Horoscopes and the Art of Womanliness

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):  A friend has been promoting The Art of Manliness website, and it's caused me to consider womanliness, which has a pretty big branding problem.  Manliness conjures someone strong and capable, a stand up guy who wouldn't stiff a waitress or lie to a friend, the kind of guy who could change a tire for you but wouldn't just assume you need help, someone who knows how to cook an omelet and comfort a child.  The guy with the trick to opening a bottle of wine with a shoelace.  (Wait, I know that trick!)  Womanliness?  I'm curious what you all think, but for me it conjures curvy and sensual.  Nothing wrong with curvy and sensual, but shouldn't it also involve integrity and being capable and strong?  Here's how I know it's not a great word:  a man would be insulted to be called womanly, but the reverse isn't quite so true.  Pisces, see what you can do.

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):  Acting on a tip, I watched the video, How to Make Small Talk With a Stranger, which didn't teach me a whole lot, but it did have a little mnemonic device (I just had to look up how to spell mnemonic.  This, apparently, is the first time I've ever written that word.  Could that be?).  Little memory devices always makes things seem solid and like there's new complicated information.  But the video essentially said to notice something about the person and comment on it.  But the video took the strategy into the ridiculous and hilarious, like, "Oh, I see you're wearing blue.  Do you like blue?" and almost, "Hey, I see you have boobs!  I like boobs!"  

Anyway, shortly after watching, I went to meet a new customer and I thought for a minute that we were IN the video.  As we stood by my car he said, "Oh, I see you have a yoga mat.  Do you do yoga?"  And, "Oh, I see you have a carhart jacket.  I have some carhart pants." And so on.  It felt so much like we were in a parody of the video that I almost said something but I wasn't sure if I should.  What's the womanly thing to do, I asked myself?  Aries, you'll have plenty of chances to small talk with strangers.  Remember the rules:  notice and comment, self reveal, and encourage sharing.

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):   I listened to the latest 99% invisible podcast, Structural Integrity.  Go listen.  But in case you don't, here's the gist [spoiler alert!]:  The Citicorp building was built in 1977, and in 1978 a Princeton undergrad studied it for her senior thesis, and had questions about why it would stand up if a strong wind hit the corner.  Turns out it wouldn't!  The lowly student's questions of the world-famous architect caused them to secretly re-engineer the thing, drilling and reinforcing during the night while hapless employees trustingly spent their days in the building.  

Anyway, the architect spoke of it 20 years later, and referenced the anonymous student as a male, when in fact, it was a woman.  A woman who, by the way, had never been told that they took her questions seriously; she learned about it 20 years later.  She assumed she had done the math wrong, because duh, she was just a lowly undergrad and the building was standing up.  I could go off on a tiny tear right now about how infuriating the whole thing is, in so many ways, but fer crissakes these are horoscopes, people, not rants.  Taurus, be wary of the corner winds this week.  They'll knock you down.  

Gemini (5/21 – 6/21):  Ok, just a tiny bit of the infuriating tear.  The architect was lauded for his humility, in bothering to listen to an undergrad, and acting on it, and telling the story.  Right?  Apparently its an extra special grand trait if a person listens to someone with less education than himself?  The woman who asked the questions wasn't called a hero, even though her questions potentially saved thousands of lives.  I think saving lives is so very womanly. Gemini, continue to save lives, the way you do.  Every single day.

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21)
So, speaking of womanliness, the 6 pounds of honeybees (22,000 ish) bees just arrived.  It's been a while since I had bees, and I'm indescribably excited about it, because bees are fascinating, and dare I say, womanly?  It's all girls who make the honey, in case you didn't know that.  But I ordered a bee suit from the internet because I wanted one that fit, not some big zoomy floppy thing that makes me even more uncoordinated than usual.  Eventually it arrived, and sheesh, it has a little embroidered bee on the ass.  Right?  GRRR.  Does womanly always involve a bee on the ass?  Is that what girls really want?  Cancer keep the bees off your ass in all the usual ways.  

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  Every day, Leo, it's breathe breathe breathe.  All day long. Cool or tedius?  COOL! It's what connects us with all the other breathers on the planet.  Be sure to exhale at least as much as you inhale, Leo.

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  I have a customer who owes me a bunch of money, and everytime I send him a bill, he replies with a medical and financial dossier on himself and his family.  The brother in law was misdiagnosed, the wife and her surgery, and so on.  I gather it's offered by way of explanation for why he isn't ever going to pay, but each month I look forward to our little exchange.  I almost said womanly little exchange, because sometimes there's stuff about breasts in it, but sheesh, do you see what I mean?  Not paying is NOT WOMANLY.  Woman up this week, Virgo.  

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  Sometimes I scan the horizon, looking for signs of hope, and it stretches out flat as far as I can see.  Sometimes there are situations and people in our lives that, at the very same time, both create and dash hope.  But maybe, Libra, the fact of the horizon itself is the hope.

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  If I had to pick a super power, I used to always select invisibility.  (I know, that's the creepy one.)  But when I really stop to think about it, the superpower I really want is the ability to swap perspectives with people, get into their heads, see how it feels to be them, see if I can understand things better.  Scopio, you're pretty good at that naturally.  Keep it up!

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21): I'm spending a lot of time trying to learn more about bees -- reading books and listening to bee podcasts and so on.  And I've noticed this one thing.  (Well, lots of things, the most obvious being some podcasts are just lame.  But that's not your horoscope.)  It's this other thing about metaphors.  People come up with a metaphor for something, and then act like it's relevant.  Example:  the question I was trying to understand is: when is the best time to add more boxes and frames to the top of the hive?  There are a billion different opinions. So one video I watched showed an experiment with fleas.  When put in a glass jar with a top on it, they jump to hit the top once, and never jump that high again.  When put in a topless glass jar, (I used the word "topless" to get more hits to this blog, btw.) they will jump higher.  This, the video claims, proves that you should add extra hive boxes before they are needed.  Huh?  Different species, different goals, different everything.  Sag, never confuse yourself with a flea circus.  You're so much better than that.  

Capricorn (12/22 – 1/19):  Ever since the little thing that allows me to play my iPod in the car broke, I'd have to say, my quality of life has dropped down a tiny bit, and it's made me think about how lame radio is.  I want to be able to turn on the radio and hear things that interest me, like breakthroughs in poetry and paleontology, and weird coincidences that people have had, and I want someone to explain quantum entanglement in a way that I can apply in my own life, and of course, I want good music that i've never heard before, and I don't want sports to even be mentioned unless there's a seriously relevant human interest angle, and I want the suffering in the world told in broad brush strokes, because I already get it.  I know that people are starving and being murdered and drowning in water and mud and manipulating systems for their own benefit; I can't keep hearing about it in such gruesome detail. Is that really so much to ask, Cap?

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18):  The bees only live for a few weeks, and they work hard (well, the womanly bees do) every single day until they die.  BUT, they do change jobs.  There's room for advancement, and the highest job of all, the culmination of a bee life, is the field bee.  She gets out of the hive and visits flowers all day every day.  Well, for like, 5 days maybe.  It's such a womanly heirarchy, Aquarius.  Out of the office and into the garden.  Do that this week!  And work on rebranding Womanliness!


  1. When I think of The Truly Womanly I think of an image I have of a woman I met forty years ago. She was tall, with long, strong, brown arms and was pregnant with a large belly. Her third child. Her hands, as befits a woman of such height, were large as well, and as she stood, she held her belly in those large womanly hands, made strong by the work of building her own house, and she massaged her baby from the outside, deeply and powerfully.
    Like that.

  2. Dear Betsy, Thank you for inviting me to think on something so wonderful this morning. Here are some musings:

    Womanly is powerful and wise, as Artemis, Minerva, or Athena were said to be. We could make war, but we opt not to. There are many other strategies for the advancement of our purposes.

    We bring forth life, We nurture it; We cultivate the future.

    We know of life, and death.

    A Wo-MAN knows how to embody the virtues of manliness and never lose the knowledge that she is that extra bit more, that WO of essence left for each of us to manifest in our own beautiful way.

    1. Thank you Shannon! That is a lovely definition.

  3. Cancer here says: I don't know about embroidered bees, but my womanly ass held open elevator doors today while moving my first-born into her new apartment.

    1. Nice use of the womanly ass, Sylvia!

  4. i think bee priestessing is womanly. duh. and i love you.

    1. Oh, yes! Field trip to Missoula, J?

  5. OK, I admit your post made me think of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_the_Bee_Girls.

    Maybe not the best embodiment of womanliness (note the title has "Girls" not "Women"), but still.

    I wouldn't take the asymmetry between a woman being called manly and a man being called womanly as a mark against the word "womanliness" itself. It's a pretty general thing that it's fine for women and girls to be associated with masculine things (clothes, toys, jobs), but problematic in various ways for it to go the other way around.

    1. Hmm, Invasion of the bee girls looks kind of black widowish....

      I think the asymmetry itself is the crux of the matter, though.

  6. I can't listen to new ideas or new music or new anything on my car radio because it makes me forget what I'm doing. I get so involved processing the "new" that I'm afraid I will drive the car off the road. How do you do it?

    The story about the New York skyscraper is absolutely a head-shaking experience. I am so glad that former student got to have her part of the story fleshed out.

    1. Hmm, newness and driving, I haven't given that much thought. Maybe what we need, Jennio, is a driver! Wouldn't that be sweet.

      I know, I'm still floored about the skyscraper tale. GRRR.

  7. Womanly men are all over the place at my work: house-husbands, guys changing diapers, feeding toddlers, lying on the floor so the kiddies can crawl all over them. And admiring their women with their bursting bellies and wide asses.

    BTW-men who care for babies have lower testoserone levels. True story.

  8. PS-putting Pisces first makes us fishes so happy!


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