Lead image by Kayla Silber, Inline artwork by Daiana Feuer


Photo by Lead image by Kayla Silber, Inline artwork by Daiana Feuer

19 Signs You’ve Become a Woman

How you know you’ve crossed the bridge to womanhood.

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I grew up believing the transition from girlhood to womanhood would be precise, complete, and maybe even a little sexy. I thought I’d go to sleep a naive, pigtailed girl, and wake up a worldly, hourglass-shaped, lingerie-wearing woman smoking from a cigarette holder.

At age 30, I’m still waiting. It’s not that easy to pinpoint which life events mark our transition to becoming Women, capital W. It’s not puberty or losing your virginity (because women are supposed to be good at sex, right?) And it’s not necessarily when you get married (see Courtney Stodden), or when some asshole busboy calls you “ma’am.”

But I’ve given it some thought, and I think I finally understand what it means to feel womanly. The metamorphosis from girl to woman can be a confusing process, but there are some foolproof ways to tell if you, too, have crossed the bridge to womanhood.

(Note: if you’re wearing lingerie while chain smoking from a cigarette holder, you can probably skip this.)

There’s cake or pizza in the breakroom at work – and you don’t eat it

There was a time you’d jump at any opportunity for free food. But these days, you’re too busy for small talk in the kitchen, and it’s not worth wasting the calories on sheet cake from Ralph’s.


Something called “serum” has taken over your bathroom cabinet

You finally got your acne under control only to begin the never-ending war against wrinkles. You have products for every line of defense: anti-aging, anti-UV, anti-oxidant, anti-fine lines, anti-inflammation, anti-gravity. So what if the tiny bottles cost a fortune?


You buy extra birthday cards and generic gifts “just in case”


You’re at a novelty store buying a funny cat card, but it’s nobody’s birthday. This is how it starts. Soon you’ll be snapping up random candles and moleskin journals on sale and storing them in the Rubbermaid container that holds the cute wrapping paper you also bought on sale.


You’ve outgrown Forever 21

Turns out, forever doesn’t last that long. It’s hard to imagine yourself ever wearing polyester rompers or “evening” shorts again, and you have anxiety over exactly how they make their clothes so cheap (hint: it’s children). You’re also older than most of the moms in the store.


You buy the $7.99 bottle of wine

Two Buck Chuck used to be fine, especially when it was just going to get wasted on someone’s housewarming party. But now you pony up the extra $5 even when it’s just you drinking alone, eating a frozen vegetable lasagna and watching the latest Rob Lowe Lifetime movie.


You’ve come to terms with the fact that you’ll never be a lifestyle blogger

Sure, getting paid to make shower curtains and gluten-free peanut butter cups sounds great – but did you ever see yourself doing a photo shoot in a cute Anthropologie apron, really? You’d sooner have a job that offers health insurance.   


You go to bars where everyone’s sitting down

Bars used to be places you’d go hoping to meet a guy in finance and yell some clever anecdotes at him. But now all you really want is to hear what your friends are saying, an attentive server, ample seating and reasonable parking options.


You subscribe to Martha Stewart Living and Sunset magazine

Years ago you flipped through these at your mom’s house, once, when you were super bored. But now that recipe for shrimp spring rolls actually looks pretty tasty. And ooh, a feature on Pendleton blankets!


You haven’t seen Rihanna’s latest music video

In fact – you can’t remember the last time you watched a music video that wasn’t Gangnam Style.


Dry-clean-only items actually get dry-cleaned

The fact that you even have dry-clean-only items is already a sign because they definitely don’t sell those at Forever 21. Following the label instructions demonstrates extra maturity. Bonus woman points if you steam and/or iron!


Your purse is a one-woman survivalist unit

Somehow over the years, the “essentials” you needed on a daily basis swelled to fill your now 15-pound saddlebag. The items you routinely carry include, but aren’t limited to: water bottle, Luna bars, Tylenol, umbrella, lip balm, backup lip balm, sunscreen, Band-Aids, disposable toothbrush, disposable underwear, lint roller, extra pair of ballet flats, cyanide pills in case of enemy capture…


Hair removal is a daily battle

Grey hairs, mustache hairs, nipple hairs: these are unrelenting evils. Why does that one thick chin hair keep coming back even after laser removal? And why is it multiplying?


Poignant commercials get you misty-eyed

Whether it’s the triumphant story of an inner-city child, a man talking about his wife’s cancer, or – Jesus, no –Sarah McLachlan and those unbearably sad shelter animals, you’re totally okay with being manipulated.


A regular Coke is almost as exciting as cocaine



“30% more fiber!” is a legitimate selling point

You listen when Jamie Lee Curtis preaches the gospel of bowel regularity, and you’ve been turned on to the benefits of soluble fiber (well, not turned on turned on).


You appreciate unwanted attention from men

When the cable dude – who looks like an extra from Deliverance – hits on you shamelessly, you surprise yourself by feeling flattered. He’s not threatening, and it’s nice to be reminded you’re a hot commodity, especially when you’re in sweats.


You’re giving bootcut jeans a second chance

You abandoned them in the early 00s, but sometime during the height of jeggings you had an epiphany: “Are bootcut jeans actually the most flattering for my body type?” You are hourglass-shaped now, after all!


Your parents are happy when you tell them you’re pregnant

Pregnancy’s been a life-ruining tragedy for so long, it takes a while to re-wire our brains. Oh no, mom and dad are crying…from happiness? Because I have a stable job and a supportive partner and we were trying to conceive? Oh, right! This is great news!


You’ve seen the bottom of a Chapstick tube

You never thought it was possible, but you actually made it through an entire tube without losing it or putting it through the wash. It proves you’re capable of taking care of something other than yourself.  

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