I hate saying that I’m a feminist. Of course, I am one in based on its current definition. Yes, I would like to be paid as much as a man for equal work and quality. Yes, I would like to be not be harassed walking down a street alone at night. And, yes, it would be nice to not have to worry about my sister or me being sexually assaulted at the rates that women currently are. Still, I hate the word feminist. (Note: That’s another essay, but feel free to message me if you’re curious as to why.) So you know I must be pissed because I’m about to go off on what could easily be called a feminist rant.
I recently found myself at the end of what would have been a four-year relationship. The break up was devastating – one of the worst pains I’ve ever felt. But a few glasses of wine, a handful of sad poems, and some 50s love songs later and I’ve got to say that I’m doing all right. (I’m over simplifying but you get it.) I’ve hung out with some new people, taken some trips, even been asked on a few dates. I’ve spent a solid two months learning how to enjoy myself as a single adult with the authority to do what I want.
Part of my newly single checklist was to “meet more people.” “Join Meetups,” someone suggested. “Sure, okay,” I responded and I filled out all the mandatory information and clicked a few groups that seemed interesting to me – foodies, writing, bar crawls. To my horror, my friends started texting me “Hey, I just got an email notification that you joined my meet up group!” (Thanks, Meetup, for telling everyone in my life what I’m up to. God forbid you want your life to be a little private.) One of the texts was from a friend who was new to the Boston area. He mentioned board game night at some bar.
“It’s next Saturday and we should sign up.”
At risk of sounding like a dick, beer and board games seemed more like a Wednesday night kind of event. It’s not something I would want to spend my Saturday on, but my friend insisted and I reluctantly signed up with the asterisk, “We’ll see.”
Well, we did see. As it turned out, this nice guy I had met asked me on a date for Saturday night. I’d forgotten about board game night when I agreed to the date. When I did remember, I didn’t feel particularly bad about it.
“Hey, sorry I won’t be able to make it Saturday.”
“Oh, why not?”
“Hot date,” I responded, “or just a regular date lol.”
“Oh… that was fast.”
Fast was clearly referring to my new status as single adult. I was totally taken aback. Excuse me? What in the world is fast about going on a date as a single person?
“I’ve been single for two months,” I responded, as if this was some sort of justification for the “fastness” of my moving on.
This date was not my first. I’d been on two others since the break up. That’s kind of what happens when you become single – you get to date other people and see what the world has been like while you’d been handcuffed to your significant other for the past four years.
His statement, joke, whatever you want to call it, may have been innocent enough (although that can be debated), but it had so much to do with how society expects a woman to handle a break up. I’m supposed to be in pieces. I was supposed to binge Netflix for four or five weekends in a row with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I was supposed to hope that my ex will throw rocks at my window, apologize for fucking crushing me, and take me away on his white stallion. Ignoring the fact that we’d look stupid galloping about on steed down the streets of Boston (although less so than other places, perhaps), I refuse to sit alone at home, all sad and pathetic, especially when I know my ex’s friends are encouraging him to “get back out there” and “get a taste of something new” (or whatever dudes say to each other). I refuse to “wait” to meet new people in hopes that my ex will come to his senses and try to win me back (again).
I guess the whole point of this potentially feminist rant is: do not let anyone make you feel like you should be sitting by the phone waiting or that you need to be sad and writing crappy break up poetry every night. By all means, do those things too if it suits you. If this ever gets up on my blog, you’ll know the proof is in the pudding, but don’t let society’s expectations of female behavior be an excuse for not moving on, living life, and having fun. We’ve earned the right to move on in whatever way we want to. In my case, it’s going on adventures with friends and letting potentially strange, but halfway decent, guys take me out for dinner, drinks, or a movie. Whatever you decide, be healthy and find ways to be happy. Let them think you’re fast – take the damn date.