I went to my yearly salon visit this week in Wilmington and was treated like a queen by a sweet woman named Skylar. We talked about pets, her recent wedding, my time in Massachusetts, and more frivolous topics like being barefoot.
“I don’t really love wearing shoes,” I said to her.
“Oh, like in the house?” she replied.
“Like anywhere,” I said.
I wear shoes in public and in gross places like the chicken run, but generally speaking, I just don’t wear them. You’ll never see me in the house with my shoes on. Yesterday, Gisele and I went for a quick turn around the neighborhood because I said the word “ride” and she tilted her head. I didn’t wear shoes.
“So, are you a Tomboy?” Skylar asked.
“I think I am.” I was remarkably flattered by the comment.
I’ve never considered myself one because I never really played team sports and that’s what I thought it meant as a kid. Generally speaking, the term is odd. Why is all the fun stuff reserved for the boys, like getting dirty, playing baseball, and using power tools?
Tomboy is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a girl who behaves in a manner usually considered boyish.”
What manners are boyish?
My best friend, Kim, and I used to roam the neighborhood in our bathing suits when we were little. We’d walk down Camp Jahn Road where I lived with fishing poles resting on our shoulders and no shoes on. We didn’t wash our hands at all during the day, and we’d put our dirty hands in a bag of O’Grady’s chips and lick our fingers. Were we tomboys?
What precisely makes someone a tomboy? I asked Max and Baylee, and they gave me a list, “Fishing, overalls, skateboarding, wearing their baseball hat backwards, baggy clothes, no makeup, slouching, she doesn’t care what she looks like, barefoot, skater shoes, getting dirty.”
“So I’m a tomboy?” I asked because this list pretty much describes me, save one or two.
Max smirked sideways which I’m guessing is because he doesn’t want his mom to be one, which shows he doesn’t consider the word a term of endearment. I think this is a shared opinion in our society.
“Would you guys date a tomboy?” I asked them.
“That depends on how much of a tomboy they are,” Max said. “I wouldn’t mind dating someone that has tomboy qualities, but not a complete tomboy.”
“What is a complete tomboy?” I asked.
“I would like someone more feminine,” he said.
I’ve used the term before many times and never considered the meaning or origin of it. Thinking about it now, I realize it’s just silly for it to even exist. It’s insulting to suggest we girls should stay in our role decorated by frills and flowers while we quietly sit with our shaved legs closed.