Yin and Yang *

I was a tomboy. A serious one. I climbed (clamb? clumb?) trees, played ball, stayed dirty, picked up and handled snakes and lizards, fought regularly and tormented my siblings.

In other words, I acted like a boy. No offense to you boys out there. I’m still firmly convinced I had more fun than most girls growing up.

My daughter though? She was a princess. Almost literally. She had the tiara and the loyal subjects (in the form of my entire family) and the outfits. I took her to Lowe’s one time and the greeter said to her, ‘Hello, Princess!’. My daughter looked up at me (she was maybe 6 at the time) and said, ‘See??’. The ‘I told you so, Bitch, now step off and get me a juicebox‘, being tacitly understood.

Now as a former tomboy, I never assumed my daughter would be into the princess thing. If anything, given my love of all things boyish, I assumed my daughter would, well, be like me. Because who wouldn’t want to be like me? (No need to hear from the peanut gallery here!)

But, she was a girly girl. Refused to wear pants. Learned how to fix her hair early on, because I was really only good for pigtails (which she hated) and ponytails (which were only minimally better, in her opinion). Shaved her legs for the first time at age 9. Which she totally did not have my permission to do, in case anyone was questioning my sanity.

But what makes one girl a tomboy and another a princess?

Was I a tomboy simply because I grew up with 4 brothers in a neighborhood full of boys and it was an environmental thing? Maybe. It seems reasonable. But somehow, I think I would have been a tomboy no matter what.

Is my daughter a princess because I bought her frilly clothes and Disney princess movies?

Well, I also bought her her first baseball glove at the same ridiculously young age as I did her brothers. I taught her how to throw and catch baseballs and footballs. I taught her how to dribble and shoot a basketball.

She didn’t mind those things, and in fact was quite good at them. She simply wasn’t all that interested and mostly indulged me until she could get back to her Barbies.

She’s still quite the princess, though she’s modified it a bit. She’s 1/2 Valley Girl (like, OMG!) and 1/2 Goth. Which is interesting when you consider that (a) she’s never been to California and (b) she’s never been dead (she’s been close though. She’s about one eye roll away from a pine box at any given time).

Oh, and I’m still a tomboy. A tomboy who hates bugs and will beat you up if you come near me with one. Oh, and also, I like jewelry now. And I’m not talking about attaching an empty Cicada shell to my shirt, either.

So which are you? Tomboy or Princess? Obviously this question is intended for the girls in the audience, but if you boys want to share, we’d love to hear about your princess proclivities. Heh.

Also, what makes one a Tomboy or a Princess? Is it Nature or Nuture?

* which always sounded vaguely dirty to me.


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