To say that I don’t know much about women is a little like saying that I don’t know much about cell phones.
I certainly like them a lot and am somewhat comfortable with them, I just have no idea how they work. Also, I often mess up with them, but really have no idea what I did wrong.
I grew up a rather geeky boy with lots of friends who were not-quite-as geeky boys. I had an older sister, but she mainly just stayed in her room (which I was never to enter) or she was hanging out with her friends, so I really didn’t know that much about her.
As a single dad with a son, our interests focused mostly on things like superheroes, sports, wrestling and Star Wars. Women certainly like all of those items, too (how could anyone not like them?) but they generally were male-dominated types of interests.
Now that I am married to my wife and have a stepdaughter, I have learned many new things about women and about the world in general.
For example, I never realized just how many makeup aisles there are in the grocery store. I never went down those aisles previously, so I never noticed that there are so many types of lipstick and other make-up things that all look the same.
When my stepdaughter goes with me to the store, for example, she sometimes wants to look in one of these aisles and will ask me for help.
“Is this what you want?” I might ask.
“No, that’s lip balm,” she will say.
“What about this?” I then say.
“No, that’s gloss,” she will respond.
“Ok, well this is it, then, this is lipstick. Is this what you want?”
“Yes, but not that shade.”
“Aren’t they all red?”
How can there be so many different “shades” when they are all just red or brown!?!. Not only that, but there are about 30 different brands, and they all have 20 shades of red and brown. I have no idea how anyone ever picks out makeup, and how they can do it in less than an hour.
One day I got super lucky when I noticed that there was a “Star Wars” brand of makeup, and I suggested that to my stepdaughter, who happened to love the shade and was impressed with my choice. I, of course, had no idea what the color was or what type of make-up item it was, but I liked that it was Star Wars brand.
“This is the make-up you are looking for,” I said to her, while using The Force, and it worked perfectly.
Other times she will look for hair products or other items, and I am just stunned that there are so many choices that all seem to be the same thing. It’s like if I wanted to buy shoestrings, but there were suddenly 50 different shades of black and I had to choose just the right one for my work shoes. (Normally, I just tie my broken shoelaces together, as I don’t want to spend money on new shoelaces.)
After she shops for a while, she will find something she likes, but then she worries that it costs too much so she will want to look for a longer time to try to find something less expensive.
By this time, I am weary of being in the makeup and I am feeling self-conscious. Every time another female enters in the aisle, I worry that they will wonder why this strange man is in there looking at blush (although it does bring out my high cheekbones…) or I worry they won’t feel comfortable shopping while I am in there so I go pretend to look at swimming pool toys in the nearby aisle.
I don’t have a pool and don’t even really like swimming, but I have become an expert on pool filtration systems and floating noodles.
My stepdaughter tends to think, correctly, that I am just overthinking things, but I tend to do this in most things in life, so I find it comforting.
Eventually, I will beg her to buy anything, no matter the price, so we can leave the aisle, and then we continue with our shopping.
It’s much different from the race in and out of the store, as quickly as possible, that my son and I used to do, but I have grown to like this new way of shopping.
Living with my wife and stepdaughter, I have found that they talk about different things than my son and I did, and notice all kinds of items that we never brought up. Do you notice people’s eye colors? I never do, but they always do. I don’t get it.
My stepdaughter and my wife are also always hugging their friends and talking about things other than sports, wrestling and Spiderman. I don’t really know what else there is to talk about, but they seem to enjoy it.
It’s all a mystery to me, but it’s a mystery I feel lucky to be investigating. I think I am about as likely to figure out how to turn my toaster into a cell phone as I am to completely understand all of these changes, but I’m happy to be along for the ride, even if it takes me down the makeup aisle once a week or so.