Just like my Sociology degree ruined my social life, so does being a feminist ruin my dating life.
I remember being at the theatre one time and pulling out my phone (yes, I was that person) to text a professor friend of mine. “I am watching a movie, and my Sociology degree has ruined me.” His response: “Now, you see all the problems in everything. Sorry about that.”
I’ve been dating for the better part of five years. It’s mostly awful.
A significant part of the problem is that I pick up on every time someone I’m talking to calls a grown woman “girl” or makes any kind of reference to what is considered “proper” behaviour for women or talks about some unrealistic or otherwise sexist expectation he has for his daughter. And the mansplaining….
And I know, I know…no one is perfect. Least of all me. It’s just that when I hear “girl” or about “proper” behaviour or some ridiculous expectation for daughters or when a man explains boxing or politics to me again that it’s a harbinger of what’s to come.
He’s going to dismiss me or my feelings; he’s going to judge me; he’s going to disrespect his daughter or her wishes in some way (this has happened); or he’s going to condescend to me.
I mean, I’ve been there a few times. Someone I’ve been on a date with has said something that’s made me cringe just a little bit and I’ve written it off with a “oh, I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way,” and then, after a few more dates, the trait that those few little words were indicative of rears its ugly head and harkens back to that first time I cringed.
I realized a long time ago – but still struggle with actually doing it – that it’s important for us to trust our gut, maybe especially in the world of dating.
When someone says something that gives you pause and it’s within the first few dates and still getting to know them, it’s so important to be aware of those uncomfortable feelings and evaluate them.
Now, I live by a strict “no second chances” policy.
If – within the first half a dozen dates – someone says something like the above or that smacks of racism or homophobia or anything of the like, there are no further dates. Period. There is no more “oh, I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way,” because I’ve learned that these things come from somewhere. They are easy tells of what’s to come. They always mean it that way.
So, whilst being feminist has probably made my dating life much more challenging, I wouldn’t change it, because it also means that I’m noticing problematic behaviour earlier and saving us both from wasting our time.