It’s been staring us in the face all this time…
After waking up in Ernie’s bed, for some unbeknown reason, I pulled up the blind and saw the male Starling that has recently set up home in an old alarm box on the side of the house. His “Mrs” was inside the box with, what I can only assume are their eggs or newly hatched babies. Old papa bird was balancing on the telegraph pole wire, chirping away when I really took notice of how stunning his feathers were. I’ve been watching this new little family since Lockdown began, when the weather picked up and we were outdoors most days. In amongst bringing stuff to the nest, they’ve obviously had their fair share of marital arguments, (like most couples do), about who’s ‘doing what’ and if they’re ‘doing it right’. It’s safe to say the way she chirps at him must be evidence of how he has messed up catastrophically on numerous occasions.
Anyway, this morning whilst looking at him close up and realising how gorgeous he was, the female flew out of the nest and joined him. I noted immediately how different she looked compared to him; a little less flamboyant shall we say. I began to think about an episode David Attenborough narrated on the bird-of-paradise, Magnificent Riflebird which looks nothing short of a drag queen, with his glittery foil-like blue plumage and it’s bizarrely choreographed dance moves in a bid to win over the female. Another example that sprang to mind is the Peacock! I mean, what the actual hell? Have you seen the female compared to the guy? She is like Cinderella before she meets her Fairy God Mother. The male however, he is like the avian version of Liberace.
Since a young age I have always enjoyed make-up, although my daily make-up regime is probably a little bit to do with a lack of self-confidence and not feeling “pretty” enough to go bare-faced. What does rile me though, is the fact that I spend time in the morning ‘getting ready’ and like to look ‘good’ or make an ‘effort’ as I think it’s healthy when in a relationship; to take care of yourself and try to look good for your other half. I’m very much like my grandma who always used to say she wouldn’t go out “without her face on”. It’s true – I never feel completely ready for the day until I’ve done my hair and make-up. I’m not saying I go the full hog; contour, eyeshadow, false eyelashes and lipstick everyday, but enough to make me feel awake, ready, and in a position to go out and basically not look like shit.
Don’t get me wrong, I have tried the whole bare-faced, ‘oh naturelle’ thing on the odd occasion, but when your kids ask, “are you ok?” or, “are you unwell mummy”, (because you look like a piece of shite), you kind of give up thinking you are ‘naturally beautiful’ enough to let the world see you for real. I tried half make-up once and didn’t wear mascara. I pulled up at my mum and dad’s and mum said, “ooh Sam, are you ok? – you look really tired”. Fuck this. Off I went back home and got the old mascara out and piled it on.
I’m not saying blokes don’t try…but…
I know in recent years there’s been a huge influx in the amount of guys having their own beauty rituals and make-up now has no gender, but for centuries the woman has always been the sex that has to put on a charade for the blokes. I don’t want to go all feminist, because I started this blog post talking about bloody Starlings for goodness sake, but it made me think how much girls and women try so hard to be something else, to put on a show, enhance their features, exploit who they are for, (in the majority of cases), the opposite sex. I’m guilty for enjoying a complement being given to me and I would be distraught if someone criticised the way I look, especially if it was a time when I didn’t have my hair and make-up done. For years I’ve watched the other half or the other men in my family get up the same way every morning; go for a pee, get dressed, fiddle with their hair (or not in some cases), go to work. Yes they shave and spray their aftershave, but for most it’s a simple charade.
Emmie is starting high school this year and it is already filling me with dread the prospect of her finding fault with her looks and wanting to alter herself. Pump her lips and cheeks with filler, continually extend her eyelashes, tattoo her eyebrows, tan her skin, dye her hair, pierce her skin, starve herself, become addicted to the gym, think she’s fat, believe she is ugly, hate herself. I worry because I have considered changing parts of me before and sometimes the reason for those changes were not even to benefit me – it was for others! I find it easy writing this to fault myself for contemplating getting bigger boobs, hating my nose, thinking my body shape isn’t right; not being happy with who I am. So why can’t I practice what I preach?
Why are girls and women so fixated on what men think about them or trying to impress or be sexy for them? They should be trying to attract us – it’s human nature! Take my example of birds, females use looking as drab as they can as a weapon against the males; it is their armour against the opposite sex. According to some studies, female birds know that all the males want is sex and if they end up ‘catching on’, it is them that is left to bring the kids up, most of the time ALONE and they think, “no, I ain’t having that!” So, in a bid to avoid such a situation, they don’t make an effort for him, even using their less colourful, flamboyant image as camouflage. Females in the wild have got it spot on; they get to choose which male they want out of a few scrapping to be with her. It is the male that has to make the effort to look good and impress her, and HE is the one who has to enhance his features and show his worth to even get the slightest chance of being her partner.
As with us girls, the stakes are high when choosing a mate aren’t they? In nature, females know that too. They have to choose their partner carefully and gamble sensibly as the investment for her is far more costly in the sense of gestating and the cost of raising their young. For the blokes, sperm is small, plentiful and can be produced in their millions, so he can take his gamble anywhere, (which he usually does!) The facts are in nature and evolution and following a good nosey on the World Wide Web I can’t believe some of the stuff I’ve found on this subject that makes me question the way human females perceive themselves in terms of the opposite sex. We should take ownership of our female abilities, our uterus and ability to carry the next generation.
Lioness’ rule the roost and bring home the bacon even though it’s widely thought Simba was the King of Pride Rock.
Female Honey bees call all the shots – only using males for reproduction!
This was my personal favourite; female ducks have clockwise spiralled vaginas to prevent insemination from unwanted suitors!!! The sharp twists and turns of the female duck foo-foo can block any nob head duck that’s not good enough for her!
I know what you’re thinking – how on earth have I managed to get on to duck’s vaginas when I started talking about female empowerment and feeling good about yourself as a woman? I hope you get my train of thought and agree there’s some substance to my argument. I think females are realising their worth more and more – long may it continue.
Rant over x