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The Girl with the Daffodil Tattoo

A Welsh girl let loose in a wild world

Category

Feminism/Gender

Don’t put your daughter on the stage

Noel Coward sings “Mrs. Worthington,” recorded on August 15, 1935.

Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington.
Don’t put your daughter on the stage.
The profession is overcrowded,
And the struggle’s pretty tough,
And admitting the fact
She’s burning to act,
That isn’t quite enough.
She has nice hands,
Give the wretched girl her due,
But don’t you think her bust is too
Developed for her age?
I repeat, Mrs. Worthington,
Sweet Mrs. Worthington,
Don’t put your daughter on the stage.

Regarding yours,
Dear Mrs. Worthington,
Of Wednesday the twenty-third,
Although your baby
May be keen on a stage career,
How can I make it clear
This is not a good idea?
For her to hope,
Dear Mrs. Worthington,
Is, on the face of it, absurd.
Her personality
Is not, in reality,
Exciting enough,
Inviting enough,
For this particular sphere.

Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington,
Don’t put your daughter on the stage.
She’s a bit of an ugly duckling,
You must honestly confess,
And the width of her seat
Would surely defeat
Her chances of success.
It’s a loud voice,
And though it’s not exactly flat,
She’ll need a little more than that,
To earn a living wage.
On my knees, Mrs. Worthington,
Please, Mrs. Worthington,
Don’t put your daughter on the stage!

Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington,
Don’t put your daughter on the stage.
Though they said at the school of acting
She was lovely as Peer Gynt,
I fear on the whole
An ingénue role
Would emphasize her squint.
She’s a big girl,
And though her teeth are fairly good,
She’s not the type I ever would
Be eager to engage.
No more buts, Mrs. Worthington!
Nuts, Mrs. Worthington!
Don’t put your daughter on the stage!

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Another “Friend”

I first met him outside a bar in Bilbao La Vieja in 2016. He was an older dude, maybe late fifties. He was nice and said he could get me a gig teaching dance once a month in a social centre. I taught there for 6 months.

We messaged every now and again. I proofread a speech for him that he was giving in English at a university.

I asked him for help with getting into radio in Bilbao. Is this course worth the money? Are there any places I can apply to? Do you know anyone?

He suggested we go to the beach to talk about it. I was mildly apprehensive about going in the car with a guy I didn’t really know. I don’t like to depend on other people for transport, especially men. I feel trapped, as if it all goes tits up (like they make a sexual advance and you say no, you’ll be left high and dry). I thought that, maybe because of the age difference between us (around 25 years), he might feel a fatherly affection towards me.

The beach we went to was a nudist beach. I don’t tend to go to them so much as in my experience they tend to be full of naked men. After being masturbated at several times, I don’t feel comfortable around naked men.

I deliberately didn’t wear make up or nice clothes. Some people call this “uglification”, when women behave like this (like when I chopped off their hair and felt more “comfortable”) to try to ward off unwanted advances.

He stripped down as soon as we got there. I really didn’t feel 100%comfortable but I tried to be cool about it. I’m foreign, maybe that’s normal here? Maybe I’m just a big ole square.

Despite my apprehensions, the day went smoothly, without any sexual advances.

That was 6 months ago.

Then, this week, there was the big all day drinking fest of Santo Tomas. He was messaging me, asking where I was to go for a drink etc. I hadn’t been feeling well so I had been chilling at home all day, then went out for dinner with a female friend. We then met up with my best male friend, and the three of us went for a few drinks.

I bumped into my older friend other on Barrenkale, my little group and my older friend’s little group. He was visibly very drunk and the first thing he did was put his hand on my arse. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt (I was wearing a long coat, maybe he made a mistake?) and moved away.

-That guy I saw you with the other day is your boyfriend, isn’t he?

-No. I wanted him to be but he said no.

(One convenient thing about having a boyfriend is that you have an instant excuse to politely decline unwanted advances. I didn’t want to lie)

Dame un beso (Give me a kiss)

-No

Por qué? (“Why?” he asked me, over and over)

Porque no quiero. (Because I don’t want to)

Por qué no podemos follar de vez en cuando?”, “Why can’t we fuck every now and again?” he asked me over and over. I rejected him politely, over and over again. “Because I fall in love with people I have sex with”. His response was always: “But why?”.

My male friend, my wing man, my work husband, saw what was happening and called to me: “Sarah, we’re going now, come on”, giving me an excuse to leave the situation. He gives me faith in malekind.

At the time, I laughed it off, but the next day, I felt deeply saddened by what had happened. Why does “friendship” with women to many, many men, mean sex? Why can’t colleagues do favours for each other and there be professional boundaries without someone putting an unwanted hand on someone else’s butt?

This is basically why women find it so hard to advance in all fields. Grades are a small part of a successful career. It’s all about making contacts. Men hold the majority of the positions of power, and they form networks, they help each other out,  then they “help” women, but in return for future sexual contact… Women learn to keep men at arms length at all times, or else get accused of “inviting” the sexual advance, or using their “wiles” to manipulate.

I used to be “pretty”. I used to have long hair, do make up, heels, have lots of clothes. But I just got sick of it. Conforming to beauty standards, being “hot”, using my sexual power to manipulate men. Of course, at the time, I didn’t realise that that was what was happening. All I knew was that people were nicer to me when I dressed up, and I loved it. But it is a fleeting and precarious type of power, and leads to all sorts of (sexual) favours expected in return.

The next day, I received a message from my older friend, not of apology, but again propositioning me for sex. I didn’t reply.

I went out after work with my work husband, planning on having a few drinks and then meeting up with a guy I’ve just started getting to know who seems to be a total muffin. He just seems so honest and genuine, intelligent, interesting to talk to, makes me laugh a lot, tells dark stories, is better at me at darts but chill about it…

It turned out that this guy had missed his transport connection and wouldn’t be able to meet, seeing as a close friend of his was in town, and he had work the next day etc, but luckily (or unluckily for him?), we bumped into each other anyway. I was merry, chatted on a bit, didn’t leave him to hang out with his friends… Hindsight is a beautiful thing. I walked him to his door (it was on my way to get a taxi, and I always get taxis home if I’m too drunk to cycle as I can’t be arsed to get attacked on my walk home alone. Even if it’s just a grab grope, it ruins my mood for weeks).

Emboldened by alcohol, I kissed him goodnight, properly. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to want to kiss me back that much so I pulled away…  His body language wasn’t a “yes”, and if there’s no clear “yes”, then it’s a “no”.

I didn’t ask him “why” repeatedly. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone in for the kiss, but I think it’s important that women initiate stuff like that… Blurred lines, although an undoubtedly catchy song, is not something that applies to me. If I like you, if I want a physical relationship with you, you *will* know about it. And if you reject my proposition, I’ll wave you on your merry way, without any hurt feelings or resentment. I am aware that I am a strong flavour, and not everyone’s cup of tea.

The next day, I had to run some errands, and I saw my older friend walking down the street on the other side. I pretended like I hadn’t seen him. I was tired and had to do some last minute Christmas food shopping. This was the first year where I was doing my own Christmas dinner, the third Christmas after my mum’s death. I had bigger fish to fry.

It seems to me that maybe some men like to hang out with younger people in order to keep feeling young, and this logically overspills into the sexual, ya que el roce hace el cariño. I wonder if when we are “equal” (in the economic sense), will rich older women do this? Are some of them doing it right now? If I was in that type of situation, would I want that type of relationship?

I know several women my age who are in stable, loving relationships with guys that are 20 (or more) years older than them. They seem so happy. I don’t judge what works for other people.

I wonder if my older friend genuinely likes me, feels attracted to me, or just wants to use me to feel younger. But, seeing as I don’t get that sexual attraction chemical reaction with him, there’s no point in hypothesising. I am not the fountain of youth, my time is precious, and what I really yearn for is to invest my time in deep, loving, long term relationships, in my friendships and romantic relationships.

The One Change

Here’s a vid I watched on Huff Post about what we can do to change society to try to lessen sexual harassment.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/542b69ee-dc3a-11e7-a241-0848315642d0

Suggestions from the video:

-Bipartisan MeToo act

Making settlements public e.g. the public know if a politician have paid someone off

-Vulgar talk must be disciplined

When our superiors use violent language, that fosters an environment where sexual misconduct can happen. Foul mouthed women to fit in with the boys; women should try to be good at their jobs instead own being a raunchier version of the guys.

Dubious about this… I don’t think we live in a  meritocracy tbh. But then maybe I suspect I use the strategy of being like this and am not ready to give it up yet.

-Parents should teach consent from a young age

Adults shouldn’t kiss and hug children without their permission

Anyone who spends about 10 minutes with me will know that I enjoy saying “kill all men and start again”, taking the feminazi stereotype to the extreme. I enjoy the caricature aspect of it, and it amuses me people’s uncomfortable reactions. Men grimace, women look away, as they obviously secretly fear that’s what feminism is.

When I hear women talking about how they’re not feminist, saying some bollocks about being “in to equality” or some shite, I am itching to say to them: “Ok, give back your university degree, stop voting, stop working, only have a bank account if your dad signs for it, stop taking the pill and using condoms, stop reading”. Feminism has allowed us, if not to be exactly equal (yet), then at least to be some sort of human, some *sort* of adult. It’s far from perfect, but before, let’s say, 1945, who you got married you had to give up work to “protect men’s jobs”, you had to wait years to get divorced from your twat husband, you couldn’t have a mortgage, you were considered almost between a child and an adult, with “medical” evidence of head sizes between male and female being used to support this theory.

If Tr*mp, and all of the women who voted for him have taught us anything, it is that both men and women are responsible for the way things are, and how to change them. Seemingly, for every bra burner like me who sticks her head up over the parapet and talks about changing the rules of the gender system game, there are many more who aren’t interested. They’re exhausted from working super hard (either raising kids, doing paid work, or both), or are considered good looking so just want to “win” for themselves with the rules as they are, find a bread winner to support them etc.

I can see their point. 10 years ago, when I spent more time on my appearance and did the whole hair, make up, diet thing, people gave me free shit all the time. But they wanted something in return. And as every woman knows, if you say “yes” to the gift, you’re probably saying “yes” to the sexual advance as well. Maybe I think that if I don’t do that, if I try to live another way, I lesson my chances of being attacked again. Or maybe it’s some sort of sadomasochist tendency of mine to shoot myself in the foot at every turn by talking about equality and how to make society better. I have lost more than one friend, one lover, and made several sworn enemies (they hate me. I just avoid them) because of living by my beliefs in the past few years, and that is incredibly painful. Sadly, not everyone is going to like me. I am a very strong flavour and I often wish I wasn’t but… that’s a part of my personality, and if you can’t hack it, feel free to maintain your distance.

My mother always said to me: never be a freedom fighter. No one will thank you for it.

As a little kid, I was quite the gob shite, and so argumentative that people (usually classmates) said I would grow up to become a lawyer. In the end, I don’t think I really have the memory or classical whatsit training for that type of job, and might just prefer to be a paralegal, an assistant, a member of the team but not the public face of the operation, seeing as that face would need to be accompanied by heels and a bra (at least in the UK, that is the female “dress code”. Foolery).

I suppose I vaguely worry that one day I will look back over my life and feel ashamed of not speaking up for the little guy/gal.

 

Runs in the Family

Love, love, love this song.

Runs in the Family
My friend has problems with winter and autumn.
They give him prescriptions and shine bright lights on him.
They say it’s genetic, they say he can’t help it, they say you can catch it – but sometimes you’re born with it.
My friend despite he gets shakes in the night and they say that there’s no way that they could have caught it in time takes his toll on him.
It is traditional.
It is inherited.
Predispositional
Day I’ve been wondering what is inside of me, who can I blame for it?
I say it runs in the family
This family that carries me to such great lengths to open my legs up for anyone who’ll have me. It runs in the family, I came by it honestly, do what you want who knows it might fill me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Fill me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
My friend’s depressed she’s a wreck, she’s a mess.
They’ve done all sorts of tests & they guess it has something to do with her grandmother’s grandfather’s grandmother saving war soldiers who probably infected her.
My friend has validation in some allergies that she dates back to the 17th century.
Somehow she manages in her misery.
Strips in the city and shows all her best tricks.
I mean well, I’m well well I mean I’m in hell well I still have my health at least that’s what they tell me.
If wellness is this what in hells name is sickness?
But business is business and business runs in the family.
We tend to bruise easily.
Mad in the blood.
I’m telling you cause I just want you to know me – know me and my family.
We’re wonderful folks, but don’t get to close to me cause you might knock me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Knock me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Mary have mercy now look what I’ve done but don’t blame ’cause I can’t help where I come from.
Running is something that we’ve always done well and mostly I can’t even tell what I’m running from.
Run from their pity, from responsibility.
Run from the country and run from the city.
I can run from the law, I can run from myself.
I can run from my life, I can run into debt.
I can run from it all, I can run til I’m gone.
I can run for the office and run for my cause.
I can run using every last ounce of energy.
I cannot, I cannot, I cannot run from my family.
They’re hiding inside of me.
Don’t change my life.
Help me if you might but don’t tell my family.
They’d never forgive me.
They’d say that I’m crazy.
But they would say anything if it would shut me up
Shut me up
Shut me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Shut me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up

The Audacity to Create/Overcoming Self-Silencing

 

“Never let you’re lack of talent stop you from having fun.”

A motto I’ve developed recently for permitting myself to have the audacity to express myself. There’s a voice in my head that says:

Who are you to think that what YOU have to say is important? So arrogant. Shut up with your first world problem moaning.

Oh, you just wrote something? That’s shit. You don’t even know basic things, like how to use affect and effect properly, or what “irony” really is. You’re a sham, a fake, a phoney. A Hypocrite. Get a real fucking job you princess twat face whore fool. No one will ever…

It’s a pretty disturbing voice.

Plans 2018

If I write them, then I will feel accountable in some way.

-Do an official Spanish exam

Useful here. Points to apply for pHD scholarships.

Useful anywhere too. Might as well do it now, when my fluency in Spanish is probs the best it will ever be.

-Email people about getting a showing of the girls’ film in Bilbao

I bet I can get a showing of it here 🙂

-Find something fun to do as Basque learning at weekends

My time here might be limited. What if I leave in the summer and I’ve never really… participated.

–volunteer, workaway, woofing…I work Wednesdays and Fridays. I could go and hang out somewhere at weekends and help out with some cool shit, like making cheese, or taking care of animals.

-Put my Masters dissertation on to a blog/website

Sharing is caring :). Could get some bits published?

-Email people about where to try and get academic stuff published

-Make own website with all my projects/CV on there

-Record an audio diary. Mess around with editing audio to learn how…

-Plan interviews for podcast projects

–Voices- interview people with very different views about politics and splice them altogether. Topics- basically anything I find interesting that I want to interview my mates about, like being a Beautiful Basque Baby (aka a native Basque speaker), the situation in Venezuela

–Bad Basque- going to do this with my work husband, my best guy mate, who is mad for Basque. Following the Coffee Break Spanish format, but for Basque, materials in English and Basque, marketed to niche polyglot internet rare breeds

–Bad ass bitches– portraits of interesting women. Why you so awesome, girl? How can I become more like you?

 

 

Fallout from a sexual attack: some 2 years later

This is a story about two men. One was my friend, who said he was a feminist (bless him), and another who was his cousin, who sexually harassed me to the point of me losing my fucking shit.

Two years after the incident, I bumped in to my former friend. He looked at me with eyes that glittered with… hatred, anger, upset… hurt. Maybe he’d had a bad day. One of those terrible fucking days, when the rug is pulled from under you and you land on your arse with a jolt and your like “fuuuuuuuuuck”, this is a terremoto of  a day, bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeh can’t deal. Can’t process.

I’d written some shit. What had happened was vile, complicated, as sexual violence always is; some people reacted, others stood by, some sides were taken…

My side is a lonely side. But it’s where I live.

It’s arrogant to think that his look, his terrible look, was because of what I wrote. But, the honest to god’s truth is, I’m still, two years later, so traumatised about what happened, I can’t even bear to look at what I did actually write. To reread. To relive. (There should probably be some hyphens there. Fuck hyphens.)

Maybe I said/wrote something awful about him.

Look again. Face what happened.

No. Not strong enough. Can’t relive. Can’t face.

Did I make a mistake? Of course. The best thing is probably to always retreat, to be cautious, to feel out others. Group dynamics. La manada, pack mentality. Avoid, smile, “Oh, thank you sooooo much for the compliment, I just have to go over there now. Have a great day. Love you so much. Byeeeeeee”.

My former friend, the guy who I had thought was really awesome, is cousin to the person who seriously harassed me. I’d gotten on well with him. I held him in regard. Until what happened, happened.

When “it” happens, “it” being the nightmare you are always trying to anticipate, always trying to avoid… Fight or flight. Only two responses?

No. There is a third response. And that is FREEZE.

You come out of the bathroom. The bar is empty. All your friends are outside. The bad guy, the cousin, is there. He’s blocking your path. He’s telling you a bunch of vile shit.

“I don’t care if your boyfriend is a boxer. I’m going to take you like this, I’m going to do this to you…”.

My soul froze.

It was less than five minutes. It could have been three. Maybe it was even two.

I wish.

wish.

wish.

wish.

WISH.

I wish that I was that strong girl I have shown to the world for so long, fearless. Bullies can smell fear. The wolves come after you.

Anyone who knows me, really knows me, knows that beneath the fachada/façade, I am so sensitive, and that I feel things so deeply. But you cannot show that to the world. No one can. No one, or very few people, can say: “I was vulnerable. I was xxx”. Whether that “xxx” is being fully raped, or just all those other “little attacks”, little femasculations… You wish it didn’t happen. Had never happened. You can wish a lot of things away.

He didn’t rape me. He didn’t lay a finger on me. But to me, the threat was there, the threat that cut me like a knife. And my reaction was from that deep, nightmarish fear, and the lack of support from everyone, the silence of everyone else, was the real nightmare.

What if he’d done more? He could have done anything.

He didn’t. He only went a few steps down that road.

My female friends stopped to say “hello” to him in fiestas. I turned on my heel, went home immediately, betrayed.

“His mother is sick. He’s got so many problems”.

No excuse.

My mother died of cancer. I spent six months living in her house 2 weeks a month. It fucked me up big fucking time. I was a mess for a year after, I still live with the aftershocks.

Did I do weird shit like that? Did I threaten to rape anyone? Did I?

No. I was fucked though, more fucked than I’m ready to admit right here, in this little story. I lived with my then boyfriend at the time. After we parted ways, I told him “Yo, I’m sorry that I was such a cunt while my mum was dying and after.” He was surprised. He was like: “I don’t remember you being like that at all. AT ALL”.

Maybe I want to believe that. After all, we all want to believe that we are “good”, that our position is “right”. Hitler, me, everyone; no one wakes up in the morning and thinks: Today I’m going to be a complete fucker and fuck everyone over that I possibly can. The bigger the arsehole, the better. Mwah hah hah haaaaaa. Not even Tr*mp.

Ok, maybe Tr*mp.

Everyone justifies. People beat their partners. Emotional scars last years. Men, earning more money than women, beat their wives for years, and the woman stays. Women, having power of custody over the kids and all that, can right royally screw a guy by stopping him from seeing his kids. But all abusers see themselves as victims, that’s how they conceptualise the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual breaking of another being. Everyone is right, so everyone must be wrong as well.

Except me. I’m right, right?

After what happened happened, I’ve seen the cousin about 10 times. I completely, utterly,  100% blank him. If he sees me with girls, he calls my name, over, and over, and over again. If he sees me with a guy (he often sees me with male friends. I have a few good eggs that I cherish), he’s silent.

I wish I could punch him in the face, break his nose, nut him. I would love for it to stop. But the idea that violence solves conflicts is a fantasy. He is a man, he has problems, he acts the way he acts. The more violence I show him, the more I am in the wrong, the more he is the victim. Like when he started making unwanted sexual advances to me at lunch time, then a few hours later, he followed me to the toilet, to get me on my own, to sexually harass me. Bullies are so empty inside, they need the easy prey. If he’s calling to me in the street, calling my name, and I go up and twat him, he’s the victim. That is the justification he wants and needs.

So, my former friend looked at me.

I can live the whole rest of my life without seeing that look again.

 

Good Men

There are yawning gender gaps on almost all the attitudinal statements. While at some level the attitudes of men on this don’t surprise me, they still dismay me. That 40% of men agree that women often exaggerate stories about sexual harassment in the workplace (a result somewhat at odds with the response to the question about “lasting impact”). That nearly 40% of men believe discrimination is no longer a serious problem in Australian workplaces. That half of men believe that, compared to previous generations, women have little to complain about in the workplace.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2017/dec/12/its-an-important-moment-for-women-but-will-metoo-create-lasting-change

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The above paragraph from the Guardian hits a chord with me. Over the past 18 months, I’ve lost 3 romantic relationships with men, after they have told me how “equal” things now are, how “men deserve a fair trial” in the face of rape culture. Every woman has a story of sexual violence. If she hasn’t told you, it means she doesn’t trust you, either because of other experiences or because you have done something that means she thinks you won’t believe her. Women live in constant fear of sexual violence, and change their days accordingly. How much make up one wears, the clothes one chooses, getting a taxi home instead of walking…

I don’t need a man to “get” it. I need a man to be able to close his mouth, open his ears, and engage his brain. Recently, I thought I had found that guy, but, painfully, it turned out I hadn’t.

I have decided to believe all women. This is radical. To believe all women means disbelieving all the bad men, which goes against society’s current of supporting the current power dynamic.

I am aware that, in terms of women’s history, I have won the lottery. Not only am I from a country where I can vote, own property, have my own mortgage and bank account without a man co-signing, but I am white and physically attractive, so even for my generation, I have considerably more power than many.

Many men today pretend to be gender conscious. They cook, they clean, they change nappies; they are also praised by society for doing this. Women sacrifice their whole lives for their children; forget commendation, condemnation for the slightest infraction. Superhuman efforts from mothers receive no praise, with criticism of mothers in the media a subtle constant. High levels of anything? Too many teenage mothers. Too many working mothers. Too much…blame on women.

A big problem I have in my search for a partner is that I get sucked in to believing that a man can see past his privilege, can have a sense of his own power in society; more right to speak, less interrupted, less criticised. (White) male transgressors were drunk, or mentally ill, while women did it because they are bitches, sluts, bossy, headstrong. Men can do no wrong, women can do no right.

I go on dating apps. If I’m honest, what I’m searching for is “true love”, someone to build a long-term relationship with. Someone I can support who supports me. Someone with whom we both bring out the best in each other. Life would be easier if I didn’t have this urge. I’m tired of investing time in getting to know people, trusting them, and being disappointed.

 Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre

 

 

 

Friendship

In the brief periods where I have swiped away on Tinder, I’ve come across familiar faces. I’ve been living in a small town for a few years now, so bumping in to people you know is  inevitable.

One guy was not someone I knew but an ex-lover of my friend who no longer lives here. She had always spoken highly of him, saying he was a nice guy, considerate, interesting to talk to etc. We started messaging.

I felt weird about it. I asked another friend if I should message my original friend and ask her if it was ok. We wrote the message together.

Her response was: “Yeah it is a little weird but I have no plans on coming back to Bilbao any time soon so”. Eventually I told the guy that she had said it was weird and that she was a good friend of mine, I missed her a lot, and that.. well… even though we had planned to go for a drink, I wasn’t in to having a date with him, and if he wanted to meet up as friends for a coffee that was great but if he didn’t that was fine too. His response was: “That made me laugh. I thought we were already meeting up as friends”.

Sigh. Friend. A hard word to define. I love my friends deeply and I often think about what makes a good friend. My friends I usually meet dancing, or in work, not via Tinder or some other dating application. The more life experience I get, the more I realise that I have a different concept or definition of friend than other people.

My ex and I broke up partly because he put his (male) friends and their sexual/racial harassment of women first, before me. I had once said, when the relationship was going well, that I considered him to be my best friend, to which he scoffed, and said he hated the concept. When things were going badly, during an argument he told me that I was less than his friends to him, that they would be at his funeral and I wouldn’t, that our relationship was just temporary. It was said in the heat of the moment and I never really got over it.

When I was a teenager, I had a lot of what I considered to be male friends. One by one they tried it on, I said no (I don’t fancy my friends. Something happens in my head where people are put in to a box marked friends, and like family, they are out of bounds. This also happens if I know a man has a girlfriend. I just don’t fancy him), and suddenly, they didn’t want to hang out anymore. Or I said yes, we became an item for a while, it ran it’s course, and then we didn’t have much contact.

I’ve come to feel that a lot of misunderstandings between men and women come from what I term as the “heterosexual game”. Men are expected to bear the responsibility of being forward, getting rejected etc, pushing and pushing because she says no when she means yes, she wants to be chased, and women are supposed to wait for men to approach them, and give subtle, yet confusing, mysterious signs.

At the bar, a man buys you a drink. You accept. Maybe you are scared of the consequences of rejecting him. You chat. If a man buys me a drink, I buy him one back. I hate that sense of “owing” someone. If I want something more with someone, I say that directly. If I don’t, I don’t. I’m learning to be more and more direct about what I want and what I don’t.

Recently I’ve been trying to rent a room in my apartment. Long story short, someone who I’d briefly met at a party came to see the house. I found him very physically attractive. I told him (via text) that we had decided on someone else for the apartment, one of the reasons being I didn’t want to live with someone I was attracted to. He ignored the advance, which is fair enough, and life continued. My friends here laughed at me: they found it really weird. But in my head, in my logic, it’s weirder to pretend you want to be friends with someone, then make a sexual advance, and then you’re suddenly no longer friends.

Maybe I take friendship too seriously. Maybe I confuse family, and friendship. I don’t know. But I prefer to be honest and transparent. If I fancy someone, and I get the opportunity to say so, I do. I like to make the first move sometimes.

I hate losing friends. I hate it when they move away, or get so wrapped up in a relationship that they don’t have time for you anymore. I hate it when they put up with things in their relationships because they need stability, economic, emotional. A strategy I’ve used for quite a while has been to keep my friends and my love life completely separate, meaning that if I consider someone a friend, I don’t want to lose that friendship in having a sexual relationship with them.

I suppose the reality I avoid facing is that all relationships are transient, that people come in to your life, walk with you some of the way, and then your paths diverge again. That sometimes you are closer to one person, sometimes there’s more distance.

I’ve come to suspect that I am an example of a woman with a strong personality in my own culture, but here I’m like some sort of Queen Kong, putting my foot in it wherever I try to tread, always out of step, always driving on the left; too open about my sexuality, too dry, too loud, too outspoken. I watch Broad City, or Amy Schumer, and I recognise myself in these strong, Quixotic, bad ass bitches, and I like it. Not many other people  seem to, and that is tiring to live with.

I suppose that the trick is, wherever you live, to find people who love you for who you are. I am a strong flavour, and maturing like a fine wine, but I’m reaching a point where I like myself a lot as I am, and if others don’t like it… they can just avoid me. Not everyone is going to like you in this world, and it’s better to decide what kind of person you would like to be and what are your values than trying to please anyone else.

 

 

 

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