I’m not going to lie. I was leary about going to an event called «Fit and Fab(ulous) ». I go out of my way to avoid anything that talks about nutrition, excercise or weight loss, since I think that women in our culture are already overdosed with these things. Sure, I’ll read Running Times, or obsess over sports equipment, or join a climbing gym, but that’s different. I do these things partly for the enjoyment of physical exertion and partly for the mental edge I think they give me (believe me, I need all the help I can get). I could give a shnitzel if I gain or lose twenty pounds. So why did I go ? Well, I’ve started to miss my girlfriends since I’ve been in Seattle and going to one of the Girl Power Hour (@girlpowerhour) seemed like it would be a good chance to meet more women friends. I think the activities that I choose to attend – like Startup Weekend, for instance – are great for meeting guy friends but aren’t so good for meeting girls. My workplace is also about 70% men. In some ways I love this – I feel like it’s easier to keep my priorities straight. A lot of times when I’m around women there is pressure to focus on babies, relationships, and appearance, three things that are at the bottom of the totem pole of my priorities (if they’re even on the totem pole).
This event seemed like it would be a place where I could meet like-minded women, since Girl Power Hour is especially designed for women who are interested in having a life outside of the « domestic » sphere.
Actually, missing my girlfriends wasn’t the only reason that I chose to go to the event. Sunday, with the exhileration of the presentation and the afterparty, I had completely forgotten my bicycle at startup weekend. In fact, when I arrived home from work on Monday I didn’t even know where my bike was and I thought it had been stolen for a couple of anxious minutes. Thankfully, when my memory of the weekend returned, I called the owner of the venue, "Makers", Caitlyn , and she said that she could hold onto my bike until Girl Power Hour, which was held at the same venue. I think I spend more time chasing my bike around town than I do riding it.
Maker’s is a beautiful coworking space in the middle of Belltown. It is open, light, and airy. The accent pieces, like an antique organ, are placed so that they add to the zen rather than clutter the place. I was an hour and a half late to the event because I had spent the afternoon at a boat brokerage and then trying to get a Seattle Driver’s license at the DOL. Even though I say that I don’t give a shnitzel if I gain or lose 20 pounds, I was a little nervous as I struggled to zip up the back of my skirt. Over the past two weeks I have been too busy to run, and all of the free food at work had gone straight to my rear. I did manage to zip it up, however, and even though it is a tiny pencil skirt and I have to get into cars butt first and climb stairs sideways, I felt, well, kind of fabulous. On the way to the bus stop I almost bumped into several people because I was admiring myself in the glass storefronts.
Ironically, the first thing I heard when I walked through the door was a woman on a podium talking about how by excercising she had managed to add two whole inches to her butt. « Wow, » I remarked to a girl standing next to me. « I did that without even exercising. » I decided to go keep working on my butt by hitting the hors d’ouvres table.
The speakers themselves were fabulous. My fear about having to listen to judgemental talks about how many calories are in a spoonful of peanut butter was qualmed when I heard the vulnerable, inspiring talks on how to change our image from the inside out. I have never seen so many beautiful women in one place in Seattle. I met the organizers’ mother at the buffet table, a rockstar lady with little glasses. « Those are my daughters, » she told me, proudly. I found myself wishing my own mother were there.
There were women of all ages in the room, and although I was interested in meeting peers, it was also lovely to connect to some women older than myself. Two ladies introduced themselves. It was obvious from how they carried themselves that they were badasses. We started a conversation that immediately went deeper than the normal networking fluff. Laurie, a ballet dancer by trade, leaned toward me and offered me this advice : « Don’t even think about getting married for the next five years. Don’t waste your time in relationships. Be selfish. Have fun. »
This is the lesson that I took away with me from Girl Power Hour (although I’m not certain that it’s endorsed by the event). Laurie happened to have a bike rack on her car, so she offered me a ride home. « See, » she said as I strapped my bike onto her car « I was meant to give you a ride home. » We drove past a statue of a giant popsickle and Laurie said «I have to get a picture of that, » so we circled around, jumped out of the car, and had a stranger take a picture of us pretending to lick it. Girls are awesome.
When I got home and opened the Seattle Times, it opened straight to this article which I thought was strangely relevant. Here's a snippet:
Back when Snow White sang, "Someday my prince will come," waiting on a prince — and raising his babies afterward — constituted pretty much a woman's entire range of options. Seventy-five years later, women have options their grandmothers could scarcely have dreamed. So is it asking too much that we relegate this tired narrative to the junk heap where it belongs?
Talk about girl power!