*Disclaimer: I’m going to say a bunch of stuff in this post that sounds like a feminist rant against the tyranny of men. I don’t hate men at all or hold them in general to be responsible for the societal trends I mention herein. The boys I’m talking about here are the ones who have been just plain mean to girls, and no one can deny that there’s a lot of that going on today, especially in the American college lifestyle. Not all f-boys are f-boys forever, and they’re not all bad. Also, feel free to disagree with me! This one is for girls like me who could have used a push in the “screw men” direction when they were younger. Okay bye! Love u boys :)*
I know the majority of my posts are heavy and depressing and probably exhausting to read, but that’s not what I want it to be all the time. I want to highlight multiple facets of my personality and hopefully invite people to get to know my mind in all its crazy, chaotic, unstable glory. This blog will, I hope, include talks on a whole host of issues — from romance to religion to suicide — and show more sides of me than just the one that takes itself too seriously.
Something that has really been on my heart lately, for whatever reason, is this “don’t let boys be mean to you” refrain I’ve heard all over social media. It falls right in line with the fourth-wave feminist agenda, using social media to proliferate uplifting messages to bring out the #bossassbitch in their fellow ladies. I think it’s kinda dumb. Don’t get me wrong, I love the intention and the general idea of taking control and demanding respect, but what kind of Jedi mind trick is “don’t let boys be mean to you?!” I call it a Jedi mind trick because it presents a fully formed idea with the implicit demand to “just do it.” In my experience, life doesn’t work like we’re that lady robot in Westworld that can just lower her voice and say whatever to make all the other robots do whatever she wants. As far as I know, that approach doesn’t work in the real world, so I find it insufficient to just say don’t let boys be mean to you. Boys can be mean to you, and you can’t use the Force to stop them before it happens. When I was going through my first break up at fourteen, watching the Notebook on repeat over endless bowls of Pokemon mac & cheese, I’m not sure simply being told not to let boys be mean to me would have provided much comfort. What you can do, though, is cope with it in healthy (or unhealthy) ways!
We’ve all had those relationships with, perhaps, a lot of confusing back-and-forth, manipulation, uncertainty, jealousy, resentment, betrayal…maybe lots and lots of betrayal. I thought I may explain how I — both a seasoned flirt and creepy romantic — have made it 23 years through the hellfire that is Dating Boys without totally losing my faith in humanity or belief in love. In all fairness, I did lose my mind though…so maybe take this with a grain of salt?
Don’t get me wrong, most of the boys I’ve been with are sweet and good and great, but I’ve also had my fair share be mean af. I’m not saying I didn’t deserve it, but it still hurt my heart. Well, sometimes I definitely didn’t deserve it. If I’ve seemed at all like I think I know what I’m talking about at any time ever, please know that I am completely aware that I’m the last person anyone should look up to or try to emulate. I’m super narcissistic and impulsive, and I can be hateful when threatened. I try to do the best I can though. Throughout my career, I’ve made worse mistakes romantically than that skunk in Looney Tunes that falls in love with that cat, so I think, after learning from all those mistakes, I may be able to offer some tidbit of information that could help someone wading through the f*&kboy swamp. My dating life has been a source of entertainment for others much more so than it has been enriching to my life, trust me. I’ve always been boy crazy, and I’ve been in more relationships than I’d like to admit at my age. This is not bragging; it’s the exact opposite. I’m just really desperate and manipulative, so I’ve somehow convinced a very unlucky sequence of boys to be with me. It’s my own Jedi mind trick of sorts.
Anyway, I’m going to tell you how I live out the “don’t let boys be mean to you” motto. Clearly I’m a failure when it comes to sustaining healthy, committed relationships…my attempts usually circle the drain for a few months before being sucked down into the depths. I am not a failure, however, at maintaining some levelheadedness, self-esteem, and compassion in the wake of a break up. I’m finally at a point where I don’t unravel when a relationship unravels. Now I’ve done some CRAZY shit to boys, don’t get me wrong, but I will also explain how I keep myself from keeling over and dying from embarrassment when I do things like wake up to find twelve outgoing and unanswered calls to my ex from the night before. Yes, that actually happened, and it was only like two years ago. Here’s how I don’t let boys being mean get to me!
- I check to make sure that I’ve considered the situation from a distance. The best way to do this is (duh!) to ask your friends — the real ones who have your best interests at heart — what they think. When you get out of your head and widen your lens, you can begin to see whatever guy is bothering you as a human with his own share of baggage, priorities, obligations, etc. With social media especially, we tend to build our idea of this relationship upon a shaky foundation — maybe a series of snapchat/text conversations, facetimes, or, the ultimate sign of true Gen-Z love, exchanging memes in the DMs. Talking via technology all the time makes it very easy for guys and girls to end up on completely separate pages when it comes to the question of “what are we.” The girl may be obsessively rereading a text she thinks is a sure confession of love while her bae is already back on Playstation after writing that text in approximately 7 seconds. Basically, I’ve found it helpful to remind myself that — however obvious and stupid this may sound — he’s just another person living his life. I’ve had to come to the realization multiple times that the role I’ve played in a crush’s life was of minor importance compared to his role in mine. Cut him some slack if he deserves it. Or don’t. If you keep in mind that he’s just a regular dude, though, when he’s mean to you you can see it for what it is…just a human caught up in circumstances or a lifestyle that isn’t conducive to being in a relationship at the moment. Or just a person being an asshole. This feeds into my second point —
- Don’t let your idea of him become bigger than he is. Refusing to be cowed by a “f*ckboy” is my key to staying sane, calm, and content when hell breaks loose eventually. Our culture has constructed this narrative that girls are crazy, clingy, and always sniffing out a relationship/marriage, while guys are the grounded, sane ones in control. We’ve been spoon-fed this image of a crazy girl wrapped around some poor guy’s leg. What girls fear most, in my experience, is to become the crazy girlfriend or ex girlfriend. I’ve caught myself scrupulously analyzing his texts so that I can formulate the perfect response, that which gracefully rides the line between “yes I’m interested” and “I want to bear your young tomorrow.” It’s such BS, though! Why do we have to tiptoe around the big scary fratboy, to calculate every move we make out of fear that one wrong step will lead to rejection? You may disagree, but I don’t think a woman should ever feel afraid to speak her mind to a man just because she doesn’t want to “come off crazy.” The reason they are able to classify and insult us that way is because we feed into this overarching model of “girl tries to date guy, he denies, she goes psycho, the end.” When I have sacked up and spoken exactly what I wanted to say to a boy, I’ve usually been surprised by their change in tone in response. Once you call them out on their BS in a strong way, they have to at least know that you’re not scared of them. We shouldn’t play the game according to society’s stupid guidelines; we should be confident enough to shake it up and rewrite that antiquated narrative.
- This last one is the most obvious, though the most difficult to implement. Be confident in yourself, period. Be shameless in your pursuit of love. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit after saying something that cringe, but I’m really laying it all out there for my four fans! I know saying this does absolutely nothing; you can’t just flip a switch and all of a sudden have impenetrable self-worth. Boys can be as mean to you as they want, but if you know who you are and what you have to offer it cannot do any lasting damage to your self-assurance. Believe me, I’ve had boys be really, really hateful to me. I’ve had them go out of their way to embarrass me, call me names, reject me…ghosting is the LEAST of my worries. Back in the day, it would absolutely wreck me whenever I felt ashamed in front of guys or like I had embarrassed myself, but now, as a 23-year-old spinster, I could not give less of a f*&k. I’ll repeatedly text a guy until he responds if it really matters to me. I’ll speak my mind regardless of the risks or circumstances. Could this be because I’m jaded in my old age? Because I have a tattered, cold, dead heart after all the relationship trauma of my past? Yes. However, I will tell you one thing — it is liberating as all get out to finally just say whatever I want to say to whomever I want to say it. Honestly, I could have not written a single word of this entry and just linked this monologue in the beginning, but I’ll include it now. It’s the f-boys that should be embarrassed or worried about their futures. Anyone who has perpetuated the toxic trend of taking advantage of girls just to disrespect them and then call them crazy after all is said and done is a sad human being. Pray for them, but don’t you dare let their actions or opinions cause your confidence to waver.
These measures have been my protection against irrevocable heartbreak for many moons. This whole “girls are crazy” idea that has defined our social interactions in recent decades is incredibly toxic, discouraging, and limiting for young girls. From what I’ve seen, guys have done more “psycho” stuff to girls than I’ve ever heard of vice versa, and they get away with it because nobody expects or even suspects that a man could be the one at fault when it comes to relationship drama. I know this sounds like a feminist rant, but it’s not meant to be. I’m talking about the behavior I’ve seen with my own eyes and the ways I’ve successfully coped with that behavior.
The bottom line is this: men aren’t any different from us when it comes to interpersonal relationships. When they’re mean, it’s just a person feeling grouchy who is likely projecting his own insecurities or trying to prove something he feels pressured to prove. I’m not saying men are terrible and that we’re the victims 100% of the time whatsoever. I love men, and I know way more good ones than I do morally spineless ones. Some girls do “crazy” things, and I have been chief among them many a time and have deserved the criticism I got in response. This post is just a rant for my ladies that have been treated unfairly or offensively by dudes. Nothing more, nothing less. I probably should have gotten Alexis to write this one for me because she is the all-time queen of not letting stupid boys get you down, but I tried my best!
Don’t overthink it. Have realistic expectations. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Remember that you have so much to offer. And, most importantly…
Don’t let boys be mean to you.