5 01 2015

I have just gone through – again – a round of “you’re out of my league” from someone I was casually dating.  It is a common enough metaphor out here in the cis-het dating world.  A number of otherwise apparently intelligent men still fall back on sports metaphors in trying to relate to women.  This woman is tired of it.

Men of the world, repeat with me: There are no leagues in relationships.

Are there things you don’t want to deal with? You bet.

Deal-breakers that maybe don’t make sense to other people? Absolutely.

Incompatible lifestyles? Of course.

Are there leagues?  NO.  THERE ARE NO LEAGUES.

I don’t have too many illusions (at least I hope I don’t) about myself.  I am not the Perfect Woman For Every Man.  For instance: a man who is looking for arm candy isn’t going to enjoy my company… and similarly, I have no interest in being in that kind of position, so no harm, no foul.  But I’ve spent over fifty years learning and doing things.  I have some accomplishments that are important.  Some skills that I’m proud of.  Nearly everyone does.  I am no different.

“You’re out of my league” sounds like a compliment, but it isn’t.  It is an invitation to diminish yourself so that the speaker can feel like more.  It’s the cue to say oh, that set of skills I have?  I just do the things I enjoy.  Or that advanced degree that I have that seems to be bugging you?  I just got that advanced degree because it seemed like a good idea at the time.  The job title that sounds bigger than yours?  Gosh, job titles can mean nearly anything.

Never mind the hours I’ve spent learning and working on those skills I enjoy.  Or the years spent immersed in study and writing.  Let’s not consider the amount of work it took for me to end up in a career area that still makes me happy.

I am all about the awareness of privilege.  I know that being a straight cisgendered white woman gives me some advantages.  But I also know that I didn’t just fall into my life, that I’ve done work along the way that I can be proud of.  And that I am a decent person worth knowing and spending time with.  And that those accomplishments that are putting me “out of your league” do nothing of the sort, and I am no longer going to make myself seem smaller so that someone else can feel bigger.

And I’m also done with explaining.  The next time I hear any permutation of “you’re out of my league,” I’m not going to waste my time with why that metaphor is patently ridiculous.

Instead, my answer will be only “Yes.  Yes I am.”  And that will be the end of it.


Moving on

25 03 2014

So I have this friend that I used to work with.  She’s spiritual and loving, probably more religious than I am, and full of positive energy.  A month or so ago she sent me a Facebook message that she had met the man who was going to be my next husband.  And she connected the two of us so that we could communicate, even though he was at least a thousand miles away.

Importantly, she hadn’t actually met him.  She had connected with him through LinkedIn and was coaching him on growing the business he was trying to start.  I didn’t know that at the time and I went ahead with learning about each other through writing and phone calls.

The first problems were technological.  He’d call me and I couldn’t hear a word he said because the connection was so bad. I wrote to him and he said he never got the emails.  I’d reply to his texts and he’d say he never got them.  We connected on Facebook and the next day all of his messages to me were labeled by Facebook as spam, so I severed that connection.  I knew he wasn’t a native English speaker, so I made some allowances for the language barrier… but that didn’t explain why his LinkedIn profile said he was Swedish, his Facebook profile said he was from New Mexico, and his first email to me said he was Mexican.    I started to suspect that he wasn’t living in the US as he claimed, because he seemed incapable of figuring out what time it was in Chicago, which should only have been an hour’s difference.

I started putting my phone on “do not disturb” at night, because otherwise I’d be awakened by incoming text messages all night, and never mind that I had told him that I get up before 5:00 in the morning to go to work.  I would get up in the morning to find a series of why-are-u-ignoring-me text messages (text-speak makes me break out in a rash).

I told him he needed to simmer down, that things take time – and as our first connection was March 7 (yes, that’s 18 days ago today) that it was perhaps rushing things a bit to be planning all of the things he was going to do around my house when we were finally together.  This morning he wanted to know when I’d be ready to “move on with a life partner”.

Yeah.  I finally cracked.

“Move on”.  Move on from what?  From the life I have now, with a pretty decent job?  From my chorus family that I’ve been singing with for over fifteen years?  From the family that I married, that I’m still strongly connected to over seven years after being widowed?  From my connections to my mother and my son, both of whom live only blocks from me?  What exactly am I supposed to be moving on from?

Oh, I know the answer.  I’m supposed to be moving on from the tragedy of being a single woman.  Because heaven knows there is no worse situation, no greater torture, than not being hetero-partnered.

I am not moving on from anything.  What I have isn’t perfect, but it has deep meaning and value all on its own and it is MINE.  What I have I built with a community of people who matter, people that I love.  I am profoundly connected to families of both blood and choice.  They are precious to me and I’m not moving on.

What I am moving on from is the patriarchal expectation that a woman’s worth depends on her relationship to a man, that her life is less valuable when she isn’t partnered.  And I am emphatically moving on from any connection to this needy leech of a man.  Whatever it is he’s looking for, I wish him the best of luck…but I’m not it.