We all have rules that we pretend to abide by in order to create some illusion of control when we begin seeing someone. No sex before the fifth date. He has to text me first. Two drinks per date. I won’t let him upstairs. But are these rules merely a façade, a way to maintain a sense of rationality when a boy pays attention to us or calls us beautiful? Because sometimes that’s all it takes for our grip to loosen and that “control” to slip right out of our fingers.
It has come to my attention how fundamentally unaware most of us women are of how much we are worth. How much we have to offer. To ourselves, to others, to the world.
I see it happen every day. Girl meets boy. Girl begins fooling around with boy. Girl feels in control, independent, in charge. This girl is sincere and honest and smart and beautiful. She can have anyone she wants. But she’s found a boy who pays her just the right dose of attention. Charms her just enough with his flirtations and trickery. And sooner or later, he beckons and she’s there. She tells herself she likes this deal. She’s the winner of this game. She has desires and needs and he’s an easy get. A means to an end. This new boy will no doubt have a girlfriend or sell pot out of his garage apartment or conveniently sleep on his cousin’s couch while he’s “figuring himself out”. Not exactly prince charming. And soon, he’ll become settled within their situation; become lazy. Rather than make a mock attempt to woo her, he’ll throw any miniscule amount of something possibly resembling romance out the window. He will send her a 2:00 am drunk text saying “Hey, cum over.” And she’ll justify it with a positive response, a subconscious willingness to comply. Rapid- fire hair removal, head to toe lotion lather, rush out the door.
This boy takes all shapes and forms, but the pieces always create the same whole. I have been privy to my fair share and have consoled too many girlfriends who’ve been left in the devastation of his dirty wake. We all tell each other the same thing, “That’s it! He can’t speak to you like that. Have some self respect”. But it’s easy to say that from the outside. Its like when we’re in it, we have blinders on. Our grasp of reality becomes clouded by cryptic text messages and feigned intimacy. We fool ourselves into accepting the situation; trick ourselves into believing we’re calling the shots. But time and again, we’re left with a bruised ego and the stench of regret lingering in the cloud of smoke he’s disappeared in.
You see this isn’t some isolated incident or a figment of my imagination. This has happened to nearly every girl I know. It happens to me almost constantly. Some people have selective hearing; I’m convinced women have selective sight when it comes to men. Because the sweet, considerate, worthy men are out there. They are asking us on dates and nervously drafting texts to send us and worshiping us for the goddesses we are; however, we dismiss them. They bore us because they don’t present us with a challenge. Instead, we focus our attention on the projects. The “bad boys”. The ones with complicated pasts and identity issues and stained t-shirts. Why? Because we’re convinced we can fix them: the recipe for disaster.
We feel so accomplished when these guys choose to pay us attention. It’s a truth that has stood the test of time. We want what we can’t have. More importantly, we want what we shouldn’t have.
So herein lies the problem. We are putting our self-worth into the hands of these sorry, undeserving guys, and hoping to feel better about ourselves. No matter how confident, independent, and beautiful we might feel and act, we are insecure beings. I don’t know why. And I can’t speak for every woman. But from my experience, we all have this innate vulnerability that manifests itself as insecurity. And being with men and having sex with them, even if it’s fleeting, it’s a confidence boost. We crave the high we get when a guy calls us beautiful or wants to be with us. Even though most of the time it’s only to have sex, that’s fine, because the sex is the ultimate confidence boost. We feel so wanted and alive. We feel sure of ourselves. But then the crash starts. Because that guy, he’s going to stop calling. He’s not interested in what we have to say or how smart we are or what our worldview is. He said all those things to get us naked. And it worked. And his job is done and he can move on the next one.
But see women work in the opposite way. We are unfeeling at first. Welcoming a one night stand with no strings attached: wham bam thank you ma’am. We are independent women and we can use men just like they use us. But as soon as the sex is over, my theory is that it happens right after climax, it begins to fall apart. The confidence subsides and we begin to feel vulnerable, used, discarded. We ache to feel the way we did before the sex: powerful and in charge. But we don’t recognize this ache as a symptom of withdrawal. So we crave this person, this body, desperately reaching for them to give us back that feeling. Mere moments before we were as intertwined as two human bodies can physically be, but are now left feeling completely disconnected and alone as we lie inches apart willing them to reach out and kiss our cheek or brush the hair out of our eyes; any amount of physical validation to halt this impending wave of emptiness.
So I’d like to instate a new rule. Let’s pay attention to ourselves! Embrace our beauty, embrace each other’s beauty; and not only our physical beauty, but also embrace our undeniable emotional and mental beauty, as well. Applaud our ability to not only sexually stimulate, but also intellectually stimulate. We need to stop comparing ourselves to one another and instead start encouraging and supporting each other. Why are we relying on these men, these outsiders, to tell us things we already know? We’re all fuckin’ rock stars, we don’t need some guy with tattoos and cigarette breath to remind us. We don’t need a half-assed attempt at romance or a scrawny arm around our waist to know our worth. We need each other.