I have built a pretty productive life without being completely dependent on a man. Sure, when I run into car trouble I call my dad first, but for the most part, I am self-sufficient. Every now and then, though, I want to be carted around. I don’t want to drive. I don’t want to decide where to eat. Sometimes being a single woman is exhausting just for the constant decision-making I alone am responsible for (do men ever get exhausted by making decisions? Asking for a friend).
Last night my friend Grant was in town, and we knew we wanted to do something downtown, but I knew I didn’t want to drive or mess with parking.
“I’ll pay for all parking if you drive,” I said.
Turns out that Grant is fabulous luck with finding downtown parking spots so I didn’t have to pay for parking anyway. But it was so nice to climb in the passenger seat and visit with Becca (who let me ride shotgun the whole evening) and go to a couple of bars and have Grant bring me a drink so I could just sit.
Sometimes ceding to the patriarchy is relaxing and nice and I love it.
Sometimes the patriarchy pisses me off.
Like this morning, when I received a message from a man who is looking for the “Snow White to his Prince Charming,” someone who wants a woman whose sole ambition is to be a wife and a mother, someone who wants to be waited on hand and foot.
Now, the waiting on hand and foot is nice every now and then, as demonstrated by last night. But all the time? I don’t think I would like it. No reason why–maybe my propensity to feel guilty when people do things for me (though I felt no guilt last night). Anyway.
Over the past ten years, and little by little, I gave up the ambition to be a wife and mother. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t mind being married, and if said fictitious husband has kids, I’d like to think I’d be a kind stepmother. But I love my career. I’ve worked hard to be successful, not only at teaching, but also at writing. My sole ambition now is to be a good person, to love the people in my life as best I can, and to continually improve in my chosen profession.
But he completely lost me at the Snow White/Prince Charming analogy. Snow White: he wasn’t talking about the Snow White of “Once Upon a Time”–that’s a Snow White I can get behind. And as a fan of Stephen Sondheim and “Into the Woods,” I know Prince Charming’s true colors:
Anyway. So I replied to this man’s message explaining why I didn’t think I was a good match for him. His response?
“You might consider masking the bitterness at least partially. It will continue to keep you in the dating scene ad infinitum.”
All I did was explain to him, in very clear terms, why I didn’t fit what he was looking for.
I was clear.
I was honest.
I was logical.
And yes, I was blunt.
Clarity, honesty, logic, and bluntness apparently mean I am bitter.
Yet if a man explained to me that I did not fit what he wanted, I don’t think I would accuse him of being bitter. I’d like to think I would thank him for his honesty and time. Which is all this guy had to do, but instead he “taught me a lesson” (I shared one line of his reply here–it was a couple paragraphs long).
Smash the patriarchy, is what I’m thinking this morning.
But the next time I want to go downtown, I’ll probably wish the patriarchy could drive me there.