What I Learned From Watching “He’s Just Not That Into You”

What I Learned From Watching “He’s Just Not That Into You”
For anyone who hasn’t seen this movie, particularly single woman, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is an absolute pearl of wisdom for those dating and/or looking for love because of its complete, brutal honesty. Like millions of girls in the western (and probably eastern to be quite frank) hemisphere, when a boy told me I was ugly in first grade, my mom gave me the common plight of “That boy did that because he likes you.” I have said, and will continue to unapologetically say, that I was bullied all throughout my childhood. Guy magnet? Not exactly. I sometimes joke that I am the anti-dream girl, anti-wife material and proud to be. As a feminist, I milk this identity like crazy but there is also a layer of sadness underneath that which I will not admit to anyone, much less myself. I think, on a subconscious level, part of my desire to be an actress, even now, is on the off chance that I will end up on the cover of GQ with a gaggle of attractive men either holding me up or staring at me longingly as a sort of “gotcha” moment of underdog’s revenge.
My practical mind recognizes that for a plethora of reasons the likelihood of this ever actually happen is exceedingly slim. But nonetheless wishful thinking prevails, and it inadvertently affects my dating life (fun! Not). I have frequently been guilty of misinterpreting signals from guys. For example, one time there was a guy that I was in a play with in high school. He facebook messaged me, rather out of the blue, the summer before I went to college, and asked me to come see him in his show. In retrospect, I should have known based on the tone of the message that he was just trying to advertise his show, but being the person I am, I got excited, thinking maybe he wanted something more from our relationship as castmates in a high school play where he told me that I was “just like the real life Cinderella and one day would have some prince Charming to come and sweep me off my feet.” Therefore, in my mind him inviting me to see him in a show in a downtown hipster space was his version of a clumsy flirt. (Protip: there really is no such thing. As annoyingly hetero normative as it sounds, I have found it exceedingly rare for a guy to not make clear his intentions if he truly is interested in dating a woman.  Ironically enough, thanks to the wonderful world of online dating, I have actually become quite quite confident in my ability to attract members of the opposite sex, and don’t really need validation in that area. What I need is reassurance that I’m worth a guy’s time and attention, not just a nice piece of ass.
But beyond misreading signals, I spent basically all of my grade school experience feeling essentially invisible in that capacity, so even while lots of men tell me I’m attractive, I sometimes dismiss them as simply being un shallow and having low physical standards of attractiveness. When I was in middle school, I had a crazy crush on someone (he knows who he is) who was, of course, far too popular and athletic and good looking for me. Or so my middle school mind thought. Dating can be so tricky for women, because no one wants to feel like a helpless damsel in distress, but on the other hand, it is rare that a man will not make the first move simply due to cultural assumptions. However, I have often been guilty of making excuses for guys failing to live to up to basic standards of human decency in relationships. For example, my freshman year, a dude who many say was borderline sociopathic drunk messaged me and told me how much he liked me, and I came this close to having sex with him. The next day, he pretended like nothing had happened. That was my first experience feeling cheap and used.
Before this piece takes a truly distressing turn, let me preface this by saying that this isn’t mean to be a sob story or some sort of Ballad of L.C.Aiken’s Dating Life. But if the shoe fits….

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