romance is not a roll between the sheets, but conversation and deep friendships instead, and that as a woman, I owe myself this right to hold any part of myself back until I feel completely ready to share it.
Perhaps, I am learning that instead of jumping into the arms of a random person who is attracted to me on sight, I would rather be with the person who knows me. Perhaps, right now, my femininity is expressing itself in the ability to let go of instant gratification, slow it down, appreciate the journey and just allow space for things to happen.