Marissa here, wearing my coveted and well-earned “First Date Professional” hat. If I had a dollar for every awkward first/second date I’ve been on in the past year and a half, I’d have enough money to drown my sorrows in at least 5 bottles of Barefoot wine.
There have been good dates, bad dates, drunk dates, late dates, canceled dates, etc. The list goes on. But I’m still here, typing away about living the single life in a mid-size metropolis in the Midwest. While some may view this as a failed venture on my part, or ask me, as I often ask myself, “What the hell is wrong with you?!” I have walked away from all of these experiences better, smarter and more confident.
Once you’ve been in the game (ugh I really just said that) as long as I have, you notice the routine of dating. There is this unspoken knowledge of a pre-determined “First Date Script” that most dates follow. You ask how traffic was, did they find good parking, how was their day at work, what’s their family like, what are their favorite hobbies, etc. Again, the list goes on.
On the rare occasion you connect with someone who allows you to veer off script, and you feel comfortable enough to be yourself, instead of the part you know you’re supposed to play, it’s an exciting feeling. You can talk about your shared nostalgia over playing the original Crash Bandicoot and Spiro when you were younger, you’re obsession with British pop stars, and your appreciation of Indie films getting their fair share of the cake at the Oscars. All will be going so well, and then you hear,
“You know, you’re not like other girls.”
Romantic comedies, and society at large, have taught us to believe this is the highest of compliments, because what are women besides competitors on the sexual playing field for men’s affections? To be told that we aren’t like our competitors, hell even our own teammates, is an honor, a privilege, a sign of our desirability. We are supposed to feel as though we have been placed on the winner’s pedestal, elevated above the inferior race of women, now titled “other girls.”
Yet, it’s all an illusion.
While men may think these are the words women want to hear, and women may believe they are the words they want to hear, it is simply a tactic to tear others down to build yourself up.
That pedestal you imagine yourself standing on is merely a patch of dead grass, and around you are your fellow women, slowly being beaten into the ground like a torturous game of Whack-a-Mole, so you appear and feel taller, bigger, better.
Boys. There is no need to put down other women to make me or any other woman feel special. Not simply because I’m obviously not like other women, and other women are obviously not like me, as we are unique, multi-faceted individuals. Or because Haylee Steinfeld creating a bumping new song about it.
Women have been taught in the most subversive, and explicit, of ways to create a sense of self in relation to “others.” Our lives are shaped by the comparisons we allow ourselves to make and, sadly, those comparisons feel good. It feels good to look at someone and say, “At least I’m not them.” But it feels equally terrible to look at someone and say, “I wish I were them.”
We don’t need another person telling us we are not like other girls, pitting us against each other. For every time we are made to feel more than, there will be another time we are made to feel less than.
So boys, don’t tell me I’m not like other girls. I know this. Tell me what exactly makes me, me. Tell me what you like, tell me what you see, tell me why you’re drawn to the person I am, without comparing me to what, and who, I am not.