I’m never accused of being sensitive.
You can typically tease the bejesus out of me and not only will all of my feathers remain unruffled, I’ll be dishing it right back at you. I owe this lovely trait to all of my male cousins because before my sister, I was the only girl on one side of the family and took plenty of shit. I learned very early on how to stand my ground, play hard and tried not to cry (or “the boys will know it’s getting to you and that’s what they want,” true words of wisdom from Mom).
As our extended clan grew my sister and I ended up being the only two girls out of 11 cousins and we encountered relentless teasing, rough housing and endless boys against girls games. (Is nine against two ever fair? Ever?)
Keeping everything tit for tat, if I had to play G.I. Joe with my male cousins, you bet your ass they played with Barbie dolls when visiting my house. Being oh-so-sweet (and such a little shit), I even gifted my cousin a Ken doll one year at Christmas (his best received present ever).
As a kid, of course I wanted to do anything and everything my cousins did. I was a bedazzled little dude with attitude (which has bled into my adulthood). So you can imagine my dismay one Christmas when all of my cousins got football helmets of their favorite teams and posed for photos as I jealously scowled at the dickheads.
But what happened next was a true Christmas miracle. My cousin, Barbie Boy (maybe making him play Barbies wasn’t such a good idea after all…) didn’t like his helmet because it was too tight on his head.
Oh the horror for him but sheer holiday delight for yours truly (I then knew how the Grinch felt before his heart grew three sizes, which was pretty fabulous). I was all too happy to take a helmet from a hysterical, big-headed, bawl baby boy.
Suffice to say, I owe my thick skin to the dudes who surrounded me growing up, which has come in handy working in a male dominated industry today. Thanks to my cousins, I’ve mastered the art of being just one of the guys but it’s still fun to say…
Eat your crying heart out fellas.