Friday, May 3, 2013

A Thank You to Archaeology Men. Aka, some of the best kinds of men.

Friday, May 3

3:00 PM

A Thank You to Archaeology Dudes Everywhere. 
The Perks of My Life – Archaeology Men ROCK!
            I was talking to my Mom today on the phone about life in general, and my life in particular. We we’re discussing my choices and I had one of those moments. You know, one of those crystalline occurrences of reflection that break through your everyday life and help you re-evaluate. I’ve known for a long time that I am lucky. Lucky in life, lucky to be so happy, so fulfilled everyday, lucky to love my career so much. But as a woman I realized I am extraordinarily blessed also.

This is me, looking FAB. And how I look, everyday. 
            I am 24 years old, and totally at peace with how I look, how my body looks, how men see me, and how it all fluxuates. Part of that probably is a healthy dose of confidence. After dating several wonderful men for a few years at a time I’ve come to see that true attraction and true love is not based on how well I do my makeup and hair. It is my whole self that reels them in. But after a few hours of reflection I think I’ve come to the conclusion that it is also very much my choice of profession and those people I see everyday. (Photos given as examples of my everyday looks. Very Runway.)

I love those overalls. I mean, I LOVE them. 
For the past few years of my life, everyday I head to work in a sports bra, goodwill shirt, usually some version of stretchy pants or carhart overalls, and boots. I have no makeup on (it will sweat off/get in the way, and I don't like having stuff on my face) and pull my hair up in some sort of knot contortion. I sweat. I mean I SWEAT. And if its summer, or a particularly physical day I sweat A LOT. My face turns beet red, I have perpetual wacked out suntan lines (white foot, multi-strap back, and a torso of the purest snow), and I spit, a lot. Andddd we all do. All female archaeologist do this, some are a little more hesitant to cross into androgynous waters, but most of us has given up caring or trying to be ladylike. Now, I can see you thinking; how admirable they work so hard! But I’m sure it’s not great for their self asteem! They probably don’t get much done in the way of dating and attraction looking like that. HA! The more absurd thing is…. WE DO! On every site, every where, every project, everyone knows going in someone will end up dating. I mean we don’t really see many other people. Regardless, relationships of all types happen all the time within crews.

Today, that moment of clarity helped me to see that although I am a strong, independent, confident women, its certainly not all me that helps me do that. I can feel that way so easily because the men that surround me in my life appreciate all of those things. They see my female peers and I looking for all the world like construction workers every single day, they see us spitting, and shoveling, and covered in stank and it doesn’t phase them a bit. In fact, I feel like its safe to say I’ve heard numerous times they admire us for it. How can it be that we can look so gross and still be admired as women?

I am holding a machete. All my best outfits are
complimented by a deadly weapon.
Because these men are the rare ones. I’ve heard a million times it takes a special type to stick with this job, and that is so true for both men and women. But these men are the rare men who appreciate and prefer strong, independent women. They aren’t judging us based on our hair and makeup scheme. They see us in our most elemental form and find the beauty in that. How do I know? Because no matter where I go, female archaeologists are still getting love, still being pursued, still being admired by their male and female counterparts. We, as a profession live in a world apart from most. But in our little slice of it, our world is based on a different scale. The kind of scale that is based more on the natural, than the created I think.

Hence, I don’t find it necessary to try to enhance my appearance much to impress men. I don’t feel like wearing overalls makes me unattractive. I don’t feel like playing stupid or acting weak will make me more attractive. I mean I’m telling you that I went for days/near weeks at a stretch without seeing a mirror. Wearing clothing that most women my age would laugh uproariously at, and I never felt unattractive. Part of that is being confident. Part of that is truly not caring much how other people feel about it. But a part of that is also getting to be surrounded by men and women who for the most part do not base their whole judgment of a woman on ability to make her self up well. I’m not talking about myself in particular, but all women. Time and time again I’ve seen the attraction happen, heard these men expressing what they find attractive, and its not at all usual. Its quite rare I think in this world, and I just realized today how lucky I am to work in a field where that is the norm.

Classic stretchy pants/sweat shirt combo. Preferred Fall and Spring outfit. 
Who knew under all that gear lie a woman. 
Sunburn. Makes the youngest people look old.
I sometimes feel like I have to prove myself a little more, because I can’t physically be as strong/big as a guy. In archaeology that can be a problem. But I’ve never fully appreciated that I don’t have to feel self-conscious about my appearance. I don’t go to work wondering if my outfit makes me look fat/good. I don’t have to check my hair or makeup, and I don’t ever really worry about how I look to the men and women I work with. I’ve taken for granted that they aren’t judging me too harshly for not being glammed up, they aren’t finding me a less attractive person. And that, my friends I realized is rare, beautiful, and lucky. Archaeology as a rule is a rough path to follow. But everyday I realize there are more hidden perks around every corner; knowing large groups of rare men and women like this is just one of them.