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Confessions of a middle aged tomboy.

 
 
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 04:02 pm
I admit it - I was a tomboy. I'm still a tomboy.

When you get to be my age though, I believe they call it "low-maintanence".

I was thinking about growing up tomboy today so I started doing a little research. I was surprised to find that quite a bit of research has been done to determine why some girls are tomboys.

All I really learned from this research is that I'm really glad that I grew up before there was "gender identification disorder" and that my parents just let me be a tomboy.

As I continue to ponder my tomboy history, I'm curious about other tomboys. Maybe you were/are a tomboy yourself. (Did you too grow up to be a low maintanence girl?) Maybe you married a tomboy. (Why do you dig a tomboy?) Maybe your daughter is a tomboy. (Do you secretly worry that she's gay? I intend to ask my mom this very question when I see her.)

What do you think about tomboys?

Thanks!
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 04:27 pm
I was a weird tomboy. I loved to dress up -- my absolute favorite possession was a sequinny, feathery, fringey circus outfit circa 1940 or so that a friend of my mom's gave me -- but in terms of activities I was often more interested in doing what the boys were doing. I played tackle football. I popped wheelies.

Academically, too, I was usually in competition with the boys for best at math, etc. That was probably my most tomboyish trait, in general -- I was fiercely competitive. Still am, but less so, learned to modulate. With guys, competition was fun/ a way of bonding. With girls, they'd get all upset. So that was one reason I tended to get along with guys.

This was true up until my pick-up basketball days, girls wanted to be all cooperative and pass the ball 'n' stuff, I just wanted to let elbows fly and drive to the basket. But the guys' feelings weren't hurt, they'd laugh approvingly if the elbow was particularly skillfully planted.

I'm sometimes impatient with the whole "female" way of communicating in general.

I never really looked like a tomboy, though. Except makeup, just feel silly in more than some liptint.

Sozlet seems to be following in my footsteps in all of these respects -- "acts" like a boy, looks like a girl -- we'll see.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 04:32 pm
i've always been attracted to "tomboy' girls, i love somebody who's more comfortable in jeans and a t shirt than a skirt and blouse

when i was a kid i had huge crushes on both kristie mc nicol and jodie foster (boy was i way off base there), but generally that kinda girl has always been the type i go for
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 04:38 pm
That brings up the really interesting point of what exactly is a "tomboy", soz.

To me, matters of appearance play a pretty big part in it.

I can remember my parents trying to cram me into dresses for special occassions. It was miserable for me.

I remember hitting puberty and trying to fit in with girls. It was really hard.

As to girl communication.... don't even get me started! I never got it. I can't do it, either.

Pinpointing the definition of "tomboy" is really difficult!
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 04:41 pm
Funny, djjd - I was trying to think of famous tomboys. I could only come up with Harriet the Spy and Scout Finch (two of my childhood heros). You came up with some good ones!

I know that there are men who like tomboys - I married one and ummm... before that.... ummm.... I never suffered from lack of male attention....
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Lady J
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 04:49 pm
Me too, Boomer! I was a tomboy growing up and to this day, very low maintenance. I have an older brother who is just 15 months older than myself and I always had way more fun hanging out with his friends and jumping out of trees, pretending we were paratroopers and playing baseball and tackle football like soz.

What I loved most was getting his hand me down blue jeans and sweatshirts. They were soooo comfortable! During those days, girls HAD to still wear dresses to school, and I did without complaint, but as soon as I got home, it was my blue jeans and a t-shirt and I was out the door.

Equally though in all fairness, I did have a group of girlfriends too. We would still play dolls and dress up but again, like soz, the girls were always so....emotional. About everything. Debbie was in a fight with Pammy or Doreen was mad at Debbie. The guys never seemed to get mad that way and carry grudges for days the way the girls did.

I was also very competitive, mostly with the guys. I wanted to run faster, jump higher, throw harder, kick the ball further. I liked the respect I got from the boys, even though they would tease me occasionally and say I threw like a girl. Well, duh!

I've been in three knock down drag out fist fights in my life. Two were with guys and one with a girl. I won them all.

Today I am a true mix. I still live mostly in my blue jeans and tees, but I do like getting dressed to the nines now and then when I go out. There's no makeup on my blue jean days and my hair is usually in a ponytail. On dress up nights though or something for business, I can become the epitome of success or the wow woman that walks through the door, carrying myself with confidence and loads of charm.

It's fun being a woman. We can have it all, really. Smile
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Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 04:51 pm
djjd,

You're in the minority when it comes to jeans and t-shirts on women. More power to you...I was never a tomboy, but to this day, my life decisions revolve around wearing jeans. This includes my current and past jobs.

My quills go up when I meet men who say things like:" what about wearing a little black dress..."
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 05:07 pm
I HATE dressing up but otherwise I'm right there with you Lady_J.

I think a big part of it is that people say "You look so nice!". My mom used to do that and it drove me mad -- I thought I looked just fine before and I was comfortable to boot.

Okay, okay.... I do dress up once in a while but I have never worn any heels higher than my cowboy boots!

"Quills." Yep! I know what you mean, Cliff Hanger. My job (in a male dominated profession) requires comfort and manuverability. I could wear skirts or dresses but only if I wanted to show off my underwear.

Shopping is what actually started my whole preponderance of tomboyism. I'm getting ready to do a bit of traveling and that required a bit of shopping. I hate shopping.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 05:16 pm
The ultimate "tomboy" has to have been Mary Read, born in England circa 1685. Mary Read's mother had been abandoned by her second "husband" (there is little evidence about Mary's mother, but a great deal about her, as you'll soon understand), after she had become pregnant with her second child. That child, a boy, died in infancy. Mary's mother then decided upon a ruse to support herself and her daughter. She went to London to the home of her absent husband's mother, and, having dressed Mary as a boy, presented "him" as her son, and begged an income from the woman. She got a crown (five shillings) a week, an extremely generous settlement in that day and age. Mary continued to live life as a boy, no doubt because of the close proximity of her "grandmother." At about age 13 or 14, her "grandmother" either tired of supporting the pair, or was running low on funds, and cut the subsidy to a half-crown. So Mary's mother decided Mary needed to make her way in the world (i suspect she was on the booze, because they could have lived on a half-crown a week as it was), and put out as a footman's boy to a French noblewoman living in London. Mary didn't care at all for her new situation, and ran away, joining the Royal Navy, where she served for about three years as a ship's boy (liable for any "sh*t work" needed) and powder monkey--carrying gunpowder to the guns in battle.

One characteristic that is notable about Mary Read is that she seemed very ambitious to make her way in life. She soon learned that having no patron and no influential friends, she would have no opportunity to become a midshipman and someday become an officer, so she jumped ship in Flanders. She joined the army of the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene, fighting the armies of Louis XIV in Flanders, and became a cornet (a sort of officer candidate) in a regiment of foot. Here she served with great distinction, and was noted in reports for her cool demeanor and courage under fire. But she learned that once again, her humble background and lack of funds would prevent her from becoming an officer. So she transferred to a regiment of horse, with a very high recommendation from her former regimental commander, and again showed the same courage and aplomb under fire, in fact being recommended to favorable attention of the Duke himself as "a courageous and intelligent boy." (Her lack of a beard lead others to constantly consider her an adolescent.) The commander of that cavalry regiment was so impressed that he purchased a commission for Mary, and she finally achieved her goal of becoming an officer.

However, emotion now intervened. She had fallen in love with another cornet, and revealing her true gender to him by the simple expedient of showing her breasts to him, she professed her love. To her delighted surprise, the young man was not put off, and agreed to her suit. They both sold their commissions, but as the lowest rank of officer, the two combined sums would not have provided them much support, but another officer took up their cause. Although it was now commonly known in the army that Mary was in fact a woman, this helped rather than harmed her cause, and a collection was taken up in her old infantry regiment and in the cavalry regiment in which she had recently served, and a trousseau was purchase for her, and combined with the proceeds she and her new husband had gotten from selling their commissions, and inn was purchased for them at Breda.

While the war of the Spanish Succession lasted, they had a good life, as officers and gentlemen with the army made a point of patronizing their inn when they were in Holland. But then peace broke out, and in the same year, Mary's husband died. Either the inn no longer provided sufficient income, or Mary grew restless, because she again donned men's clothing, purchased a commission with the proceeds from the sale of the inn, and joined a Dutch regiment serving on the frontier.

There, her old problem cropped up, she learned that she would likely not qualify for promotion, both because she lacked the funds to purchase a higher rank and no war meant no advancement for merit. So she took ship in a Dutch merchant sailing for the Carribean, as always, in the guise of a man. The ship was taken by pirates in the Leeward Islands, and the standard signing offer was made--sign on or swim. Mary signed on, and when the crew grew restless at what they considered the timidity of their captain, he was deposed, and Mary elected in his place because of courage and fighting abilities.

At that time, another woman had become a pirate in the Carribean. Anne Bonny had been a "bruiser" all her life, at one point while living in South Carolina, she had beaten senseless a boy who attempted to take liberties with her person. Her father, who from the accounts seems to have loved her dearly, moved to the island of New Provindence, in the Bahamas, where Nassau is now located. Anne took fencing lessons there for a short while, until she disarmed her fencing master using the technique he had taught her, and her father decided it was a waste of money to pay the man any longer. He had wanted her to marry, and she did marry Mr. Bonny, but was dissatisfied. She took up with another man, but he was ambitious for a place in the exclusive little world of New Providence "society" which did not appeal to her. After some nasty remark made to her by the daughter of the Governor or Jamaica at a ball at the Govenor's mansion on New Providence, she punched the woman out, knocking out her two front teeth. She then drifted into the society of the smugglers and pirates at New Providence, because she had always been better treated by them than by "society." Her she met John Rackham. Rackham had been quartermaster on a privateer, and when Captain Vane had not seemed ambitious enough for them, there was a mutiny and Rackham was made captain. In 1709, a general pardon had been issued, which Rackham and his crew apparently took advantage of. Rackham dabbled in smuggling, but when the Governor on New Providence announced that letters of marque (a "piracy license") would be issued for war against the Spanish, Rackham assembled a crew and taking Anne Bonny with him, set out to practice his old trade. Fond of brightly colored cotton shirts, he became known as "Calico Jack" Rackham, although style rather than piratical success seems to have been the origin of his fame. By the time Mary Read arrived in the Caribbean, Anne Bonny had been left pregnant in Cuba by Rackham, and her infant son dying, had been taken back aboard by Rackham, and increasingly ran the operation, being much more aggressive than Calico Jack.

Although accounts vary, it seems the Mary Read's ship was taken by Rackham as they sailed for New Providence to get a letter of marque. Given the option to sign on, Mary stepped forward, and is reputed to have said that "and any man with me who is not a dog will sign on as well."

From that time forward, the trio skyrocketed to the top of the piracy business, but not because of Rackham. Anne took an interst in the aggressive "boy," and apparently did not lose her interest on learning that Mary Read was a woman. They were finally taken off the coast of Jamaica in 1720 by an English brig. Mary and Anne were the only ones who put up a real fight, with Mary stepping back to the hatch to swear at the cowards below, and fire her pistol down into the cowering mass of drunken pirates. At their trial, Anne and Mary were said to have been the first on to the deck of any ship taken, and to have been the most ferocious fighters. Jack Rackham was condemned to be hanged, but Anne and Mary "plead their bellies," meaning their sentences were commuted to imprisonment because they were pregnant. Mary Read died of childbed fever in Jamaica, at about age 36 or 37. Anne Bonny was pardoned after the birth of her son, and lived quietly in Port Royale for a few years, under supervision of the government, but one day she and her son disappeard, and were lost to history.

Now that's a real tomboy.

http://www.piratehaus.com/images/woman%20pirate.jpg
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 05:19 pm
LadyJ yer cracking me up!!!
now are you wearing undies under that dress??
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 05:22 pm
http://www.foster-international.net/user_themes2/theme_celebs/images/jodie_foster_02.jpg

jodie foster

http://www5f.biglobe.ne.jp/~ana/tatum_oneal_2.jpg

forgot about tatum oneal (another boyhood crush), and kristie mcnicol
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 05:23 pm
maybe that's why I like Jennifer Garner "tomboy"
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 05:24 pm
I wonder if Jody Foster would have my baby?
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 05:25 pm
I was a tomboy. I ran about with no shoes and mismatched clothes and played any physical game there was to play. And I never brushed my hair.

I can remember being crammed into dresses and told how pretty I looked but wondering why panties had to have ruffles on them that itched my butt. I also wondered why they would make me wear a dress (to church) if it meant that I couldn't play on the monkey bars.

I was an odd child for any sex, I think, but especially as a girl. When I hit puberty I suddenly wanted to change all of that and went through several years of trying very hard to be what I thought normal girls were supposed to be like. In my early twenties, though, I returned to my self and am once again a tomboy.

My daughter is more of a soz-type tomboy. Loves to wear pretty things and look pretty, but boy is she fierce on the playground.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 05:33 pm
That IS a real tomboy, Setanta. Thank you for the great story.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 05:35 pm
One of my favorites, Boss. Any woman who fears she might be too masculine, or her daughter, need only refer to the life of Mary Read to be assured that she is not far from normal.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 05:46 pm
That's what I'm talking about FreeDuck that whole "why bother looking "pretty" if I can't have any fun" thing.

That whole butt itch panty thing - I still feel that way, and about lacy bras too.

And especially that trying hard to be a "normal" girl.....

I'm thinking you fall into the tomboy spectrum where I do. It is an unusual existence, I think, being aware that you are a girl but not feeling girlish.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 05:56 pm
I'm a mix of tomboy and not at all. I suppose I should work out two columns..

- only child who hardly ever played much, running around wise, until we moved to the Chicago area when I turned nine, and I had an instant neighborhood of girlfriends who... ice skated and bicycled and played baseball and basketball and took swimming lessons... but all sort of girlishly, I suppose. I wasn't bad at all that, remember satisfying base hits and home runs, when I played with the neighbors. Clearly girlish, but not a frilly kid. Pedal pushers, jeans, comfort.. but I also had to wear skirts or dresses most of the time - even when I took Trig in summer school at what is now Santa Monica College, we couldn't wear pants, heh, trousers.

- wanted to be an md from age 12. I knew there weren't many women doctors in the fifties, but didn't really have a clue how wildly I had set my sights. Read a fair amount of medical history in my early and mid teens. I didn't think that was boyish, but it was different.

Got interested in good lines in clothes, which I had learned to sew... used vogue patterns, making wool dresses and suits sort of like Jackie Kennedy would wear. Kept on as sort of a tailored type, but then... came the late sixties, early seventies. Light swirly clothing, crocheted items, dangly earrings....
Oh, and jeans, and purple suede.

But... I remember my black velour bikini... sort of tailored in its way. A classic of its type. No ruffles, m'lady.

I guess I don't think of myself as a tomboy, but I have often been the least frilly ruffly girl or woman - though I still am a fool for great earrings.

Then as the seventies progressed, I got interested in art and later in design. So then I started to wear clothes or have various things not because they were new or because they made me look good, so much, as because I liked their structure or lack of it, whether it was a dress or a chair or a garden. I think of my interest in things (I am a materialist, but not so much for riches) and spatial design as a kind of mix and also a matter that somewhat defies gender - not that many people seem tuned in to spatial design, male or female. Hmm, maybe I am a bird, looking down in plan view. To walk down a street with me can subject a person to a running commentary on the place we are passing through.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 06:03 pm
boomerang wrote:
That's what I'm talking about FreeDuck that whole "why bother looking "pretty" if I can't have any fun" thing.

That whole butt itch panty thing - I still feel that way, and about lacy bras too.

And especially that trying hard to be a "normal" girl.....

I'm thinking you fall into the tomboy spectrum where I do. It is an unusual existence, I think, being aware that you are a girl but not feeling girlish.


Yep. I wrote that and then went back and read yours on the last page and went, well duh, she already said that.

Yes about lacy bras -- even about bikinis. If my underwear goes up my butt every time I take a step I'd rather not wear any. I'm a faithful boyleg brief wearer, and I wear what are supposed to be sports bras for day-to-day.

I definitely didn't understand about looking pretty. I remember being sick of my hair always being in my face so I just cut it, right across my forehead. Unfortunately, the next day was picture day, so that one is captured forever.

I should say, though, that all of my sisters were somewhere on the tomboy spectrum, so there wasn't really any chance that I wouldn't be one. Now I'm glad for it. There are times when I look at beautiful women who look so poised and put together and wish that was me or that I could be that. But I usually remember who I am pretty quickly. Yeah, that's not me and if I tried to be it I'd come off like a cheap imitation -- not fooling anyone.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 06:56 pm
Another tomboy checking in.....
 

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