Womanhood, oh how far you have fallen. As furry-legged, bare-faced and slightly frisky pre-teens, we coveted your promise of power suits, black pumps and yes, even periods. But as adults entangled within the endless demands of contemporary femininity, we yearn for the times when the one feminine hygiene requirement was “front to back” and bathing daily.
As young girls, the women in our lives made it look really fun to be a grown-up lady. And you realize what? It totally is. But a few things that after appeared impossibly glamorous are actually an actual drag.
Here is a group of 14 things we could not wait to do as girls, that we’re not so jazzed about as women:
1. Wearing “work” clothes
We could not wait to slide right into a pant suit a’la Murphy Brown. Now, “business casual” might as well read “needless discomfort.” We dreamt about high-wasted skirts and blazers after we were young enough to wear leggings as pants without judgment. Youth truly is wasted on the young.
2. Staying up late
After we were younger, the hours after 9 p.m. were shrouded in mystery. You couldn’t wait to set your individual bedtime. But in the elusive pockets of adulthood when your professor, boss, child or pet do not determine your bedtime, it’s bra off at 8, pre-slumber Netflix selection at 9 and au revoir to today by 11.
3. Drinking coffee
Whether it was Phoebe, Monica and Rachel gabbing over a latte with “Friends” or a sitcom mother sipping Folgers in a with breakfast, we were seriously excited to start out indulging in a ritual cup-of-joe. In reality, office or cafeteria coffee is gross and strictly utilitarian, and an artisanal cold brew costs an hour’s pay. As adults, we mostly drink coffee in a hurried panic to avoid a mid-morning narcoleptic episode.
4. Occurring dates
As girls, we were led to believe we’d only have romantic interest in boys. We would meet sophisticated, intelligent, attractive men every time we ran out for the coffee we couldn’t wait to drink. They’d take us to dances, give us their class rings and buy us martinis (which we also presumed would taste awesome). Unfortunately, Austenian repartee does not go over so well on Tinder. In the era of “Law and Order: SVU” binges, the usual rom-com “meet-cute” is indistinguishable from street harassment. A seemingly gentle lad following a fetching woman right into a bakery to throw down $5 for her scone? Not a thing.
5. Getting our periods
The initial trauma of learning we might at some point bleed from down there was slightly alleviated by the maturity and straight up womanhood we thought it would confer upon us. We were wrong. If we might known about cramps, we’re unsure we might have been quite so pumped.
6. Living alone
We could not wait to have a “Felicity”-like giant apartment all to ourselves. This was before the economic collapse of 2008, when “affordable housing” became an oxymoron. Sharing a glorified hallway with three Craigslist roommates will not be exactly what we had in mind. The only time Carrie Bradshaw called a handyman was when she’d pushed away the tall beautiful man with practical skills who loved her without conditions. This, young girls, also does not exist. But mice do.
7. Eating whatever we wanted
The joys of culinary freedom fades at around age 19. Ice cream for dinner is actually (sometimes) overrated. As is ravenously eating free Starbursts from work or scraps off our kids’ plates.
8. Having an office phone
Answering your personal phone at your individual desk once seemed like a quintessential career woman act. A cultural shift towards texting and email, however, has seriously chipped away at any phone’s allure — no less a clunky, indiscreet landline. I have to talk to irritating people in front of my colleagues and in a diplomatic manner — almost always on the worst possible time? Not as intoxicating as it once seemed.
9. Wearing heels
We’ll admit, we love the spring a pair of pumps lends the primary few steps we take in them. Then, the pain comes. We took for granted as girls that Barbies didn’t have to walk anywhere. In reality, every adult woman does a cost-benefit analysis of spending a day strapped into the barbed wire of footwear. Not to mention the terrible things they do to your body. Major letdown.
10. Wearing makeup
Whether we watched our mother contort her face to use mascara or Audrey Hepburn rapidly fix her “blue face” in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” make-up always seemed ritualistic and exciting. As an adult female, make-up will be really fun — until it feels compulsory. Wear undereye concealer one too many times and you look “sick” or “tired” without it. Crisp white collars are sacrificed to foundation stains. Mascara runs as soon as the brain transmits any emotion to your eyes. It is not fun.
11. Shaving our legs
What greater crime to commit against a pre-teen than forbidding her from shaving her legs? Those translucent turquoise Venus razors promising smooth-legged, beach-frolicking bliss were pillars of femininity for the slightly furry adolescent. Now, we surrender a number of hours’ pay to request them from behind the counter and know that leaping into ocean with freshly shorn shins is a terrible idea. In retrospect, we realize our guardians were simply delaying an irreversible cycle of hair removal that lasts a lifetime.
12. Wearing a bra
This GIF is the reality.
13. Changing our hair
While we definitely do not miss our childhood bowl-cuts, silver screen mavens walking out of a salon with a fresh perm and sparkling highlights betrayed the hours of curling, relaxing, dying and subsequent financial ruin that actually comes along with changing your ‘do. All we ever wanted was bouncy curls. Now we dye our eyebrows to match our tinted manes. Slick move, womanhood.
14. Carrying a purse
A purse. A pocketbook. A handbag. Whatever you call it, we wanted one. That was before we knew they exist to transport makeup, tampons, electric bills, a pair of flats and yes, probably a bra.