Variety is the Spice of Life

There is a tendency for people to assume that just because X was good for them, then it’s what is best for everyone. So, I thought I’d do a little exercise in which I list all the different ways I can think of that make us different:

Skin color — ranging from very light to very dark, with some of us having various undertones that are more yellow or red than others. But, basically we’re all the same — just different amounts of melanin.

Hair color —

  • red (ranging from fire-engine red to dusky auburn to “strawberry blond”)
  • blond (ranging from nearly white to “dishwater blond”)
  • brown (ranging from nearly “dishwater-blond” [why do they call it that??] to nearly black)
  • black (with different undertones — some black hair has bluish undertones, others don’t)

Hair texture — thick, thin, curly, straight, wavy, kinky

Eye color — all shades of blue, brown, green, black, gray, hazel; plus a range from wide-set to narrow-set eyes

Height — ranging from probably 4′ to just over 6′ tall for most women, absent any growth problems one way or the other

Personality — typically divided into four types, with some overlap. I don’t get into that, because I have too much of a tendency to pigeon-hole or stereotype myself or others into their supposed group, rather than just taking people as they are.

Face shape — long and narrow, long and wide, short and narrow, short and wide

Jaw shape — wide, narrow, angular

Noses — big, little, broad, narrow, upturned, down-turned, Roman, Grecian

Body proportions — long torso, short torso, long legs, short legs; upper leg longer or shorter than your lower leg

Figure — hourglass or more like a stick figure? or like an hourglass with too much sand in either the top or the bottom, rather than being nicely distributed like in pictures? Do you gain weight like an “apple” or “pear”?

Legs — “gynic” or “andric”? These are new terms I recently discovered — “gynic” means that your legs are bigger around, while “andric” is more “chicken legs”. As a very gynic-legged woman and girl, I envied those who had skinny legs, always wishing I had them, and sighing over my “fat thighs” [even when I was at my thinnest and healthiest, my thighs were still… substantial]; yet I have had numerous compliments from women who had thin legs like I wish I had, saying they wished their legs were more muscular like mine! It just goes to show you…

As a rule, man’s a fool.

When it’s hot, he wants it cool.

When it’s cool, he wants it hot.

He always wants it what it’s not.

Menstruation —

  • Menarche typically from 11-16 now (my mom started when she was 10.5, and normal starting times are getting earlier — nobody’s really sure why, but some people point to hormones in animal meats, others say that menarche has been getting earlier for the past couple of centuries, prior to artificial hormones, and say that it is our improved diets that have allowed younger girls to become fertile; the Olympic gymnasts tend to have such low body fat that they don’t menstruate — their bodies simply cannot support another life, so they don’t ovulate, apparently)
  • Length of cycles — probably a normal range is from 21-35 days
  • Length of bleeding — some women only bleed a few days, others regularly go at least 7; plus it can change — after I had my first baby, I typically was only 5 days, whereas before the first birth and after the second, typical is 7 days
  • Regularity — my mom was so regular that when she hadn’t started by 2 p.m. one day, she called her mother (long distance!) that night to tell her she was pregnant again. My Grandmother said, “You can’t possibly know you’re pregnant yet,” but my mom was right.
  • Menopause — some women start very early, even in their 30s or 20s, although some of these could be medical problems and could be changed by medication; typical range is 40s-50s

Miscellaneous —

  • blood type — A, B, AB, & O (not to mention the subtypes); plus Rhesus factor — positive or negative; secretor vs. non-secretor
  • second toe longer than your big toe
  • ability to wiggle one’s ears (not genetic — I taught myself how to do that, and can even wiggle them independently)
  • ability to curl or roll your tongue (genetic — no amount of trying will enable you to overcome your genetic ability — I can curl my tongue, and roll it to one side, but not the other; somebody I know, but I forget who — perhaps my oldest sister, cannot roll her tongue at all)
  • split uvula — that’s the little thing that hangs down in your throat — my oldest sister’s is split, most people’s are single
  • ear lobes — attached or unattached
  • fingerprints — whorls, loops, or arches
  • natural hair part — yes, no, side, middle; Any callicks/cowlicks? Does your hair naturally whorl on your crown (more obvious with short hair, particularly boys’) that makes certain hairstyles nearly impossible? My niece has two whorls on her crown — not really noticeable now, but when she was a baby, it was pretty obvious
  • sense of direction (my husband has incredible sense of direction — I joke it’s because he took all of his twin’s iron <i>in utero</i>, so he’s a natural compass [and fwiw, his brother does not have a good sense of direction, which lends credence to my theory, even if it’s mostly jest]; others  can’t find their way out of a wet paper sack)
  • right-handed, left-handed, ambidextrous
  • lips — full, thin, nearly-nonexistent
  • food allergies, intolerance — lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, red dye #40 (makes my nose itch)
  • number of siblings and birth order
  • favorite color, ice cream flavor, meal, sport, recreation, vacation spot, automobile…

There is so much variety in the world, it is impossible to fit everyone into the same mold. Not everyone is going to want to have a home birth; not everyone is going to want a hospital birth. Not everyone is going to want to go into labor naturally; not everyone is going to want a vaginal birth. Not everyone is going to want to have the same “comfort measures” in labor that you liked. Not everyone is going to want to push in just one style. Not everyone is going to feel the same way about pregnancy, labor, birth, or postpartum. Some women would be pregnant their entire lives if they could; others look at pregnancy as something to be endured so they can have a baby. Some women love the newborn stage and would bottle it up if they could, while others say they would rather adopt a toddler so they don’t have to put up with all the demands of a newborn (the lost sleep seems to be the particular refrain; and some women have had only colicky babies, so imagine that every child they have will scream for hours every night).


Live and let live.


One Response

  1. Variety is good.


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