Maybe you need to work on you…

In Encouragement, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on June 1, 2013 at 5:59 am

I HATE that advice.

But, I’ve received it numerous times.

Inevitably, there is a conversation that goes like this: “Are you married?” the person asks. “No, I’m not,” I reply. “Do you have children?” the person asks. “No, I don’t,” I reply. “Well, enjoy this time. Work on you, so you’ll be ready when that man comes along.”

Really? Work on me? I do recognize that this advice is well meant, and it is also often repeated. I’ve seen it in some form or another on Facebook, Twitter, and websites/blogs aimed at women. Work on me. Work on me. Perhaps I’m the only one annoyed by this trend, but I have a feeling that women far and wide have either embraced this advice or become tired of this advice.

Usually, this advice implicates one of a few areas in a woman’s life.

1. Work on your body. This one is the most annoying. First, do you actually want to date the jerk who isn’t dating you mostly because he doesn’t “like” your body? (Spoiler: No, you don’t.) Second, you should not actually believe that the only thing standing between you and that oft-sung endless love is ____ pounds or ____ inches. I do not mean to say that health is not an important consideration (notice, however, that “health” is not quite the implication of “working on your body”). To be even MORE frank, if the implication is that you need a certain type of body in order to have sex….well, biology sort of debunks that one, huh? People of all shapes and sizes are having sex everyday. Otherwise, the human race would probably die out.

2. Work on your domestic skills (learn to cook, learn to sew, etc.). Ok, ok, ok. I’m not about to go down the path of saying that a woman doesn’t need to learn how to handle domestic matters. If I want to eat, I better know how to cook. But….is the actual reason that I’m not married is  I’ve not learned how to make a chocolate layer cake? Will men flock to your door the minute you boil some corn on the cob? (Spoiler: No.)

3. Work on liking things that men like. Remember how I said that number 1 was the most annoying? I was wrong. My bad. THIS ONE is the most annoying. It’s sexist toward both men and women; it’s reductionist; and, it’s wrong. So, I should embrace just a general smattering of whatever I think men like? Beer? Football? Playboy? Twinkies? Leather wallets?

Think about this: if, for example, I decide to embrace Twinkies this means that I’ll buy Twinkies. I’ll keep Twinkies on hand. I’ll eat Twinkies. Never mind that I’m one of the few Americans who doesn’t actually like Twinkies (I know, right?). So, I meet Mr. Twinkie Lover–we’ll call him Twink. Me and Twink lock eyes on the snack aisle when we both reached for the  last package of our sacred snack on a Kroger shelf. We go out. We spend lots of time doing Twinkie-related things. We wear Twinkie shirts. Why not? We both love Twinkies, right? WRONG. Twink loves Twinkies. I’m putting on an act.

I sometimes wonder if a man in search of a relationship with a woman is given this same advice? Do people tell men to learn to like the things women like? Crocheting? Shemar Moore? Ryan Gosling? White Zinfadel? Lace underwear? How messed up is it to suppose that the one thing standing between you and all you need to get by is a stupid hobby? That’s pretty messed up.

I did, and do, need to work on me. Not in preparation for a relationship, but so that I could be a functioning and healthy member of society; so that I could live the life in front of me. That was becoming increasingly difficult, until I dealt with my trust issues, my spiritual issues, my anger issues, and my self-esteem issues. While whipping up a chocolate layer cake sounds TOTES fab, I don’t think the cake would have helped me with my trust issues. Maybe it would have helped the self-esteem, though.


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