The Girl Manual

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Yes, there’s a Girl Manual. It’s a book that teaches girls how to be girls and keep at it through womanhood. Yes, I’ve read it.

Most of it, that is.

I skipped a few chapters. I paid close attention to the chapter on male-female interaction (which, despite my highlighting and dog-earing,did me little good). I read the chapter on emotional independence (even though I didn’t heed it much until late college). I frequently revisit the chapter on how to be a good daughter. I devoured the chapter on how to be an intelligent female (no matter what popular culture tells you you must be). I carefully marked all the sections on God’s view of women (a deeper love than most would imagine) and remind myself of those daily.

I skipped the chapter on cosmetology.

Sometimes, when I visit friends’ homes, I’ll enter the restroom to be confronted by a room of mysteries. Straighteners. Curlers. Tweezers. Powders. Creams. Minerals. Waxes. Lacquers. Highlighters. Lowlighters. Buffers. Trimmers. Sprays. Thousands of bottles and little tiny boxes for smearing and polishing and coloring and glueing and changing.

Most girls take delight in all of the above, own all of the above, and know how to use all of the above. I’m not trying to demean those ladies in any way. To each her own.

I’m just saying that I’ve never really understood what the fuss is all about. Is it to impress the men? Most girls would say “yes,” but most men (at least the ones I’ve asked) say they prefer an unpainted face to a painted one. So we’re trying to impress…each other?

Having struggled with persistent acne for over a year now (and some have struggled with it from adolescence onward), I can understand the desire to cover, to alter, to balance, to change. That I understand, perhaps now more than ever.

Most women believe they are ugly. That is why the cosmetology chapter exists.

(And most of us aren’t. Culture tells us we’re ugly and we need to change. That’s another post for another day.)

And even though most of the cosmetology chapter doesn’t make much sense to me, there is one part I wish I could master:

I wish I knew how to do cool things with my hair. I have a lot of it (it hasn’t been cut in a year), and it sort of hangs around my head in a quasi-wavy mane. It’s great, but it gets in may face, and putting it up rips the hair by my scalp and gives me wispy bangs. Pulling it back sometimes does the same. So usually I either let it hang, push it back with a headband, or so a side braid.

I dearly wish I could figure out how to do something with a little more variety. Something that doesn’t involve waking up at 5:30 to apply hot curlers (which I don’t have) or hairspray (which I don’t have) or a billion bobby pins (actually, I have about a billion of those, so there’s a start).

Maybe dreads….

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