“He’s super cute and nice but…I don’t date short guys”
I can’t express how hard I want to laugh when I hear a girl say this.
After ALL of the crap we give guys about appreciating us for the unique angels we think we are, we sit around saying this nonsense, with almost NO hesitation, to our friends, at dinner tables, and worse of all…to guys we know.
It’s awful. Epically awful.
Now don’t get me wrong…we all have “a type.” You are entitled to liking whatever it is that you want.
But ladies, we have been BATTLING to eradicate body shaming for years and years now, and we are making some major progress, we really are. There’s a long list of things that men are just not allowed to say about us and our bodies in public domain. So then why should it not go both ways?
Just because historically body shaming has been directed towards females by men AND women, doesn’t mean we get a break when we do it. I’m not saying it’s wrong to feel this way about dating shorter men, I’m saying it’s horrible, awful, and hypocritical to be saying this stuff out loud.
The measurement of a man is not in how tall he is, it’s in how much he measures up in your life. He may not stand tall, but does he stand up for you and the people he loves? Does he support you? Does he bring things to your metaphorical table? Those are the things that should matter.
Once again, I’m not saying you should want to date short guys… just stop saying it without realizing the double standard you are very openly playing into. Stop saying it because you are basing someone’s value on something they have no control over. Stop saying it because your words are hurting other human beings.
And come on…We know how it feels when people do this to us, when they make us feel like less of a woman because we have small breasts, non-existent hips, short legs etc. So let’s stop trying to instill the cycle of insecurity that has held us back for centuries onto men. We all know where that leads.
For the first time in a long time, many guys are working on themselves and their friends…challenging each other to be better partners and allies to us. Don’t you think we owe them the same respect?
Gentlemen, if a girl says this to you or around you in any way shape or form…avoid her. And if she SAYS she doesn’t want to date you because of your height, let me be the first to say: Congratulations. You dodged a very basic bullet.
Oh, and ladies, if one of your friends is dating an amazingly great guy who is barely taller, just as tall as, or <heaven forbid> shorter than her, and you feel the need to bring that up publicly as a “con” when discussing their relationship…please hand in your “opinion card” because you’re no longer allowed to have one on this issue.
With men beginning to step up to the plate on issues like gender equality, it’s becoming harder and harder to excuse women who perpetuate these double standards. And remember…I’m a girl’s girl…I WANT to be on your side. But ladies, we are wrong on this one. Very very wrong…so it’s about time we start treating the men in our lives with the very same BASIC decency we have been fighting for for the past few hundreds/thousands of years.
I promised myself when I started this blog (a whole three weeks ago) that I would keep my posts universal, relevant and humorous (when needed). I’m not sure this post will meet any of these criteria, but this needed to be written.
I needed to write this because I thought this morning that maybe, miraculously, the nurse/ medical assistant I’m writing about will recognize themselves in this story. I wish more than anything I knew her name.
But this probably won’t reach her. So, hopefully and more realistically, this will at least be read by a few nurses or medical assistants, that often never get to hear what they so often deserve: thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.
For those of you who don’t know, during the Miss America pageant last week,one of the contestants (a nurse)
performed a monologue that she wrote about her profession. It later came under scrutiny by a talk show host, and has caused quite a few people to share their experiences with the awesomeness that is nursing.
So here it is:
To A Nurse,
I’m a doctor’s kid. In fact, most people in my family are doctors, or surgeons. I understand the fascination people have with them, the way we tend to glorify them… They are Gods amongst men, the healers of the sick, the fixers of broken bodies. In TV shows and movies, the doctor is the one who takes the special interest in the patient and makes the breakthrough that changes the course of their patient’s lives.
So I get why people feel that way about doctors, I do. And honestly, I think we all tend to think that because very few of us know what it’s like to be really really sick.
I know what it’s like. When I was 18 (so twelve years ago) I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma…a bad…but highly treatable form of cancer. At 18, I was shuttled from doctor’s office to doctor’s office, out of one scan into another, injected with all sorts of dyes, liquids, chemicals, to see how “bad” my cancer really was. I met a million doctors, was poked, prodded, asked a thousand questions, and was scheduled to start chemo all within in the span of a week. My life, as I knew it, had ended.
And then I ended up in a room with you. In what seemed like the basement of the hospital. You were supposed to take one of my “baseline” tests (to like make sure my lungs didnt melt or something during treatments, I don’t know really). You took my blood pressure, listened to my breathing patterns (with your stethoscope!) and gave me a tube I needed to blow into.
You handed it to me, and said, “ok, honey, take a deep breath and just blow sharply into this tube…let it all out.” So I took a deep breath, held onto the tube, and did exactly what you said…I let it all out. I cried. Inconsolably. It was just so quiet in there and you were just so nice, I needed to let it all go.
You didn’t look away like my friends would do. You didn’t “give me a minute” and leave the room so I could get myself together. You sat there, and you listened to me snuffle and sob, and you waited until the hysterical teenager in front of you finally quieted down. And then you took the tube out of my hand, and put your hand on mine and said:
“Hey…look. I see people come in here all the time. I don’t know what your prognosis is, or how long you’re going to have to come to this hospital, or how things are going to go for you. But I know one thing…
I know that one day, years from now, your doctor is going to say to you that you’re done. That it’s time to start living your life. And that’s what you need to do. Take your time…be sad… but when the doctors tell you it’s time to move on, promise me that you will. Don’t be one of those people who is constantly looking over your shoulder and thinking about this part of your life…forget about this place, and just promise me, you’ll move on.”
I nodded my head, wiped my nose, and you handed the tube back to me and said, “Ok…let’s get this done now.”
And that was it. I went on with the treatments, lost my hair, got my hair back, went to my follow up appointments, finished school, and then five years later, in March, I was done. My doctor said I didn’t need to worry about coming in anymore, and that it was time to move on.
And that, dear Nurse, was when I remembered what you said…what you said about moving on and not looking back. And I listened. I really think you would be proud.
Life’s been good
People who know me know what I’ve been up to, but I’ll give you the Spark’s Notes version: I live overseas, I work a job I love, I travel and meet more people than I ever imagined, I’ve learned empathy and compassion from the empathy and compassion you and others have shown me, and I almost never think about those days when I was really sick. I do, however, think a lot about you.
Anyone who ever asks me how I ended up overseas, has heard about you. You’re nameless in the stories, and I hate it. I’ve rarely cried about cancer since then, but I’ve often teared up thinking about what you said, and how I would never get to tell you to your face, because what does an 18 year old really understand about the impact our word’s have on others? So I’m sorry. I wish more than anything you knew in that 30 minutes you spent with me, you changed the course of my life.
With eternal gratitude,
So, if anyone who worked at, or is still working at Medical City Dallas, remembers an 18 year old girl in 2003 wearing a shirt that was entirely too low cut, and crying all over your equipment…please know that I owe much of who I am today, to what you said to me.
And to the chemo nurses, the medical assistants, the people drawing blood and the guy who operated the PET-CT scans (yes I remember you)..all of you were my angels at Medical City Dallas. I have innumerable stories from that time I spent in your good graces, and without you all, your jokes, your sincerity, your all around bad-ass-ness, I don’t think I would’ve been able to move on from it like I did. I mean…one guy saw me run into a bathroom crying, and waited outside just to make sure I was okay…really…he had a job to do, and he did that instead.
And to ALL nurses…if you think you remember the one or two patients who stood out to you, please know that numerous people hold your faces and your words in their hearts, even though they may never know your name. Keep up the good work, I just wanted to drop you all a line.
And to anyone still reading this, nurse or not…your kind words matter. Say them.
We all know what it means. If we think of all the times we have asked it and all the times we have been asked it, the answer is one of two things:
“Yes!” followed by a meet-cute story of how we met our boyfriend or husband OR An awkward pause as the room dims. We shake our head, “No,” while someone randomly begins to play an organ in the background
In summary: if we have a boyfriend, we ARE in a relationship with someone. And if we don’t have a boyfriend, we are NOT in a relationship with anyone. It is so simple to think this way. It is also, utter and complete bullshit.
But first, let me answer the question myself before I explain why.
Now, there’s no meet-cute in these stories…These relationships have been challenging and difficult. These relationships are the very definition of “til death do us part,” they’ve made me cry, made me laugh, and made me change. That’s probably why these relationships matter. So, after 30 years of living and loving, here’s my answer to:
So…Sonia, are you in a relationship with anyone?
Yes. Yes I am.
I’m in a relationship with my mother:
Everyone says me and my mom have a great relationship. And, it’s true… we finally have a GREAT relationship, but, I’m not gonna lie, It wasn’t easy. I don’t’ know if you know this, but I’m no bed of roses. Me and my mom would throw down, gloves off. We’ve fought til we were both red in the face, slammed doors, stared each other down, and then I realized… I was the one with the problem and I needed to change.
Each door I had slammed over the course of my life had to be pried open, and I had to face the reality of the damage I had done. I had to change. We both did. And now I’m best friends with one of the bravest women I’ve ever known.
My dad. The surgeon. The man who taught me how to ride a bike, was with me every moment of the way during cancer treatments, the man who worked to pay for new clothes, cars, college, medical school, Master’s programs. The man who I never knew quite how to talk to about things other than money and his practice.
The man who did everything for his family with stoic diligence, and never asked for, or got, any thanks. None. He went to work, the bills were paid, he showed up to to teacher nights, helped us with our math homework, and went to bed for over 25 years, until I finally realized that in any other context… this wouldn’t fly. I was taking advantage of one of the best relationships that had literally been handed to me since birth.
Well… a few years ago (27 years too late), even though it felt weird and strange, I sat down at the breakfast table and I thanked him. And I told him that I loved him. And then I waited.
He put down his Wall Street Journal for a second, looked at me, cleared his throat, and said: Would you like the other half of my English Muffin? (Baby steps. He’s never shared his English Muffins with anyone.)
With my brother:
We’ve overcome a lot, and he’s seen me put myself through a lot. Yes he’s married and has a kid, and yes people told me that things would change and he would be less able to “be there” for me. So I decided to try to be there for him whenever or wherever I could. I know, we are SO different, but it’s weird how as time goes on, I find myself really enjoying the time we get to spend together. I wish we did this earlier.
And yes, he’s a surgeon. Yeah, yeah. But, surgeon or not, he still signs all his emails to me with a, “meow,” so don’t look too impressed.
With my family:
My cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents…the army behind my back at every step I take.
It’s like whack-a-mole, really. I focus on one of them, and a million things pop up with the others. I’m not very good at it yet, but I think they know I’m trying. Trying.
I’m in a relationship with my friends:
My friends, my champions, the family we choose.
I worked hard for these friends. We fought with and fought for each other. From missed dinner dates, missed weddings and misunderstandings, we’ve survived it all.
In life when I’ve been a bit broken down, these people have stepped up and had my f*cking back. My friends are my magic mirror, they speak the truth and only the truth. They tell me they love me, they tell me they’re proud of me, and they tell me when to shut the hell up.
Im in a good relationship with my career:
They say you shouldn’t be married to your work. But I’m not sure I agree with that. If a marriage is supposed to be a commitment that both challenges and fulfills you, requires that you grow and evolve, develop compassion and patience, well then, consider me hitched.
Most importantly, I’m in a good relationship with myself:
And it was the hardest and most difficult relationship to build…ever.
I am not in a romantic relationship:
I don’t have a “love life” at the moment, but I have no shortage of love in my life. And if you think this is the “make or break” relationship…the ultimate void to fill, you have a little bit of growing up to do and some perspective to be gained.
This type of relationship is a piece of some people’s puzzle. They will find it when they find it, so leave them to their journey.
For some, it’s the whole picture entirely. Let them paint it with whoever they want… Even if its not the vision you have for their life.
And for other’s it is the icing on what is otherwise, a very very delicious cake. They could take it or leave it. We all need to accept that about one another.
Think about your definition of being in a relationship with someone:
If you have a relationship with a boyfriend/husband, fantastic!
Now start building those relationships with other people in your life. If you think about how rewarding it is to have a partner you can rely and depend on, think about if all of your relationships were like that? Why be defined by the one relationship you DO have in your life.
(If you’re one of those “my husband is my everything” people, that is amazing, and you are lucky to have one another…but you’re building a very pretty glass house on a quick sand pit…in a rock slide area…set on a fault line)
If you don’t have a relationship with a boyfriend/husband, fantastic!
Start building those relationships with other people you DO have in your life. Call your parents more, start “liking” your cousin’s or sibling’s facebook pages more…talk to that one person at the gym who always seemed nice…just do it, already! Why be defined by the one relationship you DONT have in your life?
(Truth bomb: Whether you have a boyfriend or not, if you have absolutely no acquaintances, friends, or family that you can reach out to…you’ve got a “you” problem…so start on the inside, girl)
And to everyone who is reading this and thinking, “I haven’t called my mom in months…it would be weird.” I have to say this: What the mother-loving-earth are you talking about!
It’s going to be weird? To call your mom? The woman who wiped your ass, showered you, and KEPT YOU ALIVE through infancy…it’s going to be weird to give her a phone call? What exactly do you think your mom is going to do if you call her for the first time in a long time? I’m going to take a wild guess…she’ll probably f*cking pick up the phone and want to talk to you. That’s what. If not…try your brother. And keep going down the list until you make contact with another human.
Think it’s weird to drop your dad a text message that says, “I love you?” Chug a few beers, send the text message, turn off your phone, put it under a couch cushion, and go to sleep. Just get it done!
Call to action:
Whether you have a boyfriend/husband or not, there are probably several people in your life that you don’t reach out to because you guys ‘just don’t have that type of relationship.’ Well…BUILD IT. You’re an adult now. Pick up the Lego Blocks of missed opportunities and build that bridge to someone, anyone, you want to care about.
That way, the next time someone asks you whether you’re in a relationship with someone or not, you may have more than one answer to give.
Oh and update: I sent this article to my family ahead of time, to make sure they were fine with me writing about them, and look what I got in my inbox…three years later. Baby steps.
Disclaimer: Do NOT call or get in touch with people who have severely hurt you, neglected, or abused you in the past: parents, siblings, boyfriend, friends etc. Some people don’t deserve to be in your life and this article is not a “sign” to call up someone who treated you like a door mat…In fact, if you still have their numbers, delete them right now
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