The Epidemic Of The “Opinionated” Girl
I am a woman. I have life experience and curiosity, and aspirations, and sexual desires, and an unbelievable amount of resilience. I have no need to ever be validated by any other person; man or woman.
Now that that’s established, there is one thing that’s been burning inside of me for quite a while and it has to be said: I am not a dater, never have been and never will be.
But, as I’m am approaching the ripe age of 32, I decided to try this whole dating app thing, with the premise that I would test a theory on 6 unsuspecting men. I’d been noticing for some time that the few dates I did go on mostly ended with a promising goodbye but rarely an actual callback. While that wasn’t devastating to me, I did begin to see a pattern that was only reinforced after my experience using the app.
Here is the thing: I am smart. I pride myself on the hunger I feel every day to expand my mind and be self-resilient. Whether it’s baking a pie, learning a new language or reading about world politics, I cannot rest until I learn all of the ins and outs about any given subject that I’m interested in. I’ve never asked a man to build a desk for me, I just sit there for 10 hours and figure it out myself.
I summon the extraordinary physical strength to carry furniture up the stairs and paint my entire apartment in one day. It’s not pride and it’s not any sort of hatred of men, I simply don’t have the time to ask for favors. I’ve never seen this as a negative thing or even imagined that it would be a turn off to men. To my surprise, however, I’ve had more than one boyfriend tell me that I am “too independent.” I didn’t think that term even existed but as I navigate the dating world, I see more and more of what it means.
Men and women are raised to aspire to different things. While men are told to “man up,” women are told to “be a lady.” It starts in early childhood. A boy is told to never cry, and even as he grows older, to view his vulnerability as a weakness. Conversely, girls are told to be coy, modest and to make themselves desirable so that men will want to marry them. Boys are rewarded for being assertive while girls are rewarded for preserving their virginity and being pretty. There are many academic studies about gender indoctrination and how it affects women throughout their entire lives. Not to mention the hand the media (ex: fashion magazines, romantic comedies, and Disney) plays in this conditioning.
These gender roles continue to play themselves out into our adulthood, spilling into our dating lives. Men are still supposed to be the strong ones and the providers in order to be “real men”, while women are supposed to graciously stand by them and watch them work towards their goals in order to be considered “real women.” Very simple. Very cliche.
This sounds like an outdated concept because men claim to want strong women nowadays more than ever. But do they really? All I see is that I can have a fun time with someone and never hear back from them again. Many of my girlfriends complain about the same phenomena. I can trace it back each time to one common denominator: We are too “opinionated.” That’s the modern word that men use with a negative connotation. It’s the undermining way in which men express themselves about us when we are too strong, too assertive, and too smart for their own comfort.
I have never in my life heard anyone call a man “bossy.”
The male boss instructs you to do something, and you do it. If a female boss does the same thing without using a sweet baby voice and thanking you 600 times in advance, you think “jeez, she’s so bossy!” What’s the difference? Pure conditioning.
The same goes for the word “opinionated.” You don’t just sit there and listen to him tell you all of his own opinions while you mindlessly sip the glass of Chardonnay he ordered for you. A modern man can say he wants pay equality and even call himself a feminist. But when it comes to dating, even though he won’t admit it to himself, he can only be comfortable with your looks, status, and brains as long as you’re one notch beneath him. Equal or more is too threatening to his ego, not because he doesn’t respect you, on the contrary, it just goes back to the aforementioned conditioning. Lifelong ideologies are hard to break.
So I decided to put my theory to the test. I made 6 dates with 6 completely different men with different jobs, ages, hobbies etc. I was very vocal, challenging and lively with the first 3. I ordered scotch neat and expressed my concern with political and societal issues. I had fun calling them out on their bullshit, I made dirty jokes, owned my sexuality, and asked to split the check. I told them I had a great night and even kissed some of them. I never heard back from them again.
For the other 3, I wore something girly, but not too sexy. I let them order for me or asked their suggestions before I ordered for myself. I gave my opinion, but only to support theirs. I expressed great gratitude for them taking me out and didn’t even flinch when the check came. Those 3 guys still text me to this day, though I never text back.
Another sad day for feminism.