The more settled and comfortable I’ve become in my feminist choice, the more frustrating I’ve found the dating scene. So, in the midst of it all, I made the conscious decision to opt out of dating for a while to avoid awkward conversations, debates and unsolicited advice from people who are convinced men don’t date ‘women like me’. After a while, it gets tiring to explain my position to people who choose to disrespect it, and It's not that I mind people critiquing feminism because they rightfully should be considering all its historical baggage. But having to constantly justify my point of view gets really exhausting so I just don’t, especially since the majority of the guys I’ve come across are convinced that I am using this as an excuse to be extra and unnecessary. I am sure ‘#NotAllMen’, but I will be lying if I say I’ve met a stream of men in the last few years who really get the whole feminist thing, I mean really get it and buy into it, not just pretend to just to get laid or give the impression of being ‘woke’. The woke once are especially quick to dismiss the feminist agenda because the race thing (being black and all) always comes first to gender issues.
All I am saying is that it’s hard enough to be a woman but identifying with the feminist and or womanist movements unleashes a whole other complication. I get that apparently, men can be feminist but for me, unless you’ve lived the tiring experience of being the mythical ‘difficult woman’, you can’t begin to understand what women go through. For me, the men can empathize and subsequently fight for women’s rights and issues, so an Allie (for lack of a better word). The reality is that the men that identify with the feminist movement get celebrated as the cream of the crop, meanwhile, the women get butchered for it. Being a feminist as a man is a nice to have, for me it’s a necessity. Being a feminist man most likely doesn’t drastically affect your dating life as much as it does for women in the same position. Feminist men don’t get accused of being men haters, but we do. Nobody accuses them of trying to be women just by virtue of standing up for women’s rights. But feminist women are called out all the time for ‘trying to be a man' just for refusing to be silenced and being rendered invisible by some men. So, I imagine a feminist man’s dating experience is quite different from mine, but I could be wrong.
Dating for me feels like a challenge I haven’t yet found my way around, and I will be the first to admit that I am an acquired taste and that’s ok. I generally don’t feel inclined to be seen as nice or likeable, so I have very few friends because I am not the easiest to get along with. I am set in my feminist ways, so I can’t be changed or ‘tamed’. I am done arguing and explaining to men who have no desire to hear nor understand where I am coming from. I am blunt, a little rough around the edges with a very strong and a little petty personality when the occasion requires it. I am very loud, a tad dramatic when a moment calls for diva tactics, and comfortable with my sexuality. I don’t care for gender roles and I am not afraid to call you out when you’re being an arse because I have no patience for your ego. I am very ambitious, don’t care about being liked so I wouldn’t do things to impress someone. I’ve been single long enough to be comfortable with my own company, so I am not too worried about being seen as ‘un-datable’. I have the makings of a perfect cat lady.
Although, like everyone else I have a desire for companionship, it needs to make sense in the context of the life that I live. I refuse to settle just because I am afraid of being lonely, the reality is people get lonely even in relationships so my ‘sacrifice’ will be worth nothing. I care very little for relationships that force me into a position where I am expected to compromise myself. I’ve lost count of the number of times men have asked ‘who hurt you’ when I introduce myself as feminist or refuse to accept bullshit. I would be rich if I received a pound each time some guy accuses me of being an angry black woman with daddy issues. I don’t care if some guy thinks I am uptight because I don’t think sexist or homophobic jokes are funny, it's not my provocative to be ‘one of the guys’ at the expense of the integrity of all women. I’ve reached that dangerous level of feminist where even female acquittances introduce me to their male friends as ‘Rebone the feminist’ as a precautionary tale (so they tread carefully in my presence).
It hasn’t occurred to me to worry that some men categories me as ‘a man-hating lesbian’ (apparently my short hair gives me away), in fact, I am offended that some men think calling me a lesbian is offensive. Besides, the reality is that if you are the kind of men who think that way, you’re automatically not my type. Dating as a feminist woman is have a guy say to you at a bar "I wouldn't offend your feminism by offering to buy you a drink" but proceed to violate and offend you in all the ways that live you scared. Borrowing the words of a foreign male acquittance, ‘the men in this country are shamelessly aggressive…’ He came to this conclusion a few days after landing in the country when he observed a pack of men aggressively try to pick a group of women sitting together, only to pursue another group of women sitting next to the group that rejected them. So, I have concluded that safer and healthier for me to keep and continue to pursue all the endless possibilities that feminism has opened for me, maybe along the way this dating thing will sort itself out. I don’t have it in me to betray a feminist way of life that has liberated me by giving me the courage and power to take back what I deserve instead of waiting to be given permission. The choices I make in my dating life must align with my feminist choice, or else I will be applying for misery.