It’s not ladylike, they say.
Men don’t like women with short hair, they say.
Guys don’t like girls who drink beer, they say.
Guys don’t like girls who do…, guys don’t like girls who wear…, guys don’t like girls who like…, that’s all they ever seem to say. Heteronormativity aside for the moment, I say: so what? How true is that? Did you do a worldwide survey? Am I supposed to care what men are supposed to like or not like?
What If I don’t want to be ladylike? Or a lady? What if I just want to do things that make me happy? Things that aren’t harmful to anyone. Unless you define harm as making people uncomfortable about gender roles and I don’t.
Why do I have to look and behave in a way that is pleasing to guys in general? Am I trying to attract all the guys; hypothetical, imaginary guys who all like the same things? Or am I trying to attract one guy in particular? Or a type of guy. The type who does not give an ever-loving fuck what I drink, seeing as how it only stays with me for a short amount of time anyway. Or, just maybe, a guy who actually likes the way I look and behave. Most of it, anyway.
What if I don’t care what ‘men’ and ‘guys’ like? Must I present myself in such a way that all men find me appealing? It is statistically impossible. Anyone who’s ever tried deciding on what to do/eat with a group of friends knows that it’s damn near impossible to make everyone happy. Let alone all straight men who roam the earth. Saying “men do/don’t like…” implies that all men like the same thing, which is, surprise surprise, untrue. Same goes for what women like and don’t like.
Yes, some women like men who tell them how beautiful they are, how special they are. Men who are ‘gentlemen’, who open doors and pull out chairs and offer jackets. (The reaction to swapping the genders for these things is interesting. Once, in high school, I offered a guy my jersey because he was getting cold and I wasn’t wearing mine. He declined my offer pulling a face like I just asked if he would like to eat a bowl of cold garden snails covered in mayonnaise – how could I even think of doing such a thing.)
Well, guess what. I, like Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy, believe that “if you want to appease me, compliment my brain”. I know I’m special and also that I’m not. Everyone is special, so no one is. I have hands and am perfectly capable of looking after my own damn self, opening my own damn door and sitting on a chair all by my damn self. This last one is key – I am graceless enough as it is, somebody trying to scoot me onto a chair would just emphasise my awkwardness and that I can also do perfectly well on my own. If I require assistance, I have the ability to ask for it. I also have my own clothes, including jackets. I’m not going to attack anyone who does any of these things – if it makes you happy, whatever. At the most I’ll politely decline. But it’s not exactly going to make me swoon either. For me it’s not about how well you treat ladies, but how well you treat people. Not how chivalrous you are you to women but how kind are you to those around you. Not would you keep the door open for me, but would you keep the door open for someone who really needs it?
What I want to know is: what is the point of pretending to be someone to attract guys, according to standards set by “them”, who won’t even like who you really are? Keeping up the charade is just going to make you miserable. Everyone is special. Everyone is different. Everyone likes different things, including qualities in a partner – man or woman. Just remember that someone tells you what women/men like/don’t like or you read it in some magazine article. Opinions are subjective and there is absolutely no accounting for taste.