The other day I told my friend to “man up.” She was thinking about a career change but she was scared to leave the office job she’d had for a decade. “Man up,” I said, meaning it to sound inspirational, which, you know, maybe it did because we were three margaritas in and doing that intense conversation thing you do with close friends where you’re practically bumping foreheads and clutching each other’s arms as you make your drunken point. Close encounters of the cocktail kind, I call it.
Later I thought about what I’d told her to do. Man up? Man up? Why do we say that? To say “man up” is to imply that acting like a man will make you braver or cooler or able to accomplish more. What the hell? I found myself wondering why we don’t say woman up.
The next day I was in a coffee shop avoiding work. I made a list of phrases I say on the reg that are pretty darn sexist when you think about it. I frowned down at my laptop because, look, I don’t want to be sexist. I want to be empowering and awesome with my words. I want to be true to who I am as a person, which is first and foremost a female, then a bunch of other things like a yogi, an M&M addict, a Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror fan and, I don’t know, a Pisces. I decided to replace the offensive sexist phrases in my vocabulary with badass feminist slightly nerdy phrases that are more in line with how I see myself. (Full disclosure, I see myself as a hobbit vampire slayer from outer space.) Here is the result:
Man up: Buffy up.
Who wears the pants: Who wears the Wonder Woman bracelets?
Grow a pair: Grow a pair of Jem earrings (Showtime, Synergy!)
Ballsy: Hermione-y. (Okay, maybe this one is pushing it but it’s still better than ballsy. Ugh.)
Don’t be such a pussy: Don’t be such a Jar Jar.
Be a man: Be a She-Ra.
Take it like a man: Take it like a Starbuck. (Frak yeah. So say we all.)
Put hair on your chest: Put hair on your hobbit feet.
So, there you are. I like my list. I really can’t wait to tell someone to “Buffy up.” I’m gonna use this all day everyday. Like, “Hey, yo, can I get a taco plate and an order of fries? Oh yeah, I can eat it all, I’ll just have to Buffy up,” or “Let’s get another round, come on, Buffy up, bro.” Maybe I’ll become a spin instructor just so I can yell it at sweaty people. Not sure everyone will get my Battlestar Galactica reference but doesn’t that just make it all the more special? If anyone gives me shit about it, I’ll take it like a Starbuck. And next time a friend asks me for advice over drinks, I’ll just ask her who wears the Wonder Woman bracelets and then I’ll spin until I either turn into Lynda Carter or someone asks me to leave the bar.