You're not the type of girl to mess around with.
There have been two men, both of which are nothing but distance acquaintances, that have said similar versions of the statement above. At first it sounds like I'm some really cool Black Widow-type of woman that rolls her eyes at their attempts at flirting and refuses to be made a fool. But it really means something else; that they are aware that by being involved with me will lead to something. That, by texting into the early hours of the morning and by dressing up and going out on dates with glasses of wine chiming against one another, there would be a certain line that would inevitably be crossed for good. No walking backwards. No going back.
This line looks a lot like this:
I can see the eyeballs rolling and I can hear the exasperated sighs as I say this (and age myself in the process) but.. dating in your twenties is really, really horrible. And predictable. It's a story that is overdone, the narrative is boring to read and act out. Girls are put into two categories: good and bad. Games are played, like waiting approximately twice as long as the last person did to respond, or pretending you aren't impacted by things to the point where things and emotions just fade away. Everyone is playing the game even when they don't think they are playing it. Everyone has to stick to whatever character summary that has already been written for them. No one ever wants to show any sort of excitement in fear of exposing too much of themselves too quickly--everyone wants to be seen with as much chill as possible. Everyone wants to be carefree and fun. No one wants to be the person that wants someone more than the other, because as soon as that happens, the fun stops and the fear kicks in.
I know you aren't that type of girl, a boy says to me over a late night phone call one Thursday evening. I remember thinking we just met me a week ago, how do you know what type of girl I am? but instead, I kept my mouth shut. I didn't want to be rude or overbearing, but really--how do you know who I am? I barely know who I am. But for the rest of the evening, long after our phone call ended, I wondered--is that what this is? Is that what's wrong--why this feels like we are dancing around a topic that neither of us are ready to tackle? Am I just pretending that you aren't interested in anything more than a notch in your bedpost? Are you just hoping that I'll actually give in?
A few weeks later I'm having breakfast with a friend when she says something off-the-cuff about our previously mentioned mutual friend. Nonchalantly, she starts reading texting conversations and I feel my body tense. I can tell she isn't the type to see multiple people at once, if you know what I mean. She wouldn't just be interested in just some fun, right? I asked for more clarification, because sometimes a person can say "you know what I mean" and another person nods but no one has any idea what page (sometimes book) we are even reading. Well, he is under the impression that you don't sleep around. He's interested in you--really, he is. But he wants to be single for a little while, he just wants to have fun with you. He said it could bloom into something more though! I asked for clarification and damn, did I receive it.
I never know how to respond to these types of comments--the way they are said make it seem like a backhanded compliment. Fun is great, but sometimes fun can mean different things to different people. Everything is so exciting in the first few weeks until both parties begin to feel some sort of pressure to decide what something is. The problem is that everyone already has an idea of what they want out of someone, whether it is just fun or not. Sometimes someone wants the wrong thing at the right time for someone else. Wanting the wrong thing at the right time for the other person, all because of the fear of attachment and strings. Strings, like relationships, get messy and tangled and quickly things can go from fun to the exact opposite. Any person that has loved and lost will know this. Two people share many things with one another, tying strings to shared memories, people, songs, books, and dates set in time. These strings will fray over time, but they'll be there as reminders for the rest of their lives.
My friends have echoed the same plot in a variety of different ways. A friend of mine actually had someone say Please just wait around for me for when I'm ready to get married to her. This has only ever meant is that we are either stepping stones to something (or someone) greater or the final destination. We are either those that you kill time with in the sheets on a Friday night or those that you end up waking up with on Sunday mornings (and every morning after that until death-do-us-part.) We are either those that help you continue on the path of finding the one you are meant to be with, or we are the one you're meant to be with. Either the bad girl for when you want fun or the good girl for when you're ready to bring her home to your parents for Sunday brunch. Either or. Never both, because fun and commitment are never to be had together at one time when you're in your twenties. No one wants strings to be attached to them forever, and when you begin to care for someone that isn't interested in strings, you can begin to feel a little invalid. Unwanted. Maybe even a little unworthy.
It's okay to want to have fun and want no ties to one another. It's also okay to want something more. You don't have to want what the other person wants. You have to accept their decision, but you can move on to someone that wants what you have to give. I used to hope that these people would change--I would be the one to help them change their ways. You can't do that. You can't change people, just like how you can't pretend the strings never tied you together. You can't force people out of their comfort zones, whether they are created by fear or any other emotion. You don't need to be stuck in boxes labelled 'good' or 'bad' or whatever other types there are. You don't need to be the character that they assume you to be.
I have learned to steer clear of people that say the words like you are not like other girls or I never would've thought you would be like this or, my personal favourite, you're such a good girl. These are the people that believe good girls want commitment and bad girls want fun, with no overlapping. These people believe that girls should stick to these confinements, even though you can be and want both. These are the people that do not want strings. These are the people that will build you up and give you rose-coloured glasses so you can't really see what's going on. These are the people that will speak about you with their friends in a way that is not favourable, that you either wanted too little or you wanted too much, because you asked for something tangible and real or something carefree and fun and they couldn't deal with either of those.
These are the people you do not want--they are, most definitely, not your type.
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