why everyone should have dates with themselves

i have a confession. i’m a fair weather feminist. i like to pretend that the term third wave actually means that i can interpret feminism however i want to. that
i can forgo independence, reproductive choice and egalitarian
relationships when a certain mood strikes me. and that certain mood is
loneliness. or rather, a fear of loneliness.

you see, i think that despite the best efforts of the women i’m proud to call my heroes–alice paul, eve ensler, gloria steinem, mary wollstonecraft, virginia woolf, adrienne rich and naomi wolf–women
are still taught to be afraid of ending up alone. well-meaning aunts
and grandmothers point to women who have remained single and then tell
you what there flaws are:

she was too focused on her career. she wouldn’t have
children. she was too independent. she didn’t know how to play the
game. she wore her heart on her sleeve. she never got over a broken
heart. she wasn’t feminine enough, boys don’t like that. she was too
smart. she didn’t need anybody. she wouldn’t let herself be vulnerable.
she has daddy issues. her parents got divorced.

really, the list goes on and on. some of them i’ve heard from my own
family. some i’ve heard from guys i’ve dated. “ellen, you don’t need
me…you don’t need anyone” or “you are too independent” or “what do you
mean you wouldn’t change your last name if we got married” or “do you
always have to win” or “you really wouldn’t give up a career to stay
home with your children?”

these are the questions that, on occasion, keep me up at night.


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