We think it is, sometimes. Because. Because we want him to want us. We want him to look at us the way he looks at the girl in the yoga pants at the cash desk – the one laughing and tipping her head back and touching her neck as she flirts with the cashier. In that moment, we feel our value diminish – even if it is just slightly – because we lost his attention. It went elsewhere. Is she prettier? Thinner? Easier? We think that because he’s looking at her it’s because he doesn’t want to look at us, and that hurts. It makes us hate the girl. It makes us think of men as a scarce resource that we have to fight for. Argue over. We behave as if there isn’t enough to go around.
Why is that?
I do it too. I dress up and wear the fancy lipstick and stand at the bar and flirt. I feel good when I get attention, and when I get attention I feel confident. When I feel confident that breeds confidence, and then I’m the most fuckable woman in the room. And I see – I see the women at other tables giving side-eye and judging. Forming cliques and gangs and marking territory. Me too. But. It shouldn’t be that way. My self-esteem should not be bolstered by feeling pretty, and it shouldn’t be that my having a good time means, somehow, the other single women in the bar are having less of a good time.
I’m pretty anyway, whether they tell me so or not. So is every other woman in there.
I hate that we fight over them like it’s the most important thing.
Are we doing it to ourselves?
There’s a group of us who hang out, and there’s this one guy who is kind of an asshole. Talks about women like they’re possessions, land to be conquered and claimed. I’m not a needy, unfinished woman. I’m not dumb and I do not dislike myself. And yet. Around him, the way he mixes charm with misogyny with intellectual discussion with genuinely funny jokes, I find myself thinking, I want his approval. I want him to want me. It’s crazy! Insane! I would have to hate myself to go to bed with him! And yet. And yet, and yet – there is the tiniest of part of me that sees his self-assuredness and thinks that by taking him to bed I am somehow more.
Our worth is not based, you guys, on how much anybody wants to fuck us. It isn’t. It isn’t. It isn’t.
Our worth is in our word. In doing what we say we’re going to do. Our worth is our everyday kindness, to others. To ourselves. Our worth is that we remember to call. Made the beautiful thing. Stood as witness to the truth of another.
Our worth is words heard, comforts uttered, championing when they couldn’t do it themselves. It’s in seeing through another day, living, just existing, and in finding the courage to define how we’ll have somebody else see us.
We clamber over each other thinking that securing the guy marks us as whole, when actually, needing that validation in the first place is what means we never will be worthy.