My friend M recently (in the past few months) jokingly called me a manly girl. I will never let him forget it of course. But it makes me think of two fairly recent experiences.
When climbing with Exhibit A the first day, it was warm out, so I took off my shirt after hiking up and just had a sports top. He had never seen me without being covered up (I had met him at Thanksgiving time). His reaction: "look at those pipes!" I was proud, but never had heard that term for muscle arms. Whatever - so I posed. Of course, it's a term used for men - I googled it, and the term pipes was used for women for leaky pipes and strengthening pelvic muscles.
Then climbing with my ex this weekend, who is a BIG workout nut (btw, if anyone wants to date a guy who's in great shape and a good man, I can give you his email), looks down at me when I'm starting this really hard climb and says "look at those biceps!" I'm in the middle of swearing my head off working to get up the climb without falling, and he says that. I thought he was trying to distract me, but when I got up top he said he was serious. Six years of marriage and one of divorce, and NOW he starts noticing my body.
Oh, and Internet radio man had said on our follow up call that he was more scared of me... Again, likely because of my muscles.
Yes, I'm a strong woman. I don't wear makeup or wear stilettos, but I look good in a dress nevertheless.