Damn Right I’m Pretty

6 Oct

Last night I had an OKCupid date. It went… boring. He was quiet, I felt like I had to carry the conversation. He didn’t laugh, and when he did it was a snort that made me feel very self conscious. I hate when I feel like I’m the entertainment on a date. It stops being about us having a good time and makes me feel like I might as well be a belly dancer on a stage. More on that later.

I didn’t feel like it went well.

Ninety minutes into this lemon of a date he announced that he needed a cigarette, did I want to come with?

I was planning on engineering an escape so I said sure.

As we were standing outside and he was quietly smoking and I was talking about something unimportant but still charmingly amusing, I ran out of steam and let there be silence for a minute.

“Do you know you’re really pretty?”

Pause.

“Yes”

He did that snort thing again. I didn’t really mean for it to be a charming move, I meant for it to make him uncomfortable for asking such a dumb question.

“I mean, also ‘thanks’ I guess.”

He giggled about “I guess I did ask that in the form of a question” and I just sort of zoned out. His opinion doesn’t really matter to me.

It makes me mad that women aren’t supposed to know they’re pretty.

Like in that song.

You don’t know you’re beautiful,
Oh, oh,
That’s what makes you beautiful [x]

Well screw that.

Do I know I’m pretty?

I know that about half the guys I go out with give me some variation on that statement/question.

I know that my mom has been telling me since I was in high school that she had a better butt, but I have a better face.

I know that I get this message or a variation a few times a week:

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 1.11.23 PM

And I know that, despite all that, when you tell me I’m pretty, you want me to disagree with you, or be demurely grateful that you should say such a nice thing.

Pretty. What a dumb thing to compliment someone on. It’s like saying: “Well done growing that nose. It really sits on your face.” Uh, thanks? “Wow, your legs end up as feet at the bottom, you must have worked hard at that.” Well, no.

I know two facts about my face. One is that it’s on my head and the other is that your opinion about it doesn’t much matter to me. So why do you think that telling me I’m pretty is going to dissolve me into a puddle of goo?

And here’s the rub. It’s not actually about being pretty. I’m actually only about medium pretty. Not that I’d ever say that to this guy.

It’s that these guys want to be able to bestow prettiness on me, and then take it back whenever they feel like it (much like ‘cool’ or ‘not crazy’). That’s why I get so mad about it.

And that’s why when they ask me if I know I’m pretty or cool or smart or a good writer or whatever I say “YES.” Because I’m not waiting for anyone to grant it to me. It’s my mantle and I’m taking it. And if they don’t like it they can shove it.

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