Instead of popping in once a year at Christmastime and running straight to the counter to buy a gift card for my sister, I could mosey and maybe even buy something for myself. Because I could. Because I’d be a woman. I would be nice to the sales girl with the pink measuring tape, and I might even ask her to take my bust size, because What Not To Wear taught me that many adult women are wearing the wrong bra.
I’d go to mani-pedi parties, even though pedicures give me anxiety. As a man, I recoil when the aesthetician files down my little toenail, and I feel like I’d react the same way if I were a woman. But maybe the shared experience of a mani-pedi party might curb my anxiety because I’d be too distracted by dishing and mimosas to notice the girl with the paring knife jabbing into the gutters of my toenails. In nice restaurants, I’d excuse myself to the bathroom with two or three friends where I’d sit on the sink, reapplying my eyeliner and talking about everyone who isn’t in the bathroom with us, but I’d try not to say anything catty because there’s enough of that going around, anyway.
If I were a woman, I’d have grace and fucked up arches because I’d have been a dancer my entire life. I would’ve asked my parents to put me in ballet classes as soon as I could speak, and I would’ve dedicated lots of free time to perfecting my art. As a teenage girl, I would’ve stayed away from the boys my parents didn’t approve of, and when they set boundaries for me, I would’ve played ball and compromised. As a grown woman, I’d ensure that my relationship with my mother was not only intact, but also fruitful. I’d hope that she’d see the best parts of herself in me, and wordlessly congratulate herself on a job well done.
If I were a woman, I’d wear rompers, and jumpers, and slingbacks, and racerbacks, and halter jumpsuits, and harem pants, and hot pants, and headscarves, and bangles, and cuffs, and wedges, and hoops, and boots, and pearls, and lace, and crushed velvet, and sheer skirts, and leggings, and Mary Janes, and things with keyholes, and things with empire waists, and things with fringe, and things with beading, and things with red soles, and things that flare, and things that plunge, and things that billow, and things that sparkle, and things that zip up the back, and things that reveal other things, and maybe even a turban. I’d emulate the style choices of my sister, and Amber Champion, and my friend Kim, and this girl I follow on Instagram named Hope, and Rooney Mara, and Chloë Moretz, and Chloë Sevigny.
And I’d own a kimono. And I’d have bangs. And I’d cut them blunt.
If I were a woman, I’d be a feminist. I’d believe in the power of my sex and I would do everything that men told me I couldn’t. I would love my breasts, no matter their size, and I would never use my sexuality as a weapon. I would never say, “I get along with guys more than girls” because all women say that, and it always sounds like something to make men feel comfortable, but to me, it just sounds like gender betrayal. Speaking of which, I wouldn’t hate Anne Hathaway or Taylor Swift because all women hate Anne Hathaway and Taylor Swift, and that’s never made any sense to me. But, I’d listen to the same music and I’d read the same books that I do now, as a man, because I have awesome taste in music and books, and I don’t see why any of that would change if I were a woman.
If I were a woman, I would never cry over a boy because when I was young, my father pointed at the front door of our house and asked me if I knew how many boys lived outside that door. When I shook my head, he told me there were billions, and that one boy was never worth crying over. And although that happened in this life, the one in which I am a man, I hope that I would believe the same thing if I were a woman.
I would get married. I would get married in the same church in which I received First Communion and Confirmation. And the wedding would be Catholic, and my dad would walk me down the aisle, and my mom would cry, and I would make eye contact with her throughout the ceremony just for the reassurance that she was there. Later, I’d have kids. I’d have kids with the person who loves me, and I would feel privileged for the opportunity. I would have more than one, and I would pack their lunches, and read to them at night, and I would find a way to pay for soccer uniforms, and art supplies, and ballet lessons. And they would never want for love.
If I were a woman, I would want men to know how hard it is to be a woman, but I would never give anyone, male or female, a glimpse of the hardship in me.
But that's only if I were a woman.