Over the years, I have talked a lot about dating with my straight female friends. The topic of romantic relationships always comes up: who we’ve been sleeping with, whether we’re in a relationship or not, and what our friends recommend we should do. Asking our friends for boy advice might seem like harmless fun. But in actuality, it is very problematic.
Firstly, when we constantly talk about dating, it reinforces the idea that we need men to save us. We might consider ourselves to be independent women, but these conversations with our friends say otherwise. My friends and I talk about dating more often than our careers or our health. This plays into the societal idea that whatever men are doing is more important than what we are doing. We’re putting men on a pedestal as the central focus of our lives, and this needs to change.
Our romantic relationships are only a small aspect of who we are. And yet, a guy we’ve only been on a couple of dates suddenly will suck all our attention and energy. The more issues a guy has, the more there is to analyze about him. Broadly, I classify this type of guy as “a garbage human being”. I’ve gotten particularly tired of conversations about dating when it’s clear that this dude, whoever he is, is just garbage. “Maybe he didn’t text me back because he’s shy, and he is so off the grid saving the world from climate change that he’s forgotten how to type.” No. Let’s stop making up excuses for his poor behavior. He’s not committed to you. He’s not texting back, asking to see you, or thinking anyone but himself. And he is wasting so much of your time. Deep down, you know that you have no future with him. Your friends know it too. But they’re just too nice to tell you, because they don’t want to let you down.
Instead of talking about dating, we could be focusing on challenging and interesting subjects with our friends, like personal finances. Many girls I meet, through no fault of their own, know nothing about money. How are we supposed to be independent if we don’t know how to invest in the stock market? The more we focus on our relationships with men, the more we’re subconsciously saying that finding a husband is our main financial strategy. In that case, once we do have a boyfriend, we’ll know more about our boyfriend’s coworkers than about our own promotion cycle or how to negotiate a raise. If we talked more about money, not boys, we’d be richer and better for it.
Instead of talking about dating, we could also talk more sexuality, sexual pleasure and birth control. For me, birth control has come up more in conversation in recent years, but somehow, we always scurry around the topic of sexual pleasure. It would be great if, in the same way that our friends vouch for us in our relationships, they could vouch for our exploration of our own bodies. How did you figure out what you want in bed, and then convince your partner to do it for you? How do you make yourself orgasm? Instead of idolizing some garbage man, we could be empowering each other and closing the pleasure gap.
Lastly, if you do find yourself wanting to talk about a romantic relationship a lot with your friends, you should take it as a sign that this guy is not right for you. The annoying truth about a normal, loving relationship is that it happens spontaneously and naturally. Everything about it is easy, so there is nothing to analyze. Rather than overanalyze a problematic relationship to death, take it as a sign that you’re not supposed to be together, and move on.
At the end of the day, we are all smart people: we have a vagina and we also have a brain. But by constantly talking about men, we are telling the world that we need saving, which is not true. So, next time you are in a conversation with your female friends, pay attention to how much time you talk about dating compared to other topics, and see if you can steer the conversation towards personal finances or sexuality instead.