The only girl in the room

In our previous episode, I extolled the virtues of a clawfoot tub and Jo Malone bath oil. Soft skin. Nice scent. A girly girl, no?

I like being a woman. No: I love being a woman.

I like men. I don’t want to sleep with one, but I like working with them.

Men dominate my profession and work environment to a greater degree than any other profession. At my level, I’m usually the only woman in the room. Usually, I’m the person with the ultimate responsibility to the owner or the bank.

I want my style to send three messages:

  • I am a woman.
  • I am selling competence.
  • Everything else is a distraction.

My style is quiet, conservative, traditionally feminine. A dress or a skirt, knee length. Not short. Not tight. Not peek-a-boo. Blue, gray or a neutral color. Flats or low pumps. Nude stockings. Light natural makeup. Natural hair color, medium length. A little gold or pearl necklace. Stud earrings.

I’m not Barbie. I’m not selling sex. I’m not making a political point. I’m not a canvas for tattoos or a pegboard for piercings.

Is that bending to heteronormativity? Advancing the patriarchy? I don’t care. I have a job to do: Build or fix something. Something useful. Something that makes people’s lives better. That job is far more important than smashing the patriarchy.

Besides, I like this style. It’s comfortable. It doesn’t distract from the message. Am I brainwashed? A cowardly conformist? So be it.

Of course, if I’m inspecting conduit or storm drains, I wear a Pendleton plaid shirt, Levi 5o5’s, Red Wing boots, a neckerchief, leather work gloves, a hardhat and Chapstick.

Just call me Butch.

As in, You just keep thinkin’, Butch. That’s what you’re good at.


I am a woman who loves being a woman and loves being with a woman who loves being a woman.

My Love is a woman who loves being a woman and loves being with a woman who loves being a woman.

And by “woman”, I mean “traditionally feminine woman”. Brainwashed by the heteronormative patriarchy? A PhD engineer and a woman with an advanced quantitative degree and the founder of a successful enterprise? A couple of highly successful women in overwhelmingly male fields? If you say so.

We both wear dresses or skirts to work every day. We wear them on weekends, too, unless we’re doing something that calls for something a little more rough-and-ready.

She wears designer shifts and sheaths, which she has subtly tailored. She wants to send the message that a woman is in charge. She wears flats, except when she wears her cowgirl boots.

I wear Brooks Brothers button-down shirts, pencil skirts and loafers. I dress that way for Miss B.

I’ve never seen my Love wear anything with a heel higher than her cowgirl boots. I don’t wear heels.

We wear makeup. Not much, though. You’d never notice it.

She wears her hair shoulder-length. Mine is bobbed at the neck and tucked behind the ear.

We are feminine, but neither of us is girly.

When we’re out West, we wear Pendleton shirts and blue jeans. It’s not lesbian code, however; it’s what everybody wears.