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Mar 9, 2010

The girl I want to be

OK, let's just get it all out in the open shall we?

When you're a man with a sewing blog and a glamorous identical cousin named Cathy -- people are going to make assumptions.

Accurate, rock-solid, spot-on assumptions.

Now, I love being a man and haven't been (unintentionally) mistaken for a girl since the 4th grade.  But haven't we all-- even the straightest-of-straight arrows among us -- wondered what it might be like to be a member of the opposite sex (or something in-between)?

Who among us hasn't thought about what we might look like or whom we'd choose to be?  (Be real, people; I know that we have a few "Marlo" Brandos among us: I've seen what you sew.)

So yesterday, I received a message on my BurdaStyle "wall" from a young woman in Charleston, South Carolina, inviting me to look at what she'd made from the very same pattern I'd used last month to make these:


Readers, meet Rebecca, in her "Pink Pank Punk" skirt:


After examining Rebecca's project photos (click on them to supersize) and digging deep down to the bottom of my soul, I have decided to bestow upon lovely, young Rebecca my very first MPB Girl I Want to Be Award!

I know, I know, perhaps it's old-fashioned to refer to Rebecca as a girl.  You're missing the big picture here, people, especially since I am probably old enough to be Rebecca's father.

Let's get back to the skirt Rebecca made, shall we?  Here's the pattern I used, a copy of which Rebecca found online and purchased.

And here's Rebecca's version in pink linen, from the front:

And here's the back. 


I will say I was an eensy bit disappointed with that improvised center pleat but Rebecca openly admits in her project description that she's not very good at following instructions (ironing isn't mentioned).  That's when it hit me that, by God, this is exactly what I would have done if I were Rebecca!  All is forgiven.

Here is another photo of our sweet gamine:

This is the photo that put Rebecca over the top to win the Girl I Want to Be Award, hands down.   Honestly, how many ways can you spell adorable?  The whole look is perfect and it doesn't hurt that she was blessed with Esther Williams' shoulders.


Rebecca gives her outfits clever names.  This one's called "Summah Time!"  How Peter Lappin is that although it never even occurred to Peter to ever go to the trouble?  He gives his projects names like, "Men's Shirt."

If I were a girl I would want Rebecca's haircut too.  Doesn't it make you want to run out NOW and chop it all off?  So charming.  And how cute are those sandals?  Honestly, I could not have styled a better outfit for myself -- I mean, er, for Rebecca, if I'd tried.

Confidentially, I am a little scared of how Cathy is going to respond to all this given that we're very close and that, in a wig and under very careful lighting, I could even pass for her.  Isn't it starkly obvious that next to Rebecca, my cousin Cathy might as well be Marjorie Main?

Here's another photo of Rebecca, unconsciously channeling Audrey Hepburn, in a demure summer skirt she made out of a vintage sheet from Goodwill!  Now who does that remind you of?  Hellooo!

Sadly, Rebecca is still a college student  (Pass the geritol) but I know one day she is going to come to New York City and be my muse.  Or just go shopping with me.  She can consider this her invitation.

Congratulations on your award, Rebecca: YOU are the girl I want to be!

(If I were a girl.  Which I'm not.)

Please go to Rebecca's BurdaStyle page and tell her how much you like her clothes, her hair, and her total look!

In closing, I ask you, dear readers-of-mine, if you could be a member of the opposite sex -- OK, I'll make it easier -- if you had to be a member of the opposite sex, who would you choose to be?  

Who would be your recipient of your Boy/Girl I Want to Be Award?

And ladies, please, please, please, don't choose me: such calculated kissing-up is unseemly -- unless done really, really well.


  1. Can I choose not only a man, but a man caught in a moment? I would be Barrack Obahama catching a fly single-handed in the middle of an interview without breaking a sweat.

  2. Aww jeeze, that's a tough one! My first thought is someone gorgeous and mature, like Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan. But I think if I had to pick, though, it'd be Sting . . . gorgeous, stylish, talented, knee-buckling sexy!

  3. Jonathan Adler. He's an artist and designer and he wears orange pants--that would SO be me!

  4. I think the feeling would be mutual, Mikhaela. LOL.

  5. Rather Be Sewing - Lynne WMarch 9, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    Omar Sharif - debonaire and exotic...with that smoldering smile. Articulate and talented, well-heeled, well-traveled, well-chiseled. Still gracious and humble.

    Have I used enough adjectives yet? :)

  6. I'd have to be a member of the Spartan Army. Return with your shield or on it! That's bravery at it's best.

  7. I just want to put it out there that I think its sad you have to assure us that your prefectly happy being the amazing 'boy' that you are.

    Im assuming of course that there might have been a few questioning comments previously that I missed. and thus those people might be a little sad.

    OK boy I would like to be. First choice would be Vlad from this fashion blog

    Because: His name is so much cooler then mine, he is the most beautiful boy I have seen in a long long time and he is on of the fash pack of my home town which I'm assuming is a very hard club to join.

    My other choice just because he is famous enough that you will know him, Jared Leto.


  8. I spend a lot of time fantasizing about Wooing hot females. I always feel like Robin Hood. An adult Robin Hood with incredible moves and a suave presence. Someone who dances like hot butter and twirls ladies all over the dance floor. Although in these fantasies I still thought of myself as a woman, just a woman taking on roles that are traditional given to men. Even as a little girl when I would dream I would spend half the dream being a princess then suddenly I would shed my glittery dress and don shining armor (obviously switching to a "male" persona but I still felt like me) and defeating what ever evil was plaguing the lands.
    I have wondered what I would have looked like as a boy though, and I just don't think it would have been good for me. I think I would have made an awful ugly boy. My parents thought I would be a boy and they were going to name me after Patrick Swayze! I'm so not a Patrick. Maybe an Alexander, I do think highly of myself. Cause I'm Great!

  9. Well, this is a tough one...mostly because everyone I think of is not so much the guy I want to be, but the guy I want to be with, if you know what I'm sayin'. Style-wise, probably George Clooney. He's a "with" also, of course. :)

  10. Wow, that's quite a compliment! As for the boy I want to be, is it lame to say I'd be my husband so I could be with my awesomeness? Yep, I think that's pretty lame. :-)

  11. I think being a girl is so much better than being a boy that I can't think of any I'd want to be! I'd have to wear pants if I were a boy. I am not down with that.

  12. Kate, I agree with you. I was saying that thing about liking being a boy more ironically than anything. I think a lot of people still believe that gay men want to be women and that any man who puts on a dress is less a man than one who doesn't.

    I'm really happy that gender categories are much more fluid today than when I was growing up and young people -- and older people too -- have the freedom to express themselves authentically.

    That's really what Male Pattern Boldness is all about and one of the themes I will continue to explore. Stay tuned!

  13. Ditto on George Clooney. Someone who is smart, artistic and talented and doesn't take themselves too seriously.

  14. I find it funny that a fellow Jenny had the same answer as me - I'd like to be my husband, too. He is incredibly creative and has the enviable ability to figure pretty much anything out - he can build, he can paint, he can sew, and he's incredible at reverse-engineering. He has much nicer legs than I do. And his wife is AWESOME.

  15. I am perfectly happy to be me. I agree with Treina I love being a woman.
    That said, she is adorable and younger than my youngest, so really pass the Geritol.

  16. Did you know that there are some cultures which identify more than two genders? The Bugus people of Indonesia recognise 6 genders. I think the boy I would like to be would change from day to day. I'm quite enamoured of Stephen Fry at the moment, because I find him so interesting and could talk to myself for hours. I'm also impressed by Mark Webbber (Australian Formula One driver) because he is interesting, smart, community minded, not dragged down by the hype of Formula One, handsome and fit. I'd like to have a go at being Don McKellar (Canadian director) because he is fascinating and makes great films. There are too many to choose from. What a thought provoking post.

  17. I can really identify with this post. Whenever I developed a crush on a guy, I always found myself wanting to be just like him -dress like him, listen to the same music, drive the same car, have the same interests/skills/hobbies. I once dated a guy who I basically wanted to be, rather than be with, and things got very confusing (he was cool and different than anyone I had ever met). Fortunately several years of dating him left me pretty certain that I did not want to be him or be with him.

    I love my fiance, and I think if I were a guy that I would be jealous of him, because he is good looking and has a great sense of humor and is really smart and has cool hobbies, but he's also rather clumsy and falls down a lot, so I wouldn't want that.

    I haven't had a crush on a guy since I met my fiance, but I think if I had to look like a boy or possess the characteristics of a boy, it would most likely be Scottish actor David Tennant - he's a classical trained stage actor who is funny and brilliant and exceptionally cute and made me fall in love with the TV show "Doctor Who", which is quite something after a traumatic childhood spend running from the room crying whenever it would come on after Sesame Street.

  18. Great discussion, everybody!

    Kerry, I'd love to get Samantha's take, too!

  19. Yay! On so many levels. Fabulous post.

    So this got me thinking - the men I'd want to be are not NECESSARILY the men I find attractive. It's more a matter of how my personality and body would translate. So, my best conclusion so far: Jude Law. He's got looks, build, and geekiness I would inhabit.

    There are others whose style I would happily inhabit as a man: David Bowie, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jack Sparrow. I could probably pull more options from history and fiction than from modern men... Although, I wouldn't mind being whatever man Liv Tyler is involved with, or Brad Pitt as long as it meant being married to Angelina Jolie.

  20. David Bowie back in the Ziggy Stardust days. Love his wardrobe.

  21. I'm actually getting a headache from trying to think of which man I'd want to be. I've always felt lucky that I was a girl, not least becuase if I'd been a boy my parents would have called me Edmund.

  22. I'd want to be Fred Astaire, but not dead and not as old as he'd be if he were still alive. I love dancing, and anytime I watch one of his movies, I wish I could feel what it was like to dance like that. Plus I know he's not regarded as a great singer but I always find his singing voice so very charming.

  23. That is a seamingly(.com) appropriate choice, given your dance background, Elaine!

  24. On second thought, forget George Clooney. Angela Merkel is the man/person I'd like to be. Anybody who could shrug off GB like that and run a major country has cojones of steel.

  25. If I had to be a man, I'd need to be one who had the balls to define his own gender identity. Peter would be my role model. Then I wouldn't have to wear pants if I didn't want to, which I wouldn't. Mae

  26. I'm appalled! Surely you aren't abandoning Cathy?! Because let me tell you she's the polar opposite of Ma Kettle (Marjorie Main to those who are too young to remember)! She's a sassy yet sophisticated city girl! Perhaps we're glimpsing a bit of male menopause here?
    And as for me?? I find it difficult enough to maintain my own femininity to even think of a male counterpart! Sorry!

  27. I think I would have to be Adam Lambert because I think he is so FAB-U-LOUS with his rocking style! And HOT! And I have a terrible crush on this beautiful gay man.

  28. There are two men I'd like to be for a while, so I can learn how to be cool. First is Rupert Everett. I love his style, his accent, and his reservedness (is that a word!?). He's so calm, cool, and collected. Second, I want to be Bear Grylls!!!! I'd love the lesson in fearlessness and survival. I don't think I'd be very good at being him, though, because I WILL NOT EAT BUGS!

  29. Another wannabe Clooney-cloney here.

  30. This took about 2 seconds to decide - Jon Stewart. I *love* him.

  31. I have actually thought about htis sice yesterday and I do think about this kind of question a long time whenever it comes up. But I do not have idols and I can't for the life of me think of someone else I'd like to be, male or female. Nor could I ever, evenn as a child in primary school. I never wanted to be one of the Spcie Girls or Backstreet boys or whatever.
    I am, like some others, rather glad to be a woman. No, that comes across wrong, I guess, cause being a man wouldn't be worse, just different. I'm totally and utterly at ease being a woman, though.
    Of course there are characteristics I would like to change. I would certainly love to be more patient, less hot-tempered, less prone to fits of crying, more disciplined, you name it. I wouldn't mind getting a high-paying job, either. But even if all those things did chance over night, I still would want to be me. IT's not perfect, but at least it's *my* life, and everyone, no matter how rich and famous (maybe especially them) has to carry their own cross. I'd rather carry mine, because it's at least familiar. And not too heavy.

  32. If I wasn't a girl...I'd like to be a burly but sensitive bloke who is very outdoorsy and smart and who can build stuff.

    Like the spokesman for the local Cattleman's Association who occasionally appears on the news. I have no idea if he's actually outdoorsy or smart or if he can build stuff. But that's how I image he is.

  33. This is going to sound cheesy...but I'd be my dad, without the smoking. Smart, mild tempered and not following the crowd.

  34. To choose a guy "of the moment", I'd be Ben Epstein from HBO's new series "How to Make it in America". I love his laid-back style and when he flashes that smile..oooo wee.

  35. I'd probably be Ami James. He's creative and good at what he does, hasn't got any hair to irritate him, while he's doing his tattoo's, got great friends he gets to work with every day and a soft-spot for his dog. I'd be more than ok with that! ;-D

  36. I guess I'm boring as I really love being a girl. Like LOVE being a girl. So, I guess it doesn't surprise me when my BILs commented that I was the girliest girl they had ever met. Heh. ;)

    And now that I've seen what Rebecca did with that boxer pattern, I need it. And in pink linen, no less?! Ugh! ADORE!

  37. I listen to actor commentaries as I sew. I love to hear their take on the movie experience in their own voices. I think I learn a lot about people in their commentaries.

    I'd like to be Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings) ... he is erudite, humorous, and sweet natured.

    Viggo Mortensen (also Lord of the Rings) ... he is a master of acting, kind hearted, and widely read.

    Warwick Davis (Willow) ... he is charming, funny, and has an amazing memory.

    I suppose all three of these men exhibit characteristics that I admire. Their beautiful voices don't hurt any either.


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