On being a terrible, terrible woman

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Sunk into my sofa the other night caught in a semi-conscious haze, watching Louis Theroux with his admirably gonzo-like journalism and even sexier, Gonzo-like nose, I came to the sudden sickening realisation that I am now on the cusp of my twentieth birthday. And that state of depressed, unkempt lethargy is the larger portion of my current existence. I felt ill instantly and became utterly bewildered, having spent the last three years believing, truly believing, that I am still seventeen; confusing myself and all sense of security I have rendered when I am forced to state otherwise. No, twenty years is not an old human, it is illegal to drink alcohol in the United States, certain gaps in practical knowledge are still vaguely acceptable and the assumption from prospective employers that you are a moron on the basis of your age remains somewhat reasonable. I suppose what terrifies me profoundly about growing older is acknowledging the pressure I feel to actually develop into a woman at some point; it forces me to reflect upon my femininity- or total lack thereof. I would not argue that I am particularly masculine either; for all intents and purposes it is abundantly clear that I am still firmly, a teenage girl (admittedly a rather abhorrent one at that) and so many goddam years from achieving any sense of maturity in the domain of my gender.

I would claim womanhood exists somewhere in a lady-like equilibrium between three general categories; they are as follows: behaviour, appearance and personal success. I am overwhelmingly far from reaching an acceptable state of existence as a functioning human being in any of the above, let alone by the standards of the average woman cheerfully tiding the middle classes in western civilisation.

As far as my behaviour is concerned, I have realised lately that one must take stock of their lifestyle when, not only your parents and siblings consistently react shocked and appalled in the face of your misdoings, your best friends begin to equally recoil. This is not indicative of my behaviour becoming more outrageous in recent years; it is merely a consequence of my high school friends incontrovertibly becoming women while I am left rolling about in the sticky, proverbial dust of adolescence. Of course, no definitive rules exist for the grounds of femininity but simply put, in the resounding words of Justice Potter Stewart (of course, originally in reference to pornography), “I know it when I see it”. I also know pornography when I see it, mostly because I see it just about every day somewhere between the set hours of 9 to 1am. However, I believe that one can say with a fair amount of certainty, womanhood does not involve pissing on the bonnet of cars (yes, cars, plural), reeling in horror at the sight of children, drunk wrestling people and sticking a hard-boiled quail egg up your anus for $15 (my employers duly received their come-uppance when I squeezed it back out and threw it at their heads). Women are socially acceptable and capable creatures who don’t partake in such crass activities and can carry a satisfactory conversation without antagonising the other person. Often I find myself observing in genuine awe the practice of these womanly features in bars, carpet burn fresh on my knees from belligerently struggling with my boyfriend for ownership of a drumstick, and I really think “fuck, I am not there yet”.

However, there must be another aspect I tend to ignore in the sense that most women just don’t talk about it. If they do something ill-refined or truly hideous, something particularly repugnant happens to them or they develop an interesting medical condition, your average female would not see fit to discuss it, they would just bloody leave it, something which it would appear I am entirely incapable of doing. For all my knowledge, there could be a few thousand women in Sydney at this very moment sticking quail eggs up their arses all nolens volens and I would be none the wiser because they would deem it prudent not to discuss it. However, it would seem I am never one to let my dignity get in the way of a good story.

Here it is; I spend a huge amount of time staring at women. It is definitely not alright how much time I spend just fucking looking at them. There is a strong likelihood that if I were a man or a just a lot less strategic, I be socially ostracised or appropriately punished for my habit- perhaps somebody would strap me down in a bus seat and get an ugly person to stare intently at my head to see how I enjoy it. I truly get super excited when I am at a substantially dark bar or tactfully placed on public transport with an attractive woman present so as to get a good, hearty uninhibited stare. Often when I can not help myself a woman can easily catch me ten to fifteen times in the duration of a conversation just attentively observing her head.

I don’t do this because I particularly want to speak to them, because I want to mount their faces or, contrary to popular belief, because I hate them either, I do it because I lack the comprehension of how most women look so goddam good all the time. How is it that their hair looks effortlessly neat even if I’ve been watching them for the past fifteen minutes and I’ve seen literally no sign of a comb? How is it that their skin isn’t in such an awful condition it appears a domestic cat has recently savaged it? And where in the fuck are they finding clothes that don’t make them look like a deranged alcoholic? Mothers who declare reassuringly that it is what’s on the inside that matters are entirely correct, that is, unless you’re out in public and surrounded by a bunch of strangers who enjoy staring as much as I do.

Clothing is inextricably associated with womanhood by my definition; women no longer wear denim shorts that are notably liberal with your genitals, they wear dresses and they wear cardigans. Really, freaking cardigans. Every time I see my best friend sporting one it blows my mind that much more- they’re just so fucking lady-like! In fact, I went to the superlative effort of actually buying a cardigan the other day, only to have it sharted on by a six-month-old kitten. Typical. The most womanly apparel I own is my extensive lingerie collection that is furthered annually only amidst a 50% off Myer sale and to be entirely honest, I don’t wash them regularly either, it takes more effort than just throwing them casually into a washing machine and I sincerely doubt anybody will notice.

In terms of personal success, I am unemployed, recreationally sociopathic and one would not be hard-pushed to discover a hardcore narcotics addict who has their head out of their ass more than I do. The last time I tried to cook I produced a batch of vegan chocolate cookies that tasted inexplicably like pepper (I theorize I entered a stress-induced fugue state) and really, the most creative thing I have done with food recently was to write “FUCK YOU” in muesli on my boyfriend’s kitchen floor for his cat (the one that sharted on my new cardigan actually, so that ties up quite nicely).

No, I am not a woman. Perhaps one day I will wake to find that I step with ease into a lovely skirt, a pair of shoes with raised heels, eat a breakfast that isn’t predominantly sugar, and prance (yes, women prance) off to a day of noteworthy employment and social success but, in the immortal words of Aragorn, (a man who would never dig me, no matter how much I’d like to believe otherwise), “it is not this day!” Perhaps this entire mental feud is simply the manifestation of a latent traditionalism instilled in me by a lifetime on Sydney’s north shore and a solid private school education. Regardless, I am wholeheartedly jealous of women who are seemingly capable of dressing themselves well, can produce a dinner that is unlikely to poison people, are able to participate in a conversation without outright offending somebody and really appreciate flowers as a gift. However, I suppose what makes the notion of this transition so entirely difficult is the fact that I fail to relate to these mindsets, I have a large amount of unashamed fun in my juvenile behaviour, I am comfortable in what I wear and anything less than rampant social and economic destitution in my life sounds incredibly tedious. Also, if womanhood should dictate that I must begin acting like a lady in a Dettol commercial and stop drawing penises on everything, at the moment, it is clearly not for me. Louis CK, knower of everything and my spirit animal, once stated that “you’re not a woman until people come out of your vagina and step on your dreams”; assuming that my stance on all children being the spawn of Satan stands to my dying day, it appears I may well never become a woman, either.

elfy scott


Words by Elfy Scott