Millions of girls around the world have been referred to as “tomboys” from the time they were a child. In my case, as well as many others, this is known as “having an older brother” or “liking sports.” Whereas in younger years tomboys are treated as rough-and-tumble little ladies going through a phase, people seem to forget that it’s not always temporary.
For example, through high school, being in softball is just considered the standard for girls who actually want to be playing baseball. Once in college, playing softball is considered the standard for girls who actually want to be hooking up with other girls.
I don’t know what that’s supposed to say about me — I’ve never been on a softball team, but I have spent hours upon hours over the course of my life throwing a ball up in the air for myself to catch with an old MacGregor Big Mac baseball glove that was left in the garage when my dad left for a “fresh start” (it’s okay — I love that glove).
While some tomboys do end up more stereotypically feminine (which is also cool), others are left to ask themselves questions like “How do I get guys I’m interested in to understand that I’m not just pretending to be into football?” and “Will people think I’m gay if I wear flannel when it’s cold outside?” I, for one, am still searching for the answers.
Like the tree-climbing, stick sword fighting little rascals we have been since our youth, tomboys have learned to make use of our resources. Look — I don’t want to show up to a formal event wearing a dress. What if I have a joke to make that requires high kicks or general acrobatics? I’m not gonna wear a suit because, frankly, that’s gay. But a nice romper? Hell yeah.
Tomboys are not as likely to be found wearing a short dress and heels when it’s 10 degrees outside, but there’s a time and a place for everything. Wearing a scuba suit may be more efficient at the beach, but while sand may end up places it doesn’t belong, I’m gonna wear a bikini because it looks better and my stomach could really use a post Wisconsin winter tan.
Straight women who are tomboys have a delicate line to walk. They fulfill certain lesbian stereotypes, so here and there, forcing a sentence into a conversation that begins with something like “I went on a date with this guy…” is warranted for clarity. However, if this is done too much, people may think they’re in denial.
Further, there is the concern that actual lesbians (or bisexuals/pansexuals/whatever floats your boat) will be offended by the clarification as though it’s homophobic. In reality, nobody likes incorrect assumptions being made about them. Someone could be like “I heard Mackenzie doesn’t like hot dogs” and I would emphatically defend myself to make it clear that I actually love hot dogs despite their reputation as miscellaneous meat scrap tubes — which they are. In fact, last Sunday (the Lord’s day), I waited in the drive-thru line at Portillo’s for nearly half an hour at approximately 3:15 p.m. for a single Chicago style hot dog and a diet coke served in a styrofoam cup.
In conclusion, straight tomboys, we need to start having meetings. Preferably with a snack schedule, but don’t bring clementines — eating fruits and vegetables is important, but I envision this as more of a Gushers and Pizza Rolls situation.
Mackenzie is the first ever editor of The Beet and actually made of over 62% beet.