Growler and I went to a show this week at the Masquerade in Atlanta. We were supposed to be there to see In This Moment, but there was a 6:00 door, which we didn't realize until 7:15. We got there just in time to see the stage being broken down and set up for the main act, Stone Sour. (They were okay. I'm not a huge fan, but it was a good show.)
I was surprised, though, that even
in this environment—music show, my ideal demographic—the only guy who talked to
me was in his early 20s and gay. I got
stared at a lot, but not one other guy really spoke to me. I still had a great time with Growler, as always, but I was a bit flabbergasted,
if totally used to it. I was dressed
down—black sundress, Chuck Taylors, and pigtails—so I wasn't even really trying
to attract anyone. Even when I do get
really dressed up, though, it's rare that men actually approach and talk to
It's starting to make me feel like a freak.
It's not that I'm so enamored of myself that I'm appalled that men could turn down this hot chick. (Really, I don't think that at all, at least not of strangers.) But several men as of late, when I've mentioned this, have said that I'm a bit intimidating.
I can understand it if you've actually talked to me. I'm bawdy and loud and smart and sarcastic—generally a big ball of glittery batshit. But until you get to know me, I'm often just that quiet blonde over there.
According to this informal survey, the fact that I am tall and blonde and busty in my general Amazonianness leads men to think they'll get shot down. One woman told me that a guy once told her that men are actually more afraid of rejection than women are, if only because they've been more likely to be rejected than a woman.
So I started thinking about this idea of women having to attract men. In social situations, there's a definite expectation that women act a certain way. There are all kinds of blogs and articles advising us to tone it down when we are meeting men, to be a little coy and pliant and make them feel special. I see women, especially younger women, playing this flirty game of dumb blonde that drives me insane. I know damn well that girl won't be anything like that once you get into her head, unless she really is that stupid.
I can be quiet and coy and even pliant, but that's almost always reserved for the guy I'm actually with. I am who I am (see above), and I've been adamant that I refuse to hide that from anyone, especially from myself and from potential romantic interests. It feels dishonest for so many reasons.
But are men actually afraid to talk to me? Why?
I'm a nice girl. Really. I can carry on a conversation about almost anything. I'm pleasant and funny and do know how to be socially appropriate most of the time. (I know the inner circle will laugh at that, but they also know they're most often the direct target of my inappropriateness.) I have a nice smile, and you might even get to see my dimple if you make me laugh.
I'm also very sociable and will at least try to chat with almost anyone. The worst thing that happens is that I don't hit it off with you and we say goodnight and move on. Big deal. But if you want my attention, you'd better be willing to at least meet me halfway. Be nice. Be funny. Be pleasant. Show me your smile. Don't expect me to do all the work to put you at ease. I'm just as nervous at the thought of being rejected—and maybe moreso given my personal history.
And the truth is, I expect to be too much for most men to handle, so I do tend to kind of stay back and revert to my natural introversion until I feel like there's something worth exploring. Maybe it's standoffish on my part. I'm really no damn good and just walking up to a guy and introducing myself, especially when I'm surrounded by non-Amazon girls. I'm not that tiny, cute thing and never will be. I still constantly compare myself to those women, even though I know I am and have so much to offer.
Dating is weird. Men are weird. Women are crazy. How the hell this thing ever works and relationships can move forward into something longer-lasting is just baffling to me. If you don't actually talk to me, you'll never know if I'm worth your time. And vice versa.