...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Monday, February 25, 2008

'the dude abides'

Over the top of my book, I see my oldest son push 'play' on his Madden 2007 game, then turn to punch his dad in the arm to get his attention. Wondering what was up, I glance at the television and see an army of cheerleaders raising the spirits of those ready to get their virtual game on.

Aha! Pom poms. Or, you know, "Pom poms."

"Nice," I say, my eyes perhaps rolling a little bit.

"DUDE!! What?? He told me to let him know the next time they came on the screen!" my son announces.

I look to my husband, smile, and ask if what his prodigy just said was true.

"It's true, man," he says, eyes barely peeled from the cheerleaders on the screen.

The cheerleaders? Oh, they clearly weren't men. Nor were they dudes. But me? Apparently I'm a dude, man. From my book, to the game screen, to the front of my shirt, I glance down in a brief moment of exaggerated panic to assure myself that, oh, thank goodness, those two things I hang my X chromosomes on are still intact! Woot!


My status as a woman intact, I question just what this whole "dude" and "man" label means when it's applied to a woman. I've been called "dude" with affection and "man" out of laziness. I realize it just gets tossed out in conversation, and most often, it's been used in kindness. It's been most often said to me with endearment. As a means of bonding with the pack. But I admit a bit of annoyance at being called "man."


As my boys get older, I find I'm becoming more of a "dude" than I am "mom," even despite my attempts to alleviate their moniker by responding to them with an occasional "What's up, girlfriend?" When my husband tacks a "man" on to the end of his remarks to me, I sometimes ask if his vision is OK before I answer.

I've been known to use the word "dude" a lot, but when I do, the one I'm using it on is most often a dude. But me? I'm all woman, dude. I know you can't see that for yourself, so let me just prove it to you this way: I don't understand sports (not even Madden 2007, a fact my son manipulates when I play with him and am all, "What are all these plays? Should I be going this way or that? Did I just score a touchdown for your team?"), I suck at poker, and I don't get the allure of watching two straight women make out with each other.

Perhaps the confusion my family's having with my gender is the fact that I apparently sound like a 10 year old boy when I'm on the phone. When my son's friends call, they inevitably begin talking to me as if I am my son, and as kids are prone to when they're focused, I can't get a word in to let them know I'm not their desired objective. This fact allowed me to be a little dude AND pull out my people pleasing female skills last week when the neighbor boy "just called to tell you I'm never going to speak to you again!" because he felt my son had slighted him in some way. After a moment to think, "Geez, who's the girl here?!" (and "Kid, seriously, you accidentally saw me naked, so you know I'm not a boy!"), I was able to pretend to be my son and smooth things over so afternoon playtime would, indeed, remain intact.

In the end, for better or worse, I think I'll inevitably retain a rank as just one of the guys among all my boys. To them, I'm a "dude," "the man," and, for some strange reason, "bro".

Even with the pom poms to prove otherwise, dude.

In a world of those who stand to pee, I sit alone.

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26 Comments:

Blogger 1blueshi1 said...

my dad used to call my mom "Fella" after they first married. It drover her crazy, to the point where she insisted he name the stray cat he brought home Fella so she wouldn't have to answer to it anymore!
my son and his friends use the word dude so much it is like being stranded in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Without, unfortunately, Keanu Reeves.
congrats on saving your boy's afternoon playtime!
Around here I insist on being deified and addressed as, "Oh Goddess of All Goddesses! This mere minion is desirous of your notice!"

Sunday, February 24, 2008 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger 1blueshi1 said...

I think if you did sashay through your domicile in just my five inch heeled gold Bebe lovelies, it would certainly end your being addressed as "DUDE"!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Phyllis RenĂ©e said...

So maybe next time the cheerleaders come on the screen you can get up and cheer with them. Or insist that you are a dudette!

Monday, February 25, 2008 5:41:00 AM  
Blogger Bunny said...

I take "Dude" and "man" used in those contexts to be like men in "all men are created equal" - a generic term for all humankind. It's my own little delusion and it works for me. (I have referred to my son and husband as "Girlfriend" so often that they don't blink anymore. I guess we're a seriously gender confused family.)

Monday, February 25, 2008 8:01:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

You know if you go around quoting The Big Lebowski too much, I'm going to get all giddy and start throwing a bunch of lines around myself.

I may even like the movie enough to have attended LebowskiFest a couple of years back. But dude, please don't tell anyone.

Or El Duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

Monday, February 25, 2008 8:13:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

A buddy of mine likes to sprinkle his speech with things like, 'Good evening dudes and dudesses'. So, maybe you could be a 'dudess' instead.

Molly is aggravated to the point of distraction when we go to a restaurant and the wait-person asks, "can I get you guys something to drink?" Try as I might, I can't convey the Bunny-esque concept that it's just a generic toss-off, and it's meant to be a tad friendlier than 'you people'. But then, I do get her irritation at the whole 'forced familiarity' thing. Must be showing my age. . .

Monday, February 25, 2008 8:28:00 AM  
Blogger Biscuit said...

Dude, I have a male friend who calls me that all the time. I like it. It means I broke through the y chromosome barrier. Of course, he also tells me gross stuff about sharts and his hemorrhoids and cold sores, so there is a downside to making dude status.

Monday, February 25, 2008 9:37:00 AM  
Blogger Scarlett Wanna Be said...

Big Daddy calls me "buddy" from time to time. It doesn't bother me though because I will often ask him if his vagina is bothering him when he starts whining about something. It's give and take.

Monday, February 25, 2008 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

With a houseful of boys, I imagine this will end up my lot in life.

Right now, though, I have them all (except husband) calling me Ma'am all the time BWAAHAAHAAHAAHAAHAA (or whatever). So far, so good, they're still young, maybe I can head it off at the pass...

Monday, February 25, 2008 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Choppzs said...

I admit, I say dude all the time. lol doesn't matter if you are male or female, it just comes out! lol

Monday, February 25, 2008 3:09:00 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

I'm a Dude gal too, I have to admit. That's not to say I'm half girl/half boy, well, there are those that I suppose might argue just that, but what I mean is I'm not pre-op or anything, Oh dear...this isn't going well at all is it? What I mean to say is I sit alone too. I tried to stand once, but Dude! Pee just ran right down my leg then then I got all girlie and had to shower yo!

But when I look straight down, yeah....I'm all woman, and there ain't no denyin' it!

Stacie

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:01:00 PM  
Blogger Sailor said...

One of the things I've always been annoyed by, is the whole "man/dude" thing, when applied to a woman.

I don't know why, but it bothers me. So, I'll refrain from calling you Man, or Dude, or Guy.

I'm like that, you know :)

D

Monday, February 25, 2008 8:23:00 PM  
Blogger katie said...

damn, i am so guilty of saying "man", man. i don't know why i do this so much. but i do! i mean nothing by it either. it just kinda goes with the way i talk or some shizzle like dat. i dunno. anyways, you are a trip, G. Your blog is the bomb and you gots mad writing skillz.

Have a great week!! :)

Monday, February 25, 2008 8:50:00 PM  
Blogger Nanette said...

Duuuude. Chill out man. I mean, whoa man. Slow down Joe.

I like that bit about pom poms--I'm off to shake mine in the other direction girl!

Monday, February 25, 2008 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

In the 80's sense of the term, Dude, you are the best. But if you really were a dude I'd be questioning my sexuality.... Not that I don't have gay friends but you probably wouldn't be gay if you were a dude. you'd just be a really hot guy with a killer rack.....
So, my fine pom-pommed friend.... you are still the most lustable of chickas....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 5:14:00 AM  
Blogger Southern Gentleman said...

At least they could use the gender-corrected term "dudette."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 7:25:00 AM  
Blogger XI Summit said...

Reminds me of my college days. Lived in college apartments and one of the neighbors addresses everyone with "How's it hanging dudes", even when approaching a group of women until .... one of them women was at the right distance and angle and took a 'gentle' kick as she said "Right about there". Quick learner he was, went down and from that day forth "Hi!" was his signature greeting. And even that he seemed to say standing sideways. Good times, those college days was.

Though I'd probably suggest you not try this technique at home. Or in a restaurant. Just saying....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 8:34:00 AM  
Blogger you da mom! said...

you should feel proud to be a dude. you are in with the guys, and that's a hard club to join. ;)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 6:52:00 PM  
Blogger Bee said...

I don't know man, I mean it's a tough one dude, what can I say guys?
Ha! Hubs calls me dude all the time and my response is "'sup sistah!"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 7:10:00 PM  
Blogger Chag said...

To me, dude is universal. Male and female and everything in between.

But man? Yeah, I can see where you'd have a problem with that. I would think your girlfriend comment would help. Maybe you need to up the ante?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 8:25:00 PM  
Blogger Wethyb said...

I'm guilty as charged too. Sissy and I say "dude" like it's going out of style. lol.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 9:14:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

1blueshi1 - My dad always called me "Squirt". In fact, he still does, though not with as much frequency. I'm going to start insisting on the goddess title now. And I want horns blown to announce my arrival. I figure if I'm going to mandate something, I'm going to go big!

Oh, and it's risky enough to see what I walk around here in as it is, so to add those shoes to the mix could be lethal!

Phyllis - I do have good pom pom skills. Actual pom poms. Not *pom poms*!

Bunny - I do use 'dude' a lot, even to women, so I'm guilty of what I say bothers me. I would laugh so hard, though, and not be able to respond, if my boys starting calling me 'girlfriend!'

FTN - Oh, you're asking me to open up a world of pain...

Des - I'm sort of on the side of Molly here with the whole casual 'guys' toss off that happens at restaurants and such. I don't get up in arms by it, of course, but it's my own issue with it that keeps me in check when I offer to help people at the bookstore. Believe me, no one is ever called "Ma'am"!

Biscuit - One must definitely weigh the dude pros against the dude cons.

Scarlett - Oh, my husband adores when I ask him if he's on his man period. Especially since he's so laid back all the time that I just aks him that from time to time because I like to say "man period".

Melody - I went through a phase where I would tack "Miss" onto the first name of every woman I knew. I still do that from time to time, like we're all teachers. I may try to get my kids to do that here!

Choppzs - The dude title so becomes a habit. I also find I call people "Hon" a lot, too.

Stacie - I respect the fact you've tried the whole standing up pee thing, dude. I can't bring myself to even try! I also can't do it out in a lake if boating or something. I have to be sitting or no go. Literally! Welcome to more than you'd ever want to know about me, dude!

Sailor - You're good people, sir!

Katie - Thanks for the nice words, man! That's very sweet of you, homes!

Nan - Heh man. UR funee. UR cool, man. No worries, man!

Savage - Charmer. Just a charmer, you are!

Southern Gentleman - You'd think, right!?

XI - That's one way of teaching the proper way of addressing a woman, I suppose, but I don't know if I've got that in me. True to female form, I'd feel bad afterward!

youdamom! - The boy's club is elite. I think we're both key members!

Bee - Oh! I need to start using 'sistah' more often! I forgot that one in my responses! Thank you, Bee! You're a saint!

Chag - More often than not, I've been on the receiving end of "man" out of the other person's laziness. Dude I am inclined to think carries more of a bond, if that makes sense.

However, I am intrigued at what upping the ante might get me!

Wethyb - Since writing this, I have been saying 'dude' like it's going out of style, too! I have a friend with whom we used this word more than any other when we'd talk!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger XI Summit said...

Oh come on, I can totally imagine that, kick-ass and all. Even just the threat would be sufficient to get the pont across!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 7:46:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

XI - I do have, if I can brag a moment, a rather impressive roundhouse kick...

Thursday, February 28, 2008 9:01:00 AM  
Blogger Bogart in P Towne said...

As a proud user of the term "Bro" I have to say that I don't use it often with women...I do occasionally call them "Bra" like a surfer, but it is usually reserved for other guys.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 9:31:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

bogart - I've got a workout DVD I do and the instructor calls people "bra" sometimes during a move, so, yes, I'm inclined to then walk around and call my husband or kids that. The kids got on a kick doing that after watching episodes of "Dog, The Bounty Hunter", so it's a lot of 'What up, bra?' at times.

Friday, February 29, 2008 7:42:00 AM  

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