It’s no secret I’ve been around the block in my dating escapades (more than once). Other than how painstakingly bland the entire experience can prove to be, one harrowing aspect that’s stuck with me is the double standards of it all.
From the offset of downloading Tinder, I was immediately slumped into the category of ‘Looking for a Relationship‘, parred against men ‘Looking for Fun‘. As a woman on a dating app, it’s assumed I’m the softer sex; that a no-strings attached bit of fun wouldn’t appeal to me in fear of damaging my fragile, little heart. Well, that’s just not the case (again, sorry mum).
And it doesn’t stop there. Disagree with the man you’re with and show even the slightest ounce of passion and you’ll be pigeonholed as ‘crazy’. Dare to chase up on plans or speak out of your daily conversation quota and you’re now the ‘needy’ girl.
Why is it men are so often walking Oxford Dictionary definitions of those words but the labels fail to stick to them?
Even I, the most outgoing of girls, find myself taking the submissive way out of confrontational circumstances with men, not wanting to be assigned to these over-populated categories.
Do I sound dramatic? I should.
Just two months ago I met a boy from Tinder – we had the same interests, his dress sense was impeccable and he had a great personality (or so I thought). I enjoyed his company, but having met twice in the span of one month, I decided that wasn’t quite enough – I no longer wanted to pursue him. What ensued was message after abusive message, relentless phone calls and name-calling that would require him to eat ten bars of soap in repent.
On telling a male companion – whose hobby is ‘ghosting’ women – he concluded I “probably deserved it. You can’t just change your mind like that.”
He can drop women like dirty socks, yet I’m not allowed to do the same. Be cruel to be kind and risk being labelled a bitch; which I’ve been called more times than I care to recount.
For the most part, if a man dare attempt to put me within one of these boxes, I’d direct him to find someone else to morph into the non-existent Perfect Woman. But, unfortunately society and the ‘traditional’ family roles I’ve been subject to have sometimes left me with a diminutive voice, in fear of sabotaging a Cool Girl status. I can hear my Grandma’s words ringing in my ear, “Men prefer a softer girl”. To her, that’s exactly how it should be, exactly how I should be and exactly how I am not.
Before even considering questioning a significant other’s actions, I’ll consult ten friends and draft up potential Whatsapp messages to the boy/s in question before hitting that fateful send button. This niggling notion of becoming the Needy Girl makes me second guess myself when I am well within my rights to speak freely.
It’s frustrating to write this so conscious of the fact that there is no bold rebellious conclusion to this story.
If I’m promiscuous, I’ve a notorious reputation but he has a sea of conquests. If I argue, it must be that damned menstruation cycle of mine. If I ask for help, I’m a ball and chain. And so on, and so forth.
I suppose I can only seek solace in the fact that the Cool Girl society has created doesn’t really exist, just as the Cool Boy is a farce. They seem to have it all together with the world falling at their feet, but no doubt they’re also consulting a tirade of friends before their each and every action too.
Images via Giphy.