In the beginning, I used to be a “guy’s girl,” not gonna lie. We all know the type. The girl that simply just is one of the guys.
In my late teens and early 20’s, I was proud to be a declared a guy’s-girl. You know, one of those low-maintenance- no-holds-barred-roll-her-eyes-at- other-women type girls. I thought it was the highest compliment, that the men folk viewed me as an equal because I was, “not like most girls.” I was a renegade. An outlier. So so cool.
And then somewhere along the line, I evolved.
And Let There be Light:
It was one day, a few very transformative years later, after life and love had kicked my ass six ways from Sunday, that a guy friend and I were at a bar. We were talking about dating and issues he was having with his girlfriend. He looked at me and said, “Guys probably never have these issues with you. You’re like a dude…you’re one of us,” and for the first time, ever, I gave the appropriate response: I asked him if that was supposed to be a compliment.
I mean, what was it about my personality that made me “like a guy?” That I was funny? Honest and outspoken? That I didn’t let people walk all over me? That I could maintain my cool in the back and forths of dating (in my LATER 20’s)? If so…what did it say about my actual gender? I can’t even IMAGINE telling one of my guy friends that he was “like a girl,” and have that go over well. When did being “like a girl” become an insult?
Why had being accepted into the ranks of “the boys” become a point of triumph for me and so many girls? I mean, let’s face it… guys really aren’t that hard to impress. Being friends with a dude is relatively simple: you go somewhere, have some beers, make a few jokes, maybe talk about the gym, and go home. It’s easy.
You know what IS hard to do? To form meaningful and lasting relationships with other women. To pick away at the barriers you and other women put up between themselves and realize that when we are at our best around one another, we are unstoppable.
I’m not saying that every woman needs to be friends with every other woman that they meet. We are not houseplants. Just like you aren’t going to like every guy you meet, you’re not going to like every (or many) woman you meet.
The thing is: we, as women, rarely ever really give other women a chance. We will so quickly say, “Oh, I don’t like her,” when what we really should be saying is, “Oh, I don’t know her.” And I want that to stop.
Why do we so quickly dismiss women we meet? There’s an excellent, excellent explanation for that here In this TED talk by Caroline Heldman. But from what I’ve seen, it’s usually because this unknown female commits one of the following sins within the first few times of meeting her:
- She’s prettier than you
- She’s confident
- She’s funny
- She has a talent you don’t have and brings it up in conversation
- She has a talent you do have, and brings it up before you do…that ballsy, evil, bitch
So basically…she is everything you have ever wanted to be.
Ladies, this insecure pettiness is beneath you, and you need to eat cement and toughen up (thanks for the saying, Sash). There are always going to be funnier, prettier, more successful women than you. You know what you should do when you meet one? TRY TO BE HER FRIEND. How on Earth are you going to better yourself if you’re surrounding yourself with people who don’t challenge you?
Jealous that she’s got a banging body? That’s a you problem. Ask her for some workout tips and see if she’ll spot you at the gym. Jealous that she seems to be more confident than you? Hang out with her and find out her story to see how she got that way. Think she’s standoffish because she’s not speaking to you? Well…have you gone up to her, or are you just waiting for her to ignore the daggers you’ve been staring at her and mosey on over to you? Sort yourselves out, stop hating, and start making an effort.
The New Testament
Now here’s the tricky part, in order to have a friendship with a genuinely strong, confident female, we ourselves have to be genuinely strong and confident. This is where a lot of girls (myself included) get stuck. You have to work on yourself before you can be much good to anyone of value. That’s true for any relationship.
So while “confidence-izing” yourself (yes that’s so a word) is a tricky uphill battle, I will leave you with the first, and very simplified, steps that I took to becoming a “girl’s girl,” and a girlfriend worth having:
I made a list of all the things I dislike in other girls and people: the cattiness, the body and slut shaming, the competitive vibes that came out around the company of the guys. And I asked myself if I was guilty of having any of those traits. That answer was a resounding, “yes.”
And then I decided to change. I realized I didn’t have to be that person anymore. And I’m not.
And that voice in my head…you know the one…the one that whispers to you everyday that you’re really not THAT smart, you’re really not THAT pretty, no one REALLY likes you. I told it to shut the f*ck up. I decided that if I wouldn’t let another person say things like that to me, there was no way I should be talking to myself that way.
And after I started making those changes, the rest (very slowly) came into play. I’ve had a lot of hits and misses with female friends, but they’ve gotten better, mainly because I’ve gotten better.
So…ladies…if you’re happy with your bro-card and all of this sounds like arrogant “who does she think she is” nonsense…keep doing you. You are still, at the core, wonderfully intuitive, caring, and amazingly strong people, which, I’m sorry to tell you, makes you very much “like a girl.”
And I’m also sorry to tell you that no amount of social awareness campaigns targeting males is going to advance the status of women very much if we ourselves don’t start having each other’s backs rather than stabbing one another in the back.
So please…be one of the girls. Be for the girls. Be like a girl.