Feminism and dating
I won’t feel obligated to talk to someone just because they really, want me to.6.
They were infrequent visitors in my life and I was a tourist in theirs. We were “women of promise.” We were the promise of a better future.I’ve come a long, long way since the ensuing years of tense serial monogamy in my 20s, and have far to go. I never have let a man get in my way–are you kidding? But now I’m trying to unlearn some of that–to learn what it means to soften, not weaken, and to expand, not constrict. My understanding of feminism has evolved, too–in that you don’t have to hate men or beat them in order to be a powerful woman. And I have no regrets about the choices I’ve made in my life (except, of course, for the school dance episode, and a few others to be sure).I recognize that I have been angry and defensive for a big chunk of my life, and I’m not even sure why. I believe the flawed thinking that set my wheels in motion was believing that to want a man equalled neediness. Even my uncle, a catholic priest, and my biggest fan in the world before he passed, said, “Terri, don’t be a desperate woman.” And so I figured if needed nothing especially from a man, I’d win. But I’m well aware that my tendency to fight and compete and fear losing to men has made it incredibly hard for me to love the way I know I could.I left this boy stranded at a school dance where he knew no one but me. It remains one of the cruelest things I’ve ever done. Little did I know the inability to accept anything from a man, including love, would become a bigger problem.I went home that night and said nothing–until the phone rang at (which in the days of one-family land lines, was a big deal), and it was him. I guarded my virginity jealously, well into college, up until the bitter end, in fact.
Stay sober, stay smart, and if someone goes to rape you, run for ze hills, screaming your head off. I got the impression that I could, should, and would run circles around guys. And I was sure as shit not going to let any of them hurt me. I sneered at, and even humiliated men as a teenager, and if a guy liked me, I fairly resented him for it. As I saw him lean cautiously through the auditorium door in the flickering disco light (skinny kid, blond crew cut, windbreaker), I felt my heart ball up in a fist, and thought, So, I ignored him. But it was reinforced by the notion that men were something to be dealt with, but not at all necessary or required.