It never ceases to amaze me when guys who I train with are shocked to find out that I can be girly. When one of the Daitoryu students saw me with a purse, he said it was weird to see me carrying one. Sensei Tracey (who is a man) said “Well, what do you expect her to have, a tool belt?”. Later that same student remarked that he thought I was just carrying the purse to use as an “attack bag”.
At the last Karate convention, a young man told me he was amazed by the fact that I paint my nails all pretty, since I compete in tournaments. Apparently those two things are mutually exclusive in his mind. One day when I was injured I went to Jiu-Jitsu class to take pictures, and I had my hair down, and makeup on. About halfway through class Adam looked at me and said in astonishment “Oh, it’s Gina!” Up until that point he’d had no idea who the lady walking around the mat taking pictures was. Amy told me that once when she saw Conan outside of the dojo, he didn’t recognize her, because she was wearing high heels.
It seems as though women who train martial arts are often perceived as being less feminine, so I suppose it’s shocking for some men to see us when we look more traditionally female. When I’m training, I actually kind of want the men to forget that I’m a woman, so I guess I shouldn’t mind when they do.
I can be a little on the girly side, and I can hold my own in a dojo full of men. I don’t wear makeup when I train, and I don’t go around town beating people up with my “attack bag”. There’s a time and place for everything, and most people only see one aspect at a time, so I think it sometimes just surprises them to see a different side.