"Good morning baby Kane!!!!" my friend Lyle happily greeted in Facebook chat.
"Hahaha. Wow, someone woke up on the really good side of bed," I said. "Kamusta?"
Lyle and I met a longtime ago during my first trip to the island of Boracay. He and his friends lived on the island, working as drag performers for tourists and they befriended me. I had just finished college, I was young and I was traveling alone. I was supposed to stay for three days in Boracay but I ended up staying for more than two weeks.
Lyle and his friends took me to Kalibo, to Iloilo, and I would have stayed longer if not for my mom frantically calling me and asking "What are you doing there? Umuwi ka na!"
At that time, I couldn't tell her I was just having sooooo much fun. Ahhhh, the joys of youth. Careless, carefree.
"Naloloka ako sayo!!!" Lyle exclaimed. "Ang guguapo ng kasama mo!!!"
"Oh my goddddddd!!!" I screeched back. "You're spying on meeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! I hate it!!!"
"Sino sa kanila ang boyfriend mo? (Who among them is your boyfriend?)"
"Wala asus. (No one.) I don't have a boyfriend now," I said.
"Bakit naman? (Why is that?)"
"I'm a Cosmo Girl," I said. "I guess ... I don't want to settle down with just anyone. I'm taking my time and, well ... I'm having fun while at it actually."
For more than two thousand years, women were told that their role in society is to be good wives to their husbands, and good mothers to their kids. From a young age, they were trained and groomed to wash clothes, cook food, sew dresses and be loyal and faithful to their men. To be single means you were an oddity, and most people either pitied or disdained you. To belong: you must be a Relationship Girl.
It wasn't until postwar America when a new kind of girl emerged. The rise of the Cosmo Girl can be traced to Helen Gurley Brown, who as editor of Cosmopolitan magazine in the 1960s to the 1990s shocked the modern world when she told single women that it's okay to be single, and that it's okay to have sex. She taught unmarried women how to look their best, have delicious affairs and ultimately bag a man for keeps.
Before she took over, Cosmopolitan's target reader was a married suburbanite, preoccupied with keeping the house spotless, raising the perfect child, baking the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. Brown ditched the children, the apron, the turkey and the house.
Gone was the Relationship Girl, and in her place was that Cosmopolitan Girl. Unencumbered by husband and children, the Cosmo Girl is self-made, sexual and supremely ambitious. She had delicious affairs, sizzling sex, looked great, wore fabulous clothes and looked even better when those clothes came off.
Yes, I'm a Cosmo Girl. And more often than not, I find myself caught up in the endless war between the Cosmo Girl and the Relationship Girl.
The Relationship Girl calls Cosmo Girl a slut, a whore, a drunkard who fills her empty life with random sex and loud parties to forget how meaningful her life is. So what if she's wearing beautiful clothes, so what if she gets all the hot guys: nobody loves her. She points to her beautiful home, her loving husband, her immaculately dressed children as proof of her success. Look! My life has meaning.
On the other hand, Cosmo Girl calls Relationship Girl a sell-out who got knocked up as a teenager and married her highschool sweetheart. Her life is filled with mundane, repetitive chores: washing the dishes, scrubbing the floor. All that she has is her family and her house, and nothing more.
In reality, people are rarely this extreme but I have often been the subject of strangers and friends questioning and judging my lifestyle.
"Gimik na naman?" ("Going out again?")
"Puro ka na lang sex." ("You're such a slut.")
"Lagi ka na lang lasing." ("You're always drunk")
"Bakit kasi hindi ka magpakatino?" ("Why don't you get serious and settle down?")
People would say these with a raised eyebrow and a questioning look on their faces. And I sometimes feel I have to explain my lifestyle and my choices again and again.
I hate Sundays. On most days, Cosmo Girl and Relationship Girl are even, but it is during Sundays when Relationship Girl triumphs and Cosmo Girl falls.
On Friday and Saturday nights, Cosmo Girl lords over the city. Clad in high heels and tight dresses, she sips a cocktail while playfully flirting with a guy she just met. Meanwhile, Relationship Girl is dead to the world, snoring in her bedroom waiting for her boyfriend or husband to come home.
But during Sundays, the tides turn. Relationship Girl is spotted shopping with her beau, lunching with the in-laws, attending mass in her classic Chanel. Meanwhile, Cosmo Girl is suffering from a massive headache; she wakes up drunk, next to a stranger she met last night, and her eyes are smudged with mascara.
Yes, ladies and gents, that's me on Sundays. And I expect that'll be the case for quite a few Sundays still. Until when, you may ask. My dear friends, only time will tell.
Written in memory of Helen Gurley Brown, who passed away in New York City on Aug. 13, 2012. Even when I become a Relationship Girl, I'd still be a Cosmo Girl at heart.