The “Girl” Word

“I’m glad I didn’t have daughters. I wouldn’t know what to do with them.”

My ears perked up in the checkout line at Giant Eagle.

“I mean, I was never girly. I was a star athlete. I met my first boyfriend when I was 28 and he asked me to marry him 10 days later,” The woman in line in front of me continued, “I lived on a farm, but I wasn’t going to give the milk away for free if you know what I mean.”

I glanced at the woman behind me who was also witnessing this tirade. She gave me a wink that let me know I was warranted in my distaste.

The conversation shifted again to the horrific burden some humans bear when they give birth to female humans. 

“Well, I guess if I had a girl, she would wear overalls and blue jeans.”

Then came the worst part:

“I’d cut the girl right out of her.” 

She spoke the word “girl” like a dirty curse word. Like an affliction that some people are born with and can’t escape. Her phrase made me think of female genital mutilation. I was disgusted.

This woman saw all girls as a flourish of frivolity and ditzyness. The only way for a girl to be useful in her eyes is for that girl to act as much like a boy as possible.

This woman even felt lesser than man in her own eyes. When she noted that yes, she was of that dreaded gender, she turned to her hubris defense mechanism and listed her accomplishments in male-dominated fields like sports.

How can the word “girl” retain a negative connotation when girls like Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban and went on to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her activism in women’s education, live in this world?

I don’t understand it. I am proud as hell to be a girl.

Malala

Malala

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Weekend at Bunbury

Last weekend was the Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati. Nick and I were excited for a weekend away from home filled with music, friends and kittens. We got everything we hoped for and more.

FRIDAY

– We met Caroline and Dave’s four foster kittens and had a hard time leaving to go to the festival due to cuteness and tiny paws.

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– Hundred Waters was our first show. The haunting vocals made for a somber set even though it was midday and sunshiny.

Best live song: Show Me Love

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– Cage the Elephant was next. It’s Nick’s favorite band, and Matt, Brad and the gang did not disappoint. The lead singer moves across the stage like Mick Jagger at times, shaking his skinny legs, and like Eddie Vedder at others, launching himself into the crowd.

Best live song: Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked

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– I made a policeman friend in the misting tent.

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– Nick recognized the lead singer of another of his favorite bands sitting across the way from us.

Nick: “Hey, are you guys Schools?”


Dude: “You know Schools?”

Conversation ensues, and we learn Schools has broken up and the singer, Jeremi Simon, is starting another band. He told us to find him on Facebook and he’ll give us free tickets to the next show that’s nearby. Cool!

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– Watched Mortified Nation on Netflix with Caroline and Dave and the foster kitties after a long day. It’s a documentary where adults read their teenage diaries. I need not say more.

SATURDAY

– More kittens.

IMG_8181 IMG_8200 IMG_8235 – Nick and I had some free time before the festival Saturday, so we did some city exploring and found a fantastic used book store with a resident dog named Julia (I think).

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– Two of our favorite bands were playing at the exact same time at different stages, so we parted ways for an hour. I went to see Kishi Bashi, an insanely talented violinist, singer, beat-boxer and all-around badass while Nick went to see Fly Golden Eagle, a rock band he discovered through Cage the Elephant’s Twitter account. We both had amazing times. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face during Kish Bashi’s whole set, and I danced my butt off all by myself. Nick left Fly Golden Eagle early and caught Kishi Bashi’s best song. His was my favorite show of the weekend.

Best Live Song: It All Began With a Burst

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– We left Bunbury and got some grub at Terry’s Turf Club, where I ate the most majestic Portabella Mushroom Sandwich of my life. What a fun/delicious/neon restaurant.

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– Got my first “Lyft” ride downtown with Caroline, Dave and Nick. It was a weird experience, riding in a regular, non-taxi car with a person we didn’t know.

– Played Giant Jenga. Me and Caroline beat the architect and artist. Nice.

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– Got another Lyft home, and this time we were offered Starbursts, mini waters, gum and control of the music. Decided I would never take a taxi again.

SUNDAY

– My sister, who happened to be in Cincinnati, decided to join us for day three of Bunbury. We met up and went on an awesomely sweaty hike beforehand at Ault Park.

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– Started the Bunbury day with Red Wanting Blue, a band we had all heard about but never listened to. We really liked their 90s sound. The lead singer’s voice reminded us of Hootie and the Blowfish.

Best Live Song: Drawing Board

– Checked out the Kopecky Family Band, whose lead singer was named Kelsey, which is always cool. They rocked out.

Best Live Song: Cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk”

– ZZ Ward was next. That girl can SING. She belted out all of her hits and did a special cover for us…

Best Live Song: Cover of Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home”

– Saintseneca, a band we were all stoked to see, jammed on strange instruments. The lead singer’s mustache was an entity unto itself. The female lead jokingly asked for two funnel cakes to be delivered to the stage, and their request was fulfilled. I became the designated funnel cake passer-outer, which got me some friends.

Best Live Song: Takmit

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– We caught the only three Young the Giant songs we knew. We stayed far from the stage so we could dance in the grass. Apparently we were putting on quite a performance, because a dreadlocked man approached us and asked where they could find drugs. Quite the compliment that we are such great dancers naturally.

Best Live Song: My Body

– Finally, it was time to see The Flaming Lips. Wayne Coyne entered the stage with two mushrooms and a rainbow. The visual effects were mesmerizing. He had a message to give us and that was to love everyone and to embrace our uniqueness. We did so by skipping around and doing cartwheels.

Best Live Song: Do You Realize?? followed directly by Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

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Hope to see you next year, Bunbury!