I have Female Hysteria

I accept that for the better part of a century we’ve been saying that Female Hysteria isn’t a real thing. Misogyny kept women locked in small lives with no intellectual, emotional, creative, sexual, or legislative outlet. Then they put us in institutions when we acted out. Men made the rules and we had to walk the line. But…bear with me…What if Female Hysteria is a little bit real? And what if I have it? In this the year of our lord 2019, me a woman of sound mind and good education, thinks she has a 19th century disease that was treated with masturbation and naps.

First Symptom: I am irrationally angry all the time. Today I asked a woman how to find a section in the grocery store and I nearly grabbed her by her lapels and screamed in her face, “Your pause is too long! Why isn’t your brain and mouth moving faster! I WANT TO BITE YOUR FACE!” Intellectually, I understand she gave me the information in a reasonable length of time. But I felt unhinged. Here is a short list of things that have enraged me lately:

  • The laughter of a child

  • A dog wearing a hat that didn’t match his personality.

  • The general lack of things in the color orange

  • A guy I used to date posted a picture of his shoes on Instagram

  • I’m the wrong height. I’m too tall to be average, but too short to be tall. 5’9 is the worst.

  • Everything has cumin in it

  • Actor Zachary Levi’s face in Shazam

    Any number of these things could have driven me to peel all my skin off and throw my bloody skin suit at the nearest bystander.

Second Symptom: Food tastes weird. Everything is too sweet, or too salty, or too spicy. What do I love? SUGAR. What do I love only slightly less? SALT. What is something I’ve never said in my life up until a month ago? “It’s a little spicy.” I was putting hot sauce on my eggs when I was six. And yet suddenly I’m one of those people who can taste different flavors in ketchup.

Third Symptom: I have zero interest in sex, but I have a desperate need to have it. I am straight and yet I hate all men most of the time. You have to talk to them so much before they’ll let you have sex with them. They all had childhoods. They all have friends, and jobs, and hobbies. And if I don’t pretend to care I don’t get to have sex. And masturbation seems so time consuming. If I have ten minutes I should probably load the dishwasher and put a load of laundry in the machine.

Fourth Symptom: I think everyone is out to get me. I’m not necessarily paranoid. Three people are actually out to get me. But that feels like a lot and my mind is conflating it into everyone.

People currently plotting against me: (1) A coworker who thinks I’m responsible for her changed circumstances and wants to see my fortunes fall (2) A buddy’s wife. She thinks I had sex with him. I did not. But I can’t prove I didn’t. You can’t prove a negative (3) My neighbor thinks that I am the one who clogs the garbage chute and has enlisted other residents in surveillance to catch me.

See? Anger. Observable Neurological changes. Loss of libido. Paranoia. FEMALE HYSTERIA.

Still not convinced? I know it is female hysteria because it goes away when I am given time to myself, bland food, orgasms, and a low-stress environment. So although the original diagnosis was just woman-hating bullshit. There is an actual human condition in which sometimes you need to have someone give you a very clinical orgasm, and then tell you everyone around you is a jerk and should try harder not to upset you. I will immediately begin to secure funding for a sanitarium for women like myself. High thread count sheets, Netflix, and gardens to drink tea in.

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Make-Up Confuses Me

I spend a fair amount of time hating my personality because I’m socially awkward. When I die they should carve on my headstone “Ugh. Why did I say that?!?!?!” But although I don’t always enjoy my personality, I tend to be okay with my looks. I look like my parents,  they were nice looking people, and I loved them. And I like to see them. My father is long dead and my mother lives far away. It is nice to see them when I’m brushing my teeth.
 
The Mirror Has Two Faces is not a good movie. I love it. Regardless, it is crap. But there is one great line in the movie. The protagonist played by mildly deranged fame demon Barbara Streisand is talking to her future husband and he comments on the fact that she doesn’t wear makeup. And she says, “What’s the point? I’d still look like me, only in color.” It isn’t magic. You don’t wave the mascara wand around, say some incantations and get a new face. You get a face that is shinier or more matte. You get eyes that look slightly bigger and lips that are a different color and maybe a little fuller. But it is still your face. And since I’m cool with my face it always felt like it wasn’t worth the hassle.
 
I am aware that I have some facial features that years of human evolution have deemed as more attractive than others. And I don’t have acne or wrinkles. I’m also lacking in birth marks and scars.  So it is easier for me to say “Eh. That’s acceptable” versus someone who has to deal with excessive external criticism regarding their looks. But since when has being pretty stopped anyone from feeling shitty about their looks and being makeup and plastic surgery obsessed? What’s that you said? Oh. Right. Never. So it isn’t that.
 
I suspect it is a form of complacency that I’ve decided is contentment. I am currently as beautiful as I will ever be. It is all downhill from here. I can’t afford plastic surgery and am not healthy enough to risk having it. Therefore, thinking up reasons why I need it would be counterproductive to my desire to be happy.
 
And I don’t worry much about being pretty because it isn’t my job. I’m not a model or actress. No one pays me to be pretty, so I don’t have to be good at it. The insurance company that has the honor of being my day job would hypothetically pay me the same amount to do my job if I wore makeup. I say hypothetically because I do not know what the most beautiful women in the office make and I have never consistently shown up to the office looking like something other than the kind of woman who reads a lot and has never accomplished a successful cat-eye. Since what we’re building towards is me starting to wear makeup, soon we may find out.
 
I don’t have many friends who are not daily makeup wearers. One doesn’t know how to apply it. And another is allergic to everything and swelling and open sores don’t bring all the boys to the yard. So I have had ample opportunity to ask “Why is it that you do the thing that you do with your face?”
Reasons:
1)      “I have bad skin.” I’m not sure who decides what is good or bad skin. But my understanding of the standard is that it is smooth and one even skin tone. This is also virtually impossible to accomplish past your 12th birthday. People constantly compliment me on my skin. It is three distinct colors. We should have separate skin standards for adults and children.
2)      “I look tired.” Umm…Bitch, you are tired. You have kids/a job/an annoying husband/insomnia/a casual cocaine habit or combination of two or more. If we all look tired, no one looks tired. New Standard! Who’s with me? *crickets*
3)      “I don’t have any eyelashes if I don’t put on mascara.” You demonstrably DO have eyelashes if you can apply mascara. If you don’t have alopecia universalis then you are being overdramatic and allowing Maybelline to pimp you out to make them rich.
4)      “I don’t want to look old.” Yeah. This is a tough one. I don’t want to be mean. But if you are worried about looking old you probably already do or makeup isn’t going to help. You’ll just look less like you’re going to die today. And before you come for me with your “Easy for you to say. Black don’t crack.” I beg to differ. Black just takes longer to crack, but it almost always cracks. I’m going to look the same way I do today until I’m 60. And then in what will seem has been overnight I will look 110 years old. I’ve seen it happen. It is like there is an invisible army that shoves black women into meat dehydrators when they least expect it. And then we find ourselves whining, “But I used to look so good.”
5)      “I like it/I like how it looks/It is fun.” Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere. This makes sense to me. In this scenario no one is internalizing impossible to achievable beauty standards that slowly poison their soul until they’re writing into their will how they want their hair and makeup done at their funeral.

Since all of my readers are smart and ask the right questions, you’re wondering why if I don’t feel like I need it and I don’t like it, why am I going to start wearing makeup again. Excellent. Good for you. It is because I recently through careful examination realized that the kind of men that I want to attract like women who wear makeup. That when you put on makeup it signals to the world that you prepared to be noticed and want to be looked at. Wearing makeup says “I wanted to look my best for you.” It doesn’t matter that what I think is my best look is “$50 richer and slept 10 more minutes.” In order to achieve the desired result we must take the appropriate action. (Insert eye-roll) So I will wear makeup every day for two weeks, and see if I notice any positive change in how the world treats me. I’ll let you know. So prepare yourself for a bitter diatribe on how superficial the world is. Or just a video of me twirling and laughing with a scrubbed clean face shining with triumph.

Me. With varying amounts of color  applied to my face.

Me. With varying amounts of color  applied to my face.

Crazy, Sexy, Cool...But Not Really

About a year ago I found myself kind of done with men. And not in a "I kissed a girl/And I liked it"-way. I kissed a girl like 20 years ago and I liked it well enough, but have never found a reason to do it again. I was done with men the way you get fed up with a former favorite restaurant. "You know, it used to be really good. But the last three or four times I went there I was so disappointed" So I was retired. And then I learned what people had been telling me since I was 13 was indeed true. Many, not all, but many men are attracted to ambivalence or being treated with disdain. And now I get hit on constantly. 

I do not understand this. My favorite thing about any lover is that he's really nice to me almost all the time. But this has not been a shared interest with the men I've met lately. If my attitude towards men was a person she would address people like this, "Ugh. What do you want? Really?!?!? You want to flirt with me? How dare you. You are late. Ten years ago I was sweet and fun and open and capable of love. Now i'm like a piece of gum you found under a table. Sure I'm still gum, the same way I'm still a woman, but someone has chewed all the flavor out of me, and I will never be sweet again. So just let me eat this burrito in peace."  This is how I usually feel. But it is not how I felt about the guy I met at Rite Aid last night. 

I did not get his name but I will call him Jean-Pierre, because I call all my imaginary boyfriends Jean-Pierre. And I will go into that another time. Jean-Pierre held the door open for me and smiled. He asked me how I'm doing and I responded with "I'm wonderful. How are you?" and gave him a coquettish little smile over my shoulder as I headed toward the potato chips. And he tossed back "Wonderful. Really wonderful now that I've seen beautiful." I giggled, while not giving much thought to him. I was trying to catch a train in 9.5 minutes. But I ran into him again near  nutritional supplements. He smiled and I felt all silly and goofy and wished he'd just ask for my number. But he didn't and I noticed he was going in the direction of the registers. Oh well. Time to finish shopping and catch that train. I grabbed my supplements and some "personal care" products. Pads, OK? I was buying pads. And not just any pads but Always Discreet Sensitive Bladder Long Supreme. I have my reasons and they will be revealed shortly.

I picked up a Little Debbie apple pie and went to the register. Where he was still waiting. Some demon sent to test me was arguing with the cashier about the cost of toilet paper and had held up the line.  Jean-Pierre was still in line. So there I stood behind him with my arms full: bag of Jalapeno Kettle Chips, four bottles of supplements, an enormous package of basically adult diapers, and a deep-fried apple pie.

They opened up another register at the same time that Jean-Pierre got to the front of his line. So we stood side by side checking out. And I tried misdirection and chattered and pointed out other things in the store so he wouldn't look at my purchases. But of course he looked. And he raised an eyebrow and smiled. And when he left the store he gently touched my shoulder and said, "Hey you take care of yourself" in the most earnest, talking to your grandma way.

I wanted to chase after him and at least try to run him through the flirtation cycle I call THE TLC after their 1994 album Crazy/Sexy/Cool. I first say or do something Crazy, then I manage to be about 15% Sexy, and then I try really hard to convince the guy I'm Cool. Here's how it played out in my mind as my feet itched to run out the door and catch him.

CRAZY: I scream "I DON"T PEE IN THESE!" while waving  the Always Discreet at him.

SEXY:  I just have really heavy periods. If I don't use these my panties look like a communist country's flag. You know...If I wear panties *wink* But the other 26 days of the month my vagina is awesome and you could see it if you want. 

COOL: Oh and these supplements are just for my chronic pain. (in Matthew McConaughey-like voice) I mean my body is breaking down, but hey isn't everybody's, man. Like we should all just accept and love each other in our imperfection. Because dude, we're all just made up of matter that used to be something else. We're all like part dinosaur. Nothing is every lost or destroyed. We're all just changing. I'm entering into my middle-aged chrysalis and you can be there when I become a butterfly. 

This of course would not have worked. I was already cemented in his mind as a broken down old lady full of tablets and gushing urine. Just a hollowed husk of a woman he was now flirting with out of pity. 

While there will be a segment of you who say I should only buy potentially embarrassing things when I am certain no one hot is around, I can't take on that pressure. I can't live my life like there is a Jean-Pierre lurking behind every corner. I need to be able to buy lube and a 12 pack of AA batteries without worrying about being judged, because they were in fact being purchased for two unrelated reasons. And I need to wear weird hats, or not brush my teeth before running out for coffee, or verbally abuse pigeons. I love hats. Almost more than I hate pigeons. I accept that I will meet men who are not repelled by my shitty demeanor, and I may be won over by that and smile, and then they will not understand all the stuff I've got going on, and not be interested anymore. And that isn't my fault. IT IS THEIR FAULT. They should've shown their asses up ten years ago when I didn't need industrial pads, or take supplements, or defiantly eat Little Debbie snacks