One of the Boys?

Last night, prior to going to a 21st party, I sat around an upside down pool table, that acts as a dining table, for a flat of seven boys. We discussed faces on mugs, why one of them has far too many singlets (he only buys new clothes in summer, apparently) and what JF and I were going to say in our speeches at said 21st.

Part way through, HP who had been surreptitiously setting alight to things throughout dinner, started sparring with me in boxing gloves and the ever-protective JF told him to cut it out because, “she’s a chick”. My inner feminist asked “So?” and the wanna-be Muhammed Ali retorted, “She’s one of the boys.”

In New Zealand these days, to be ‘one of the boys’ is a compliment for any young woman in an era where there seems to be an unadmitted attempt to try to act more like our male counterparts, we try to act tougher, drink more, have unattached one-night stands and be less needy. If  your female friend can drink you under the table, she’s a ‘good bitch’, if she’s happy wearing trackies and singlets, there’s respect, the less needy and emotional, the better. Or at least it seems that way.

Under the umbrella of equality that’s all a good thing. It’s nice to know that these boys don’t think any differently of me because I’m a girl (despite the fact that I’d just spent at least 30 minutes doing makeup and getting dressed and looked spectacular). But why must I be ‘one of the boys’ to be in a place where my presence has nothing to do with me being of the opposite sex? Is there a middle ground that can be reached somehow in a time when ‘the boys’ has become a cultural institution? Despite all this appearance of equality, there’s such an obvious double standard with guys, I’m sure they would be grossed out if they knew some of the less ladylike things my friends and I get up to, for the sheer fact that we’re female. So despite all the pretence of being ‘one of the boys’, I never really will be. But for the sake of evolution, I reckon that’s a good thing. Not to say that I won’t make the most of being an honorary lad while I can.

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