In our free time, Lily and I front the riot grrrl band The Crop Tops (if not for my total lack of musical talent, this could actually be a thing). Our very first EP, BOY VOMIT, is out now—and it's just what I'm feeling this very moment. Boys? Vomit.
The last few months in particular, I've listened to a slate of stories from friends—and have had a few of my own—that make me think that (most) guys (really) need to get over themselves. I just want to whip out my anti-patriarchy bells and shake them in their faces. I know there are a few good eggs out there. This is not for you. This is for the eggs who I am SURE are good at heart but act like assholes because our culture makes room for them to suck up space and spit out emotional immaturity. Am I bitter? Only a little (I still enjoy a good smooch!) Am I hungry for change? Yes. I want everyone to work together to rewrite the rules of masculinity. It's getting in the way of me having a fun time.
We teach our men to detach from their emotions and dole out open-heartedness sparingly. Being courteous and respectful isn't something you reserve for whoever you're "serious" with: everyone deserves a little loving kindness (even boys. UGH. FINE). We label traditionally female communication styles as "needy" and traditionally male communication styles as "stable." In my own romantic relationships, I've struggled to call out behaviors that hurt me because I didn't want to be overly emotional. That's a shame, because I am pretty much a flotilla of feelings with a serious cheesy popcorn habit. And as I've learned from experience, failing to engage with and convey my feelings doesn't resolve the deeper problem. If anything, it has me yelling at an ex during Spring Fling wearing nothing but shortalls and rain boots.
On a date last night, the guy I was with revealed that he broke up with his ex-girlfriend because she "caught the feels." Mm, yes. There's nothing worse than someone you've been sharing a bed with for a year suddenly FEELING something about it. Gross!
I was making out with a guy a couple of weeks ago who actually made a face when I asked to use condoms. Right! Because sacrificing my sexual health is totally worth a night spent listening to you snore. (SIDE NOTE: Taking care of your own health is what a badass woman does. Your body is a precious, beautiful collection of stardust and it should be recognized as such—whether you're sleeping with a long-time love or hooking-up with a fresh fling).
Like many people I know, I could wax poetic on boy vomit moments. But I think I'll stop there for the sake of my own sanity and instead invite all the good-eggs-at-heart guys out there to consider these following rules of thumb for love & lust & everything in between:
(1) Not every one you hook-up with wants to "trap" you into a relationship. And a relationship isn't anymore of a "trap" than singledom.
(2) There is no "should." There's no one way to be in love or to date or to break-up. Tune into what feels authentic to you and be open to exploring that with your partner(s).
(3) Do whatever you can to minimize suffering. Sometimes we hurt people when we honor our truths. But you don't have to be a total dick about it. Challenge yourself to make sure that whoever you're kissing—or kissed—feels seen, heard, and cared for as a person.
(4) Engage with your feelings. If you need to take baby steps, take baby steps. If art therapy is a bridge too far, respect that. Understand, however, that the only way to figure out what's going on inside you is to walk through it and not around it. Exploring your emotions is hard? That's okay. You can do something that's hard.
(5) Consent is essential. Always. Always. Always.
I was unsure at first whether to share this (very necessary) PSA because I didn't want to be read as whiny and because not everything I'm writing reflects my deeper truths: on my better days, I really do believe that each one of us is working to the best of our abilities to minimize pain and nurture a sense of joy. But today, this is where I'm at and it makes me feel like a fierce, FOXY lady (please see my power words for more information) to get this not-so-pretty state-of-being off my chest.
That, and I can't find for the life of me where I placed my anti-patriarchy bells.