GIRL CODE 101 We are the finaglers. The exceptions. The
girls who have not run the mile in four years, who layer deep V-necks
with excuses. Eyelashes bat wiffle balls at the male gym teachers. We are the girls taught
to survive by using our bodies as swiss army knives, calculated scrunched nose giggles
and friendly forearm lingers You’re-so-funny-please-don’t-touch-me. We convince ourselves
there is protection in being polite. No, you go first. Girls: we have to be nice. Male kindness is so alien
we assume it is seduction every time. We remember age 9,
the first time we are catcalled. 12, fraudulent bodies
calling us women before we have the chance to. 13, the year dad says
wearing short skirts in the city is like driving without a seatbelt. 15, we are the unmarked tardies,
waived detentions, honorable mentions in lush floral dresses. 16, we are the public
school mannequins. 17, we know the answer
but do not raise our hands. Instead, we are answering to guidance
counselors who ask us, Well, what were you wearing? Their voices: clink-less toasts. We are let off the hook
from hall monitors, retired football coaches who blow kisses and whisper Little Miss Lipstick into our ears
in the high school cafeteria. We shiver, but hey- at least we still get away
without wearing our student ID’s. This is not female privilege;
this is survival of the prettiest. We are playing the first game we learned how
to. We are the asses smacked
by boys who made welcome mats of our yoga pants. We are easily startled. Who
wouldn’t be? We are barked at from the street. We are the girls petrified
of the business school boys who were taught to manifest success by refusing to take no
for an answer. And I wonder what it says about me
that I feel pretty in a dress, but powerful in a suit. If misogyny has been coiled
inside of me for so long I forget I will not stand
before an impatient judge with an Adam’s apple, hand
grasping gavel, ready to pound a wooden mark. Give me a God
I can relate to. Commandments from a voice both soft and powerful. Give me one accomplishment of Mary’s
that did not involve her vagina. Give me decisions,
a wordless wardrobe, an opinion- less dress. Give me a city where my body
is not public property. Once, my friend and I
got catcalled on Michigan avenue and she said Fuck You while I said Thank You,
like I was trained to.