Monday, May 19, 2008

The poodle problem

I live in an affluent beach town in south Los Angeles - arguably one of the most superficial areas on the PLANET. I've been irked by what I refer to as the "poodle problem" since I moved here from New York almost four years ago. In my world, poodles are girls who are VERY good-looking and VERY nice...but that's about it.

This isn't to say that these women didn't do well in school or don't have successful careers. However, they will talk to you for an hour without saying anything, and occasionally tell stories that don't make sense, have a point or are completely uninteresting. In fact, you might find yourself listening to a poodle tell the same, seriously lacking story more than once. Don't worry, it's not you, poodles don't do this on purpose, they simply can't remember who they've told and who they haven't. This is usually because that particular story is what's happening in their life at the time, and like my old CD player from 1996, it will likely be stuck on "repeat" until something else happens to knock it onto the next track.

Poodles smile a lot and are usually in a good mood - this makes it incredibly difficult to dislike poodles, and often causes a temporary feeling of guilt for wanting to poke your eyes out when you suddenly find yourself stuck in a conversation with one. Poodles can be identified by their thin figures, trendy clothes, expertly applied make-up, perma-smile and blond hair (around here, anyway). Poodles are also pack animals and can be found hanging out together...usually in places where large groups are the most annoying, such as already crowded bar bathrooms, any narrow, public walkway or occasionally, the middle of the street.

There are a lot of poodles in these parts, and every once-in-awhile I'll be struck by a distinct desire to pull the perfectly flat-ironed platinum hairs out of their pretty little heads. In theory, poodles annoy me on principal: I'm a women of self-proclaimed (and therefore debatable) substance, and they are - by definition - not the brightest sparkles on the bedazzled jacket. But lately, I've realized this strong reaction probably suggests more about me than it does about poodles.

Let's be honest, most of these women won't be leading the next feminist parade (although if we're being honest, neither will I), but they are at peace with their femininity - something I aspire to be. These women are smiling because they enjoy being a girl, and they neither fear nor resent the attention they receive because of their femininity. They are - consciously or unconsciously - aware of the power their smile and giggle can have over a guy, and they own it...in fact, they work it. I won't bore you with the details, but even though I'm very much a girly girl, somehow I've developed a resistance toward my feminine side. I've always wanted to be attractive because of my intelligence, humor and wit, not big boobs or fabulously glittery eye shadow (even though I've ostentatiously displayed both from time-to-time over the past ten years). In fact, until recently (probably within two years) I've avoided letting guys open doors for me, give up their seat for me, pay for my dinner, buy me a drink...you get the point.

But lately, I'm realizing that feminism and femininity don't have to be mutually exclusive. I can be a strong woman with her own business and a variety of lofty goals, and still have a blast rocking a hot mini and some delicious shoes with serious toe cleavage on a Saturday night. This realization led to the epiphany that letting a guy open the car door for me isn't going to make me weak...or unequal in some way. In fact, it makes me feel like I'm pretty hot sh*t, and part of being an accidental feminist is appreciating a woman's right to feel desired and pursued. I'm also beginning to notice that the differences between men and women are incredibly attractive. A masculine guy makes me feel more feminine...and I like that. A lot. I'm even beginning to think the reverse is true as well: guys get excited by the prospect of seeing if they have what it takes to make a particular woman happy - if I were a guy, I know I'd rather go for the cute, smiley girl (possibly even a poodle)who is obviously comfortable getting a little attention, than the snarling bombshell who looks bored with it all...

This isn't rocket science, and it's just the tip of the iceberg, but I'm fascinated by this topic and by the self realization it's inspired. At 28 I'm finding peace with being feminine and I'm pretty darn excited about it. I don't think I'll be looking to join any poodle packs in the near future, but much like the dating inspiration I gleaned from the women of the 1950s, I've yet again learned to appreciate something about a group of women I used to judge...if that's not feminism, I don't know what is.

3 comments:

well-intentioned heartbreaker said...

great post, and very good points =)

hookerbaby said...

hmmm, respecting them, yes. i don't know if i'd be able to maintain a conversation, however.....

Bronwyn, said...

Mmmmm I want to be desired and pursued (by guys I find attractive of course).