There are two types of women: poodles and wolves.
I'm a poodle and I don't say this to brag. It's a bit embarrassing, to be honest.
Comparing women to dogs, you exclaim. That sounds like something Donald Trump would do. And, in fact, has done. He's probably doing it somewhere on the campaign trail right now.
But this is different. This poodle/wolf categorization of women is something feminist Jessi Klein came up with and it's many shades of interesting.
Klein is the head writer and producer of Inside Amy Schumer but before that she was a stand-up comedian and writer for Saturday Night Live. Early one morning, at about 2a.m. after a long writing session, Klein and her co-worker Emily were walking past a set in the Saturday Night Live office and glanced up to see Angelina Jolie being interviewed by Larry King. She was…Angelina Jolie. Luminous. Resplendent. All the superlatives.
And they…were not. They were delirious with exhaustion but also just…not Angelina Jolie. Because who is, right?
As Klein writes in her brilliant memoir, You'll Grow Out of It, she and Emily gazed at the screen in wonder. Then Emily said, "Isn't it amazing that we're the same species she is? It doesn't even feel like we're the same species."
This is not an uncommon thought to have when you're looking at Angelina Jolie.
Klein added it was like the way poodles and wolves are both technically dogs but on the face of it (and in every way, TBH), really don't seem to share any kind of common ancestor.
That's when Klein decided that some women are poodles and some are wolves (for the record, she's "always clearly been a wolf"). Here's how you can tell the difference:
- Poodles are confident.
- Poodles are always late.
- Poodles laugh a lot!!!
- Poodles always wear matching bras and underwear.
- Poodles lose their virginity in high school.
- Wolves need to eat more than poodles do (both larger amounts and more frequently).
- Wolves wear lip balm.
- Wolves can't deal with thongs.
- Wolves sweat a lot.
- Wolves are funny.
- Wolves show up ten minutes early to everything and are always the first ones there and then have to fake a conversation on their cell phones so they look like they know other human beings on this earth.
- Wolves usually own two bras total and neither of them matches their tattered old Gap underwear.
- Wolves lose their virginity during their junior year of college at the very earliest.
I know I'm a poodle because all of those points (except for matching bra and undies) are true. So does that help you work out which one you are?
Something important to understand: being a wolf or a poodle is not about beauty. Not at all.
It's about who you inherently are. About how easily the conventionally feminine behavior comes to you, and how much you enjoy it. Of poodles, Klein writes:
"They are not necessarily the most beautiful women or even the prettiest; they just seem, without trying at all, to always be in sync with their yin quality (that's the girl one, right?), like an iPhone in constant communication with its cloud."
To further illustrate the difference, she provides a list of famous women who are poodles and famous women who are wolves:
- Angelina Jolie
- Keira Knightly
- Charlize Theron
- Kate Moss
- Nigella Lawson
- Sofia Vergara
- Kristen Bell
- Natasha Lyonne
- Sandra Bullock
- Helena Bonham Carter
- Tina Fey
- Jennifer Aniston
Trust me, this is an excellent game to play. These lists are subjective not definitive. For example, Klein and her friends are divided over whether Aniston is a Wolf or a Poodle. She writes:
"I have friends who think she is a poodle and argue that the reason she is a poodle is that she's beautiful. And she is beautiful. BUT BEING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT WHAT MAKES YOU A POODLE OR A WOLF. There are millions of beautiful wolf women out there. It's how much of the beauty feels like work, like maintenance. Aniston is stunning, but I always have the impression that her beauty comes with an enormous price tag. Getting your hair to be the color of a sunbeam passing through a lion's mane don't come cheap. And yes, in Hollywood everyone's beauty is expensive, but there are a few ladies who seem like they're keeping very high tabs permanently open at every groomer in town. And yes, Janiston would be stunningly beautiful even if she did nothing, but it's the fact that she chooses to do EVERYTHING that tells me she's a wolf. If you look at her high school yearbook picture, where she has thick eyebrows and an (ever so slightly) bigger nose, you can see she felt like a wolf. I'm certain she still feels like one. She'd probably feel like a wolf no matter what happened in her life—once a wolf always a wolf - but nothing will really make you feel like a wolf like your husband leaving you for a poodle."
In this episode of the Mamamia Out Loud podcast, we had a spirited discussion about a number of other famous women, trying to work out whether they are poodles or wolves.
The hardest person to classify? Kim Kardashian.