I, like the overwhelming majority of other females in the United States, have a Pinterest account that probably gets more use than it should. I mean yeah, I’ve gotten some pretty sweet recipes from the site and it played a huge role in planning our formal wedding, but I mostly just use it for looking at cat memes. Just being honest here. Occasionally, however, I run across something that sparks something more in me than, “I need ALL the animals and a much bigger bank account.”
A few days ago, a friend of mine went on a posting rampage and most of her pins related back to being a smart girl. Being a “smart” girl myself, I enjoyed the pins but then once I put more thought into it, I realized society makes being a smart girl a sort of novelty rather than the norm. Let me explain:
Growing up, I was awkward and I’ve got the middle school yearbooks to prove it. I got braces in the fifth grade to correct a rather large gap between my front teeth, and I kept those metallic brackets of doom for two whole years before shifting to a retainer for a short period of time. My hair is naturally curly, but until I discovered the magical world of John Frieda, it was just a big, fluffy ball of frizz. I was not blessed with clear skin and it’s something I still struggle with as an adult. Eyeliner was a mystery to me until right before high school, and I was never one to invest in name brands like Hollister and Abercrombie. In case you’re not getting the mental image I’ve created for you, let me sum it up for you: I was a hot mess.
Now, I could go on for days about the negative effects those few years had on my self esteem, but instead I’m going to focus on why I’m thankful for them, just in case anyone out there reading this thing is going through all of that right now.
I am grateful for those awkward years, however, and it’s because they forced me to be more than a cosmetics consumer. Instead of dating entirely too early like so many other girls around me, I maintained a 4.0 GPA. I watched a lot of Food Network and actually put my newly acquired recipes to use. I devoured every book I could get my hands on and then some. I spent a great deal of time with my parents and grandparents, and I learned even more with them. I learned to talk to people about more than just gossip I’d heard at my locker or at the office water cooler. I eventually discovered hair products, flat irons, and grew into my looks, yes, but my awkward stage forced me to develop a personality. Because of that, I now have more to bring to the table than just my looks.
Nothing irritates me more than a woman who feels she has to dumb herself down to impress (if that’s even the correct word to use here) a man. I have watched in agony as my own friends have pulled this exact stunt. Why would they even begin to think that intelligence is something to be hidden or ashamed of? Why should they assume a man would be intimidated by a woman who had more to offer than highlights and exposed cleavage? Why should we have to be reminded on Pinterest that it’s not only okay to be a smart girl, but it’s a good thing? Here’s the thing, when I say dumb is never cute, I mean pretend dumb is never cute. Embrace the intelligence!
As a fully-grown, former Ugly Duckling, I can honestly say that today, I am quite the catch and Mr. Cooper is a lucky man. I can drive a stick, I know the difference between a 2-stroke and a 4-stroke, and I can cook. I can discuss politics, religion, and video games. I can quote nearly every Seth Rogen and Adam Sandler movie, but I also enjoy foreign and classic films. And I owe it all to those awkward middle school years!