I have had countless conversations with my girlfriends over the past few years, and I have listened to them and even caught myself reciting every cliché under the sun when it comes to finding love. From, “You have to love yourself first” to “It will happen when you least expect it, what is meant to be will be.”
But here’s the thing, I’m really tired of it. I’m tired of holding onto these romanticisms like life lines that pull me out when I’m sitting at home psyching myself up to ‘put myself out there’ and to not cancel that date I agreed to. Putting myself out there like I’m an ornament on display in a sales store for window shoppers to peruse at their leisure.
If I take a moment to reflect on my dating encounters over the past year, that’s exactly how it felt at times, a sentiment I know is shared with many.
In this world of instant gratification, it is so easy to think of each other as replaceable. We don’t invest in new connections like we once would have because if it doesn’t work out we’ll find a better and taller version on Tinder in one good toilet swiping session.
We fail to acknowledge our worth and we fail to trust others and allow them to acknowledge it because we have been told so many times through one another’s actions, through the media, through our own negative self-talk, that we aren’t valued.
I recently went to a wedding expo with an engaged girlfriend and discovered you can buy cake toppers that say “We swiped right.” I stood there holding it wondering what the world is coming to and whether the old school romance that my parents had, the romance I still catch myself dreaming about, is truly dead. I mentioned this to the beautiful bride to be and she gushed and agreed as we discussed some of the disturbing new dating trends that are becoming more common than not.
I want to be listened to, respected, and treated in the same way I want to listen to, respect, and treat my partner. Instead I find myself on first dates with men who think it’s okay to drink too much and put their hands lower than the small of back.
I find myself making excuses for men I’ve only met once. The ones who think it’s okay to request with an air of entitlement, behind the safety of their screens, an image of my breasts, as if simply collecting their reward for dating me. The ones who say “I was just joking, lighten up” when I tell them this is entirely inappropriate. I make excuses for men who send me messages requesting my dress size and asking how much I weigh prior to meeting them and I make excuses for the ones who disappear or don’t show up in the first place.
I’m tired of making excuses for men who never once apologize for their actions.
I am in no way placing blame, I am well aware that at times my responses have enabled and even contributed to this growing social acceptance of disrespect. But I’ve finally realized that the more excuses we make on their behalf, the more they get away with it. It is time to bring this to a halt and for us to take a stand.
A stand for our worth.
A stand for our uniqueness.
A stand for respect.
A stand to acknowledge that we are irreplaceable and admit to ourselves that those who think otherwise are simply not worth our time in the first place.
Inherently, I believe in the good in people which is why I’m not giving up. I’m going to keep reminding myself that these experiences, while common, are not everyone’s and that there are wonderful humans out there who probably feel just as I have; disappointed and let down.
I’m going to keep reminding myself that putting myself out there (wherever “there” is) isn’t necessarily turning into a window display but is a demonstration of bravery, openness, and willingness to be vulnerable again.
If we give up, then we are letting these people who may be a minority have the power of the majority and I’m not satisfied with that. The reason I’m single has become an all too common societal trend and it’s time that respect, not just in the dating scene, but in our day to day, is rewritten.
Because I respect myself, I will not let you disrespect me. Let’s treat one another with compassion and kindness and for the sake of respectful relationships everywhere, please stop sending unsolicited pictures of your penis.
I am ready to take that stand, and you should too.