Glass Slipper: I'm Just a Girl. Don't Be Scared. Don't Piss Me Off

So, Valentine’s day came and went. The flowers are wilting, the chocolates have been eaten and the cards are now being sold at half price. A friend of mind said that this particular “holiday” is nothing more than a capitalistic propaganda to boost consumer spending in this commercially driven world for at least a day. I have a tendency to agree to that. Most holidays are nothing more but old traditions being kept alive by merchants and media in order to get people to buy products that would otherwise be completely and utterly worthless in other times of the year.

Anyway, that’s not really my point. It’s the introduction to my “statement” towards the typical Pinoy and the atypical Filipina of my kind. You see, after 3 years of chaste and celibate living in UP ( Chaste is when you go without physical intimacy; Celibate is when you choose not commit to anyone. Bet you didn’t know that! ), I decided to go out and let myself be prosecuted on the altar of romance on no less than Valentine’s Day. And, needless to say, it was a bloody nightmare.

To elucidate on the external details of this mindless quest for a fleeting fairy tale, I would like to explain first that my former inactive social life is all due to choice . I’ve chosen to abstain from participating in the “meet market” for several reasons: a) I am independent , financially, emotionally, psychologically and mentally. b) I am wildly opinionated about various topics and I speak my mind. c) I am smart . I work hard at it. d) I am self-aware . Lastly, e) my last few encounters with men have been less than encouraging due to “insecurity issues”.

Now, you’re probably thinking that the “choice” part is bullshit and that I probably am some ghost-faced, bespectacled loud-mouthed girl with greasy hair, thick eyebrows and pine-tree looking legs who is bitter and shrewy and understandably detestable, but, seriously, that’s not true. I, actually, look fairly okay by normal human standards, which doesn’t in any way make my life easier.

I’ve been told, I’m downright intimidating . I am sure that many girls nowadays have found themselves in the same rut as I have-where you actually feel that being alone is better than having to settle, or (gasp!) change just to make a guy comfy around us. So, we choose to stay out of the rat race rather than have to waste our time with looking for the so-called Mr. Right and being repeatedly disappointed.

Unfortunately, the pressure of peers and elders alike pushed me to end my fast recently. You know how it is. Everyone tells you, " You’re a nice girl. Why aren’t you going out and meeting other nice boys? " Eventually, you hear it enough and think, " Yeah. Why don’t I? " and then proceed to, well, go out and meet.

So, I went out and met someone. He was smart. Book smart, probably even more. (I wouldn’t know, like I said, it wasn’t a very enlightening date.) He was also of above average height and kinda cute in a “tall, dark, cute” kinda way. An achiever. A nice guy and also very sweet . That last one is usually the clincher. People think sweet is the trick. It’s what trashy escapist romance novels are made off. Tough guys who are sweet. It’s all about sweet. So, I tried it. But, sweet doesn’t suit me. I tried curbing my tongue, I tried not to voice out my opinions, I tried to be agreeable, I tried to be a nice, sweet girl. But the real me I tried to hide, behind a sickeningly sweet smile, lashed out in my mind and I felt I was betraying myself. Pretending NEVER works. (Remember that.)

By the end of the evening, I was a mass of contradictions and my poor date was confused and downright bored. The latter part really got my goat. If I’m me, I’m entertaining but scary, if I’m not, I’m not scary but I’m boring! Argh. Maybe, he was expecting me to be different and I disappointed him, but he was at fault, too. Guys like to believe they’re in control and it irks them when they’re not. So the male machismo comes out and it can get really ugly. And, it did.

What went wrong? He had achievements, which paralleled mine. He’s smart, so he should be able to handle it. He’s not shorter than me. So why did I still feel that he felt intimidated? And then I realized, you wanna know what the problem is? It’s the fear of not knowing . People make too much of a big deal over a few things different about a girl. Like suddenly, she’s this mutant just because she has more on her mind than snagging the perfect boyfriend. When a girl succeeds in separating herself from the pack, by being unconventional and distinctive, the rest of the world doesn’t know how to deal with her. The rules don’t apply.

People so easily assume that when a girl is liberal and independent that she’s a bitch. That’s not fair. Strong-willed girls and independent thinkers, work really hard to be freed from the binding shackles of that WO syllable. They’re always watching themselves, making sure they don’t step on any toes or that they don’t undermine other people’s abilities, while trying to highlight their own.

Liberal doesn’t mean promiscuous or loose. It just means she’s willing to go beyond conventions and not have to be bothered with traditions and stifling “rules” that have existed for ages. She can talk about a number of things that any other girl probably would rather not discuss, but her morals are still in tact. Sure, girls who pursue independence, are go-getters. They’re not above asking a guy out themselves, if he’s worth it, but it doesn’t mean she should be treated any less respectfully. She has pride. She has self-worth. She still deserves the respect.

As a service to womankind, I though of a few things men ought to know. First of all, just because a girl has opinions and she presents them well doesn’t mean she can make conversation by herself. It takes two to tango, buster. The way it works is that both man and woman contribute to make sure that a discussion ensues. That’s how the getting-to-know-you process works.

Second of all, when someone asks you an honest question, you give an honest answer. Half-baked answers don’t hack it. Forget mystery. The thing with independent women is they like guys who are straightforward, because that’s how they are. They lay it all out there. Not to intimidate, but to define.

Third, don’t try to wow her with money or fame or whatever. She’s not so easily impressed by name-dropping or fancy gifts or you strutting your stuff. It’s what’s inside of you, what you can do, how you think, how you feel that matters. That’s what most girls are after. Even the girl who has everything going for her.

Next, don’t place her on a pedestal. If she wanted to be on a pedestal, she’d get one herself. It’s lonely up there. Why do you think she went out with you? She wants somebody who’ll treat her on the same level, as an equal.

Lastly, don’t think so much of yourself when she does come to you. When a girl who seems unreachable, reaches out to you. It means, she merely wants to get to know you. If you let your pride get in the way, you’ll burn her. Being treated like a prize is an insult. She isn’t a conquest you boast to your friends about. She isn’t a trinket on your arm. She wants to be seen as a person, beyond the curves and the curls.

There. That’s a couple of things men ought to know and women ought to be grateful for.

I should probably be jaded by my experience, but I’m not. I can sort of understand how it happened. I’m still hoping that someday I’ll get it right and whoever he is, he’ll get it right, too. To all the women out there who’ve made a choice to hold on to who they are, don’t be afraid. It’ll come. Our small world may not be ready for us yet, but someday, that part of our lives will bloom, when it’s ready to take the risks. If it doesn’t, there’s always the rest of the world. I heard independence is really big in America and that in Europe, it’s all the rage. Eventually, Pinoys will catch up. Believe you me.

And, there’s always other Valentine’s Days, for as long as capitalism lives on.

Choc is not real.

She’s a student, but she doesn’t always go to class.
She’s catholic, but doesn’t always go to church.
She’s a registered voter, but she doesn’t always vote.
She’s a girl, but… well…

Her hair glistens in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.
Her eyes are like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.
She is as tall as a five-foot, six-inch tree, only without the heels.

Her vocabulary can be as bad as, like, whatever. But, she likes using alot of other words because the ones she needs to express herself succinctly have not yet been invented.

And she doesn’t think every sentence has to end with a period