I have a confession to make. I don’t like being one of the boys. Sometimes, that is. Sure, it has its perks – especially if the men you hang around are a pack of wolves who are smart, very good looking, (mostly) emotionally intelligent and bearers of the capacity to smell self-loathing on a woman from a mile away. But being a woman is a beautiful imperfection. It means that one day, like me, you will likely ask yourself why all those guys most of the women in the world wish they had never met, will not look your way.
The premise for this post is a handful of weekends spent binge watching Being Mary Jane. I get the main character of that shower better than I sometimes get my friends. She has often been called crazy by the men in her life. Most of her friends refer to her as the smart and mature one in the group. She is gifted and blessed and has her share of family drama. She knows what she wants and (often) goes for it, she is headstrong, she is a poor listener (the girl will hear you, if you can get a word out, but she isn’t always listening) and her confidence is admirable. Even when she is wrong, you can’t help but admire the stubborn conviction that drives her to her decisions.
Then there’s Lisa. She’s the friend who live’s in Mary Jane’s shadow. Although I cannot claim to have had a life nearly as difficult as that of either of these characters, I can definitely relate to Lisa’s plight. Especially on the romantic front. Fine. I know the internet does not forget, but here goes… I can relate to liking someone who does not like you back.
Okay. I might regret this, but I am definitely not going back now.
Without going into the details, I will put this out for anyone who gets this to read. The girl who calls herself one of the guys, she’s still a lady and would like to be treated well. That means not making any jokes about a woman’s body as if you were breaking down the parts of a car. It also means not going on and on about the sort of body you’d like on a woman when she’s on the far end of the spectrum that is your reference point for “the perfect body”. Treating a woman like a lady means getting her to her bus stop or matatu stage after a late night just so you’re sure she got there in one piece and that she appears to be spoken for. Look after a girl’s drink when she goes to the bathroom and please be the first to speak up and do something when another man gets uncomfortably close. Being a good friend to a girl or woman also means having the decency to stop your friends from making nasty rape-culture-fueled remarks when they come up. Also, do not label a woman as difficult to love. It is unnecessary and very unkind. If she doesn’t suit you, let her go and move on because someone else will love her with her flaws and “issues”.
I will fight the urge to leave this out of the list: a good guy will let a lady know that he would rather not make out/sleep with her and ruin their friendship/make things awkward because he cares about more than pursuing the “skirt” within his closest range of reach; especially when he knows he is not interested in taking things any farther than that one physical encounter. And should there be a consensual arrangement to the crossing of lines and blurring of boundaries, guys, be civil. Be brave enough to have an actual conversation – a polite and candid one, at that – about what happened and what it means. Do not show up with your “main pursuit” or “new interest” to the Friday night game one quiet week after a drunken hookup as a way of saying “You get it right? We’re not happening. it not you…”
So I haven’t been this nice myself. Not always, at least. But I have grown up a little in the way I relate with men and how I talk to people so… I am still growing up and learning. Every single day.
On my next post, I’d like to celebrate the wonderful guys I have been fortunate to meet in my life. Because being one of the guys is not all bad.