Mike's Field Guide To Tough Chicks.
Tough Chicks are the coolest type of female around, except maybe for Tough Rich Chicks. But those are rare. All my life I've sought out Tough Chicks for dating and hanging-out-with purposes, and it's always been extremely rewarding. I always just hated frilly, frowsy, helpless Gurly-Gurls. Southern Belles are the absolute worst type of Gurly-Gurl, by the way, and are the archetype by which the genre is defined. Avoid them like death; they're dysfunctional, whiny, clingy, deceitful, unintelligent but guileful, and generally useless. Please note also that Tough Chicks are not in any way to be confused with Hard Women, who are also must-to-avoid. While the Tough Chick may live in a trailer (almost always only a temporary condition so they can save up money to go to Cozumel or Czechoslovakia or buy a '50 Ford), they are not OF the trailer park, even though they will sometimes jokingly refer to themselves as "trailer trash." The Hard Woman doesn't understand why anyone would want to pay good money to live anyplace else. The Tough Chick knows that violence is an extremely stupid and unproductive way to handle domestic disputes; the Hard Woman will suddenly smash a beer bottle over your head without warning and claim it was for something you said two weeks ago, even though she's always too drunk to remember what happened yesterday. Hard Women are identifiable by copious quantities of blue or green eyeshadow and the stale cheap beer smell on their breath. They also tend towards cowboy boots and Camaros. For more on Hard Women and the men who love them, see MulletsGalore.com. Meanwhile, onwards:

A Tough Chick digs real men, but not macho assholes. The grease under the nails thing fits in here, but just try pinching her ass uninvited with those greasy paws and see what you get. Asshole.

A Tough Chick doesn't need you to change a tire, she can do it herself. But she appreciates the help.

A Tough Chick drinks real liquor, not some fruity pink crap or anything involving milk or blue Curacao. The only time she stoops to frozen drinks is for a lark or on a tropical vacation. Give her a bourbon and coke or a V and T and she's just fine. Then you can both sit at the bar and make fun of the dilettantes and amateur drunks with their Strawberry Margaritas and Sex On The Beaches. As a related identifier, she can hold her booze well, but if she does get a trifle smashed, she will still maintain her decorum at least somewhat and is usually a fun drunk. You will never have to bungee-cord a Tough Chick onto the back of the bike so she doesn't fall off. If she should feel inclined to expose her own personal nipples to public view at some point, she will be funny and a little sexy about it and not slutty, trashy, or over-serious. If she seems inebriated to the point of collapse, watch over her carefully - some scumball in the bar has recognized her value and has slipped her a roofie.

A Tough Chick will never have to buy all her own drinks in a bar. People will want to buy them for her, even if you're around. This doesn't necessarily mean they're trying to snake you; they just like her.

A Tough Chick doesn't mind if you look, but you better not stare, creep.

A Tough Chick is loyal. She'll stand at your back in a bar fight with a knife in one hand and the car keys in the other. The Tough Chick won't need to borrow your knife - she has her own.

A Tough Chick has the annoying yet endearing quality of being able to grab any of your hats, no matter what type, put it on herself, and instantly look way cooler than you ever did in it. She can pull off all sorts of ordinary or unusual clothing combinations with style and panache. She makes anything look good. If she wears jeans and a baby-tee, she's cute. If she wears leather jeans and a ripped-up cowboy shirt tied across her midriff, she's hot as hell. If she wears a strapless evening gown with a corsage, she's unexpectedly dazzling and radiant. You will sometimes feel like a hapless schlub next to her.

A Tough Chick knows what you mean by the term "Tough Chick" and understands that it's not meant to be in any way condescending, insulting, or slanderous, but highly complimentary. She knows it's pretty much the same as what Sinatra meant when he called a woman a "broad."

A Tough Chick takes no shit, from you or anybody else. On the other hand, she will never give you any (undeserved) shit either. Tough Chicks are not in the shit business.

A Tough Chick would do Angelina Jolie in a hot second, and doesn't care if even her mother knows it.

A Tough Chick is independent, smart, smart-assed, funny, rowdy, and resourceful. She always knows where there's a liquor store or after-hours bar open. Chances are she'll have friends who work there.

A Tough Chick likes your friends and doesn't mind hanging out with them. Likewise, her friends are always great too. Don't be surprised if one of your friends hooks up with one of her friends at some point. Be happy for them - they're both coming out on the good side.

A Tough Chick is capable of morphing into a Gurly-Gurl, but only temporarily, for brief periods in appropriate circumstances. For example, bring a puppy or kitten home as a gift for her and watch her go all teary and mushy. Likewise, if she seems giggly, she won't be annoying about it. More likely, you'll be giggling with her yourself in pretty short order.

A Tough Chick is bold and unself-conscious enough to fart audibly in public if circumstances warrant, but she's classy enough to realize that circumstances rarely if ever warrant. If for some reason they should, she will not ask for anybody's permission.

A Tough Chick may or may not have tattoos, but she likes yours.

A Tough Chick thinks Captain Picard is sexy, if she even knows who he is, which she may not.

A Tough Chick doesn't like little yappy-ass rat-dogs.

A Tough Chick thinks Jon Bon Jovi is a fucking poof. She knows Ozzy and Bon Scott rock. She gets excited over Elvis and tingly over Gene Vincent. She likes early swing and big band but probably hates Modern Jazz.

A Tough Chick will sit up with you and drunkenly discuss philosophy, religion, great books, and the wonders of WD-40 with you till the sun comes up. Then, when you go to bed, watch out: Tough Chicks are sexual dynamite. You could possibly end up seriously hurt. You will always have that painful pelvic-bone bruise the next day, and possibly claw-marks as well. They are adventurous and uninhibited. The sheets will get all sweaty and end up all wadded from all the thrashing around. If you have a cat who is accustomed to sleeping with you, he or she will angrily glare at you for hours the next day.

Tough Chicks are not easy to find, although there are many pseudo-Tough Chicks out there masquerading as the real deal. For real Tough Chicks, try the Lower East Side in New York City. New Orleans seems to be populated almost exclusively with bona-fide Tough Chicks. There seem to be only a very few in the rest of the South, probably due to the preponderance of dainty little Southern Belles, who Tough Chicks hate as much as I do. My close friend Karen in NOLA is as fine an example of true Tough-Chickdom as I can think of. She's beautiful, brilliant, and witty. She's petite and speaks with a kind of soft-pitched kitten voice, but I've seen her clear a bar full of rowdy asshole frat-boy drunks with a hard shout and a menacing glare. She's simply amazing with the hat thing too. I was hanging out with my friend Rachel from NYC once. We ended up in an after-hours joint and sat there living it up (or down) till about 10 AM the next morning. We walked out into the street to head back to her apartment and the bright sunlight jumped me unawares. I swear I thought I could actually hear my eyeballs sizzling. Rachel cooly reached into her purse, whipped out a pair of shades, and slipped 'em on. Then she smiled at me and sweetly said, "Asshole." My friend Jessi from NJ is dainty, slim, and lovely. She's also sassy, a two-fisted drinker and can weld as good as any guy I ever saw. My friend Sarajane from Detroit is pretty, brash, redhaired, and knows more about cars than I do. My former girlfriend Jennifer from Long Island is sweet and kindhearted and intelligent and punched out her psycho ex-roomate when she threatened to throw Jen's cat out the window of their apartment. My friend Erin in Brooklyn might've been the first true Tough Chick I ever met. She had her own pair of custom-made brass knuckles with her name engraved on 'em and used Triple Sec as a hair fixative. She's now married to a great guy named Terry Serpico, who's an actor. He was in Donnie Brasco - he's the guy in the poolhall who gets slapped around by Johnny Depp. (Note: when I asked him if it didn't pain him somewhat to let a punk like Depp slap him around, he kind of grimaced, then grinned and said "Hey, I'm an actor." Great guy.) If and when you do run across a real Tough Chick, grab hold of her and hang on; it might get wild, but it's a wonderful ride. I've been fortunate enough to have several Tough Chicks as friends and/or lovers in my life, and am grateful to whatever Heaven there might be out there for it.