Some women keep a collection of shoes under their desks at work so they can quickly change from heels to flats. I am not one of those women. Keeping my shoes under my desk would result in a Pigpen-like hovering stink cloud stretching clear to the copy machine. Now that I'm in my thirties I've had to accept some hard realities about myself, and the fact that my feet stink like cheese left out on a sun porch is one of them.
Thus, the best gift Jessi Klein gave me in her memoir You'll Grow Out of It is the vocabulary to talk about my identity as a woman with stinky feet.
As she explains, there are two kinds of women in this world: wolves and poodles. Poodles are those women who are always effortlessly feminine, who exude sunshine from their bronzed, opaque skin and rosy fragrance as if they are potpourri sachets. That woman in your office whose gauzy blouse is still completely unwrinkled at 4:55? Poodle.
Then, there are the rest of us—the wolves. As Klein puts it, “Wolves sweat a lot.” It's not that wolves can't be pretty, it's just that it takes a lot of elbow grease to create a good look.
The whole time I listened to that chapter, I felt like holding my hands up in rapture and hollering, “Preach!” Finally hearing another woman give voice to thoughts that have been knocking around in my head for years was...cathartic. Have you ever felt like you didn't quite know how to be a girl, even though you are one? Jessi Klein gets it, and she turns it into something you can laugh about.
As with most memoirs and essay collections, not every chapter resonated so deeply with me. Some of the later stories about her dating and married life come across a bit whiny and self-indulgent. Klein and her husband had a long and difficult path to marriage, neither of them sure at times that they were ready to commit. That's a common experience, certainly, but when she started making sweeping generalizations about “all guys” freaking out before getting married, I had to raise a skeptical eyebrow. Maybe Adam will morph into a commitment-phobe any day now and I'll be proven wrong here, but he proposed seven weeks after meeting me...and that was six years ago...soo...not all guys, okay? (And now he's stuck with his wolf wife and her stinky cheese feet FOREVER!)