Friday, March 22, 2013

On Feminism and Chivalry, or Wake Up and Talk Straight

Okay, so, for those of you who don't know me, I'm a pretty serious feminist.
I am passionate about not just gender equality, but equal treatment for everyone under the law.
We're all human, and that should entail certain rights.
A simple idea, but not necessarily an easy thing to achieve.

Feminism, however, isn't the whole of what I want to discuss.
What has gotten on my nerves of late is this attitude that seems to have cropped up among young women that they want both feminism and chivalry. They want to just do whatever they want and the men have no say, but any man that takes them out on a date had damn well better pick up the tab and OPEN ALL THE DOORS. And he better do it without being asked.

Now, we have the real crux of the issue.

Alright, people. I'm fixin' to lay some knowledge on you:

You ready?
Brace yourself:

Are Not. 
Mind Readers.

No one is.

Wisdom of the ages.

We have developed this stupid attitude that when someone is right for you, they should just automatically know what you want without having to ask you. They should know how to understand all the things you say when you don't actually say them.
Sorry to burst your bubbles, kids, but it's bullshit.

The only way, the only way you are going to get what you want from a relationship is to talk to your partner. Daunting, yes, I realize.

"Wait, you suggest I should actually tell them? Like, with the talking? Doesn't that, like, ruin the mystery?"

Guys, mysteries are good for novels. Some dude kills another dude, then there's all this tension building until the resolution of some crusty detective/kindly older lady sorting out the whole hot mess.

That is not what you want in a relationship. 
You want your needs met.
You want mutual respect.
You want someone that cares enough about what you want and need to ask you rather than making assumptions.
You do know that axiom about assumptions, right? They rarely end well.

So how about this: if you have met someone and you're really into them, but you go out on a date and they don't do all the things you think they should, rather than immediately writing them off, try talking to them.
It doesn't have to be all "Bro, do even date?"

Granted, there are some relationships that don't require as much direct communication.
Sometimes, yes, a person you like will understand and speak the same love languages, so expressions of such things are much simpler. That doesn't, however, mean that just because someone doesn't speak and understand the same way doesn't mean you can't have a good relationship. It just means you have to work at it a little harder.

Try talking honestly and openly. 
Break that wacky fourth wall. 
Say, "Okay, I realize this is taking away some of the 'romance,' but I want to just be 'out in the open' about things." 
Mention what kind of things make you feel special, but not in that obtuse, passive-aggressive, "my ex-boyfriend used to do [XYZ]" without actually saying "[XYZ] is a thing I enjoy/makes me feel special."

If the guy you're talking to can't hang with your honestly, he's probably not mature enough to handle a proper relationship, so if you go forward with a relationship, it's probably going to end up with the both of you making assumptions, and we already talked about that.

So here's the take-away. TALK IT OUT. Don't get pissy when someone doesn't make the assumptions you think they should make when you haven't given them all the information they need.

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