Relationship Sellout – AKA How to Have an Abusive Relationship in 13 Easy Steps

Yesterday I read an article called “13 Things A Woman Can Do To Be More Attractive To Men” on Thought Catalog (a really, really reliable resource).  Why did I read it?  Because I hate articles like that.  Turns out, this trumps them all in hate-able-ness.

With such criteria akin to your typical control freak male just itching to dominate someone, it’s really hard to imagine anybody, whether they fit the sexist, racist, and hypocritical dream girl description or not, wanting to be in a relationship with this guy.  Sadly, many vulnerable women (including myself at point in the past) eat articles like this up with great amounts of hope: if I could just change myself, guys will like me.  If I could just be a “Proverbs 31 Woman” men will actually want to date and marry me.  Obviously all guys are just like this guy, therefore I can never be loved as I am, so in order to avoid being an old maid I must alter the very core of my being.

No.  NO NO NO.  Any guy worth having is worth being yourself for.  Please.

I engaged in the comments some because I had this strange idea that I would be talking to reasonably intelligent people on this website.  Mostly I was just trying to put my little “be yourself” mantra out there for girls that felt disheartened by this article.  Instead I was just met with more guys like the author arguing that it was perfectly reasonable to ask that a girl be a decent human being that takes care of herself.  (Which, by the way, goes both ways – if that’s the only kind of female those fellows have interacted with then all I can say is I guess they deserve each other.)

To make the point that I didn’t think the article was completely off its rocker, I went through it item by item in a commentary about which points were okay but could have been stated in a more reasonable and effective way, and which points were utter bullshit.  I think this comment got deleted for whatever reason, but it makes for a better blog post anyway.

Don’t forget to get properly enraged by the article here.

1. “Stay in shape.”  This is a fine thing.  Better, perhaps, to phrase it “take care of yourself.”  And better to leave the body-shaming euphemisms out of it.  But all in all, a well-intentioned point that most women follow anyway, whether they look like it or not.

2. “Lay off body mod.”  This is a matter of personal preference.  So what if I have tattoos and piercings covering my whole body?  If you don’t like it, I don’t need to date you just as much as you don’t need to date me.  I don’t even care, because I don’t have a tattoo or “weird” piercing, but I might like to get one one day when I can afford it, and it will have nothing to do with attractiveness or needing permission from my S.O.

3.  “Make your own money.”  Yes, this is a thing.  It’s the 21st century and any girl who thinks a man is going to come along and support her forever is a fool.  I think working women should promote this idea more, in fact.

4.  “Be feminine.”  And we’re back at the personal preferences.  Except this time, unlike tattoos which are choices, someone’s personality is kind of hard to just shift over to being more feminine.  If you want a lady, great.  Go find someone who already is one and don’t bother the rest of us with that desire.abuse 1

5.  “Be submissive.”  At least this guy didn’t get all biblical with this one.  He seems to be saying “be a giving, loving person,” which would have been a better choice of words that wouldn’t be so easily misunderstood.  Submission is a two-way street (which he also seems to be saying, thankfully) – and my partner and I love doing giving, loving things for each other.  I guess I just wouldn’t call it being submissive, or even think of it as submission, because that implies “wives submit to your husbands” and is a recipe for an emotionally or even physically abusive relationship.

6.  “Sex life.”  NO PROBLEM, whatever.  Just don’t call me a fucking slut if I’ve slept with a lot of people, and ESPECIALLY don’t hold a double standard about that if YOU have also been the town bicycle.   Likewise, if I haven’t slept with anybody before you?  Stop talking about how you’re tired of inexperienced virgins.  We were all one at one point and all that does is show how inadequate YOU probably still feel.

7.  “Be intelligent.”  Again, not a problem.  I think, though, that a lot of girls think that they can’t be intelligent, so perhaps framing this in a way that empowers them to go ahead and have a brain would be more productive.  Maybe like not making lists like this in the first place that imply that they don’t, and responding to women that object to certain items in a way that makes them feel like they don’t have a right to an opinion?  That would be fantastic.

8.  “Be childfree.”  Pretty sure there’s no backsies once you have kids, so I just think it’s really pointless to bring this up.  And honestly?  This is the point which made me lose respect for this guy altogether, because he’s going so far as to say “especially biracial.” What does that have to do with anything except that “John Smith” is an abhorrent racist?? And what if this woman with a kid, biracial or not, got raped and decided to keep the baby? Is that not admirable? So anyway, again, this is a slightly understandable matter of preference, I feel the same way about guys with kids, but it’s not universal and not something you can just go take a self-improvement class to change.

9. “Be willing to cook.” As long as that goes both ways just like “submission”, that’s fine. Frankly I think knowing how to cook for yourself goes under the “take care of yourself” category. Even still, bachelors have been clueless about making dinner for generations, and only recently have women had the mental freedom to get take-out every night if they want to, so what the hell.

10. “Put down the phone.” This is a valid lesson for everyone, I am sick and tired of trying to have face-to-face interactions and feeling like the phone is more important than me. If people could keep saying this in as many contexts as possible that would be fantastic.

11. “Ease up on the makeup.” Kinda goes along the same lines as tattoos; I will wear makeup if I want to (I rarely do). Interestingly, I’ve been told my whole life by my father that I need to “put in a little effort” and actually wear some makeup, so really again this is personal preference. If you want to see my face for what it really is, cool, I respect that. So shave your beard every once and a while so I can see your face too.

12. “Stop cussing.” Did I mention it was the 21st century? Nobody cares. If swearing bothers you, go find a goody-two-shoes church girl. Just keep in mind she probably wants to be 100% financially supported by a man – or, at least, there’s definitely no chance she’s having sex with you before your wedding night.

13. “Guy friends.” 80% of my friends are guys. I feel comfortable around them, . They feel comfortable around me. Whether they want to get in my pants or I want to get in theirs doesn’t matter; either it’s happened already or it’s a strictly respectfully off-limits topic, mostly because we’re all adults. That’s bothered boyfriends I’ve had in the past, and guess what? That’s why they are in the past. I will not give up my friends for anybody, and if you can’t get over your insecurities enough to see that then you’re going to be a very unhappy person the rest of your life.

Anyway, I think the article makes some good points, albeit they could have been phrased in a less control-freak-ish way. And as for the other points, they’re personal preference. It’s fine if he finds a girl that meets these finer points, I hope for his sake he does. But it isn’t going to be anybody that I know, that’s for sure.