March 1st, 2013
What is a Woman?

After re-reading Esquire’s 2009 essay ‘What is a Man‘ recently, we decided it was about time to figure out what a woman was:

A woman believes that being prepared for the day includes remembering to carry chapstick.  A woman dislikes her natural love for sleeping in late. For some reason, a woman always looks great in lipstick and a baseball cap, even if she owns neither. A woman hates running out of candles and taking out the trash, especially if there is thick liquid or glass beer bottles involved. A woman would much rather not do push-ups, which she forces herself to do even though they make her feel like she is in prison. She doubts she will ever get better at them and yet she is accustomed to carrying much heavier things in her arms. A woman takes off her makeup before going to sleep. A woman laughs when things are actually funny and is quick to point out at the expense of Daniel Tosh when they are not. A woman is never done plucking her eyebrows. A woman wants to know what the nutritional difference between ‘wheat’ and ‘whole wheat’ is, but cannot be bothered to look it up.  A woman doesn’t smell all that bad without deodorant. A woman never forgets to set her alarm.

A woman is constantly in the middle of having deep, ongoing conversations with a dozen people whom she checks up on at least every three days or so, pinning to the inside of her brain the article mentioned by one, what another said would be a good song to download, each with time-sensitive tags that require her feedback and which she believes might be made better by setting a personal course of action, like sending somebody flowers. Tiger lilies, red poppies, big yellow sunflowers, roses. A woman is not above making up reasons to write – post-its, to-do lists, letters. A woman is reluctant to throw out shoe boxes because they make excellent storage units for keepsakes. A woman owns at least one peeled over photograph of her mother on her wedding day and at least one gooey acrostic poem written to her in sixth grade on Valentine’s Day by the object of her simultaneous attraction and repulsion, Rob.

A woman knows she looks awesome naked and she loves watching your face thinking the same exact thing, too. A woman likes the sight of her cleavage, no matter what size her breasts are. A woman knows that the stringiest thongs are the most practical and sexy of all, but that doesn’t mean she likes wearing them. A woman hate thongs. A woman hates wearing pantyhose. A woman loves wearing sweatpants. A woman cannot wait to go home and put on that pair of baggy grey sweatpants with that big hole in the crotch. A woman always notices: jawbones, shoulders, abs, eyebrows, ass. A woman knows all of the words to one Tupac or Biggie Smalls song.  A woman wishes she could redefine the word cunt for everybody’s benefit.

A woman knows there is no such thing in the world as a ‘free dinner.’  On a first date, a woman wants to go Dutch and she would have kissed you, if you had just leaned in a little bit closer. A woman calls you and promptly leaves a voicemail so that you know exactly why she called you. A woman is open to the idea of a romantic lunch. A woman asks you out. A woman pays, a woman treats, especially to ice-cream. Unsuccessful male bartenders have perpetuated the myth that women dislike the taste of alcohol. Actually, woman love gin. Woman love scotch. Women love tequila – women breathe in tequila. Women love swirling booze around in a glass with tumbling rocks, left-eye squinted before casting a dart.

A woman snacks in her house, in her office, everywhere, on salted caramel cashews, wasabi peas, on a never-ending slab of cheese and fig jam and crackers. There is a cluster of watermelon Jolly ranchers that a woman has kept in a glass jar since she was a little girl and she is known to slip them unknowingly into her mouth when she is reading a briefing or a book or sending a text message reminder to her Dad to go to the dentist tomorrow in the morning, and other such solitary and minute occasions.

A woman raises daughters to be sons and sons to be daughters. A woman wants for other people’s children to love her: that includes that Chinese woman’s drooling adolescent daughter in the blue Cartoon Network t-shirt in the third car on the subway. All women believe that helpless mothers with crying infants on airplanes will one day have their redemption.

A woman believes that beauty is the one natural cure for everything and remains permanently unaware that such a cure includes herself. At any age, a woman is pursuing higher education. A woman is over-practicing self-assessment. A woman is getting a raise. A woman spends a lifetime wrestling with her intelligence. Her intelligence usually wins. A woman learns to do the things that no one else will: file a 1090, speak Spanish, use mental arithmetic at the grocery store, give directions. A woman has multiple senses of duty that frequently come into conflict with each other. A woman intuits effects and believes in causes. A woman is an expert at alleviating pain.

A woman is self-conscious about her mouth but never realizes when she is biting her lip. A woman believes that her temperament is predetermined by the color, cut, consistency, etc. of her hair – and sometimes, she must change it. A woman enjoys the idea of a sustained bath more than the actual undertaking of it: something about the soapy water making fake wrinkles on her skin.

A woman can always feel sad for an infinite number of abstract reasons and while she doesn’t always know why, she knows that it is essentially good for her to at once feel the heavy weight of the world, from time to time. A woman is the most romantic person in the world because she bares all, whether or not she knows it. For example, a woman is always the first to notice when there is a sunset. A woman is guilty of finishing the toilet paper with no intention of ever replacing it.

All women love rain.

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