"My grandmother was a very tough woman. She buried three husbands, and two of them were just napping." -Rita Rudner
I love writing about tough women. My heroines can give a punch, take a punch, take a shot, ride a motorcycle, dance, sing, play an instrument. If that's not tough, I don't know what is.
But how do you know whether a woman is tough, or just a cunt? One is not synonymous with the other. I've known lots of incredibly nice, considerate women who were tough as old boot leather. I've also known plenty of women who thought they were "tough", but really were just jerks.
So what criteria do I use when creating a tough woman? The same criteria I use in my own life to determine whether I'm dealing with a bona fide bitch, or just a poser.
Here are a few checkpoints for your consideration:
Tough women know when to stand their ground. I can remember a few times in my life when I should have staked out a position, but didn't. I can also remember a few times when I did, even though it was messy.
Sometimes, you need to let people know where you stand. It's called setting boundaries. Tough women realize when to set boundaries, and they know how to do it.
Tough women know how to roll with the punches. There are also things that aren't worth getting into a brawl over. For all the times you need to set boundaries, there are also times to let things slide. Not everything has to turn into a fistfight. Not everything should.
Tough women look at people who get angry and offended at everything, and shake their heads. They prefer to save their strength for the battles that count.
Tough women are fierce friends, loyal partners, and grizzly mamas. Shit-talkers, backstabbers, and cheaters need not apply. Whether it be a friend's ex who needs dressing down, or the neighborhood bully who always picks on their kid brother, tough women go to bat for the people they care about.
Tough women know how to drink. They know how to take a shot, and they know when to stop. Sometimes they push the limits, but it's never by accident. I like to think tough women have a special appreciation for straight whiskey, too, but that might just be me.
Tough women know they're not perfect. The most interesting people have flaws. Tough women are intimately familiar with theirs. Sometimes they even work on them.
But you won't see a tough woman beating herself up over things she can't change. If it's fixable, she fixes it without a fuss. If it's not, she embraces it as a part of her fabulous self, and moves on.
Tough women know other people aren't perfect. I used to have a supervisor whose idea of "supervising" was snapping at and putting down our fellow co-workers. She thought she was being assertive. Needless to say, no one liked -or respected- her much.
Truly tough women understand people mess up sometimes, and leave room for forgiveness when that happens. But god help you if you're just an asshole. Tough women might forgive you, but they'll rip you a new one first.
Tough women know how to change a tire (and other things). There's nothing wrong with asking for help, but tough women only ask as a last resort. They'll change their own tire, drill their own hole, build their own fence, cook their own dinner. If there's something they don't know how to do, they prefer to have someone teach them, rather than do it for them.
They take pride in being capable. And if the doing gets a little dirty, well, all the better.
Tough women love the feel of dirt under their fingernails.