January 23, 2011
This post is contributed by Bobby, a gentleman reader.

Okay, I'll admit it, I do have a rough side; one that I'm comfortable with, though others of the opposite sex may not find it so agreeable. I don't mean crude or crass (though I may have, on occasion, exhibited such behaviour), but just rough enough at the edges. It's not that I don't try to soften this part of me; I do, but I find it difficult to do so without a struggle. "Christmas pink'd" brought to mind how that feminine attraction to beauty is truly a gift, one that so often escapes a man.

I remember the first time I was on my own. I rented an apartment not far from my older sister's house and began filling it with stuff -- my stuff, however little there was. I never realized a man's freedom until I was able to put things where I wanted and when I woke up, have them still be there. One could say my apartment was rather bleak and bare which would have made any ancient Spartan proud, but why not? It was just a place to crash after work, a night out, or having just defended an outpost, and it sufficed.

Not long after moving, my sister came over to visit and dutifully walked room to room 'observing', constantly smiling, not saying a word. Me thinks she was compiling an assessment of my living quarters to send to our mother on my progress in the 'single' world, or my regression from society. In any case, she asked me if I needed help in decorating my apartment. Why would I need help with that? She just looked at my rooms, and obviously saw that I had been busy at just that: decorating. My albums were piled against the wall; my bat, ball, and glove standing sentry in the corner; my clothes organized on the floor in my bedroom next to my pile of books that had fallen over a mite; and my bed, already drawn from this morning, ready for another foray into dreamland. I really didn't know what she was talking about.

After a few minutes of small talk, I told her I had to work, and that I was going straight from there to the beach for the weekend. I gave her a copy of my key in case something ever happened and she needed to to get in, kissed her on the cheek, told her she knew the way out, and I left. I liked having my sister visit. It was as if I was acknowledged as a grownup. A man. Yes, a man does puff out his chest on occasion.

Upon returning from my weekend at the beach, I unlocked my door with my key and stepped into another world. My sister had been here over the weekend. No question, I had been pink'd. My view of the trash container next door now had been framed with beige curtains. I quickly looked around, and noticed all the windows now had curtains. Even the bedroom! My albums were not to be seen and I quickly scrambled down on the floor and opened the stereo cabinet. She had placed them all in there, nice and neat. She even had put the records in their paper sleeves and in the album covers. Go figure.

Panic struck: my baseball stuff!!! I looked in the corner and saw with relief my ball, bat, and glove still standing sentry. I remember thinking how lucky she was in having left them alone. I walked in the bedroom and noticed right away the Crucifix over my bed. I had planned on putting it there... I just hadn't gotten to it yet. My clothes... not where I left them... sheeeesh. Walking over to the chest of drawers I opened each drawer and saw my clothes, piled neatly. T-shirts in the middle one, underwear and socks in the top, and jeans in the bottom one. Ok.... I meant to do that too A man's work is his first priority you know. I opened the closet door... dress shirts hung neatly. Like they were meant to be there.

What I saw next actually brought a smile to my lips. She had gotten three milk crates that dairies used for home deliveries -- the ones with the heavy metal grate-like mesh on the bottom -- and had organized my books in them. I liked that. I really, really liked that. My panic subsided considerably then, and my eyes opened for the first time since walking back into my apartment. On my chest of drawers were pictures of my mom and dad. How cool was that? The walls actually had pictures on them too, instead of the large expanses of nothingness which had stared at me for a week or so. Nice touch.

I walked around my apartment several times that day... just looking. My sister had invaded my apartment, but had done it in a subtle manner. No blaring colours that yelled, "Hey, look at me!" Pictures of landscapes that I had picked up at a yard sale now adorned my walls. The occasional curses were absorbed by the drapes, and curtains instead of bouncing around the room into infinity. She had given my apartment a woman's touch. I didn't know enough to call it that yet, not at that age, but I knew it was a touch I could not have given it on my own. She pink'd my apartment into a home. My home. I glanced in the corner and saw my ball, bat, and glove. Home.

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What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in some way, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. Here we aim to show every woman the richness and beauty of her own femininity and explore current issues relating to women in our world. We also wish to share our own experiences - exploring the joys and challenges of stay-at-home moms and single professionals and everyone in between. Welcome! So glad you're here!

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