I was stressing out today about How I Handle Men.

I feel, and have felt for a while, like I’m really, really bad at dating. Like I’m bad at interacting with men. Like I’m a crazy person, when it comes to dealing with men.

But tonight, I talked to one of my amazing, strong, brilliant girlfriends, and she helped me realize something:

I’m not bad at handling men. Dating isn’t about handling someone, or playing a game – it’s, ultimately, about finding someone with whom your quirks mesh.

I was never the kind of girl who fantasized about her wedding, or getting married to her soulmate, or anything like that. I don’t even like white, poofy dresses. I have never in my life dreamed about wearing one. I have never planned out what dresses my bridesmaids will wear. Fuck, I don’t even want bridesmaids. I don’t even know if I want a fucking wedding. The only thing I care about is having a companion whose company I enjoy and who enjoys mine. Period.

But still, despite all that, the Cosmo culture of “HOW TO KEEP A MAN” has affected me. Most of the time, I like myself and I think I’m great. But when I date people, I lose all of that self-confidence and sense of self-worth and worry about how I am dealing with men, and if they think I’m crazy, and if I’m “doing it right.”

Some of that is because I have had bad experiences with men who were really bad to me, and made me feel bad about myself. But some of that is just straight up cultural conditioning. Women aren’t supposed to just be who they are – we have to play a part and manage ourselves to “find a man.” I should note that I’m not saying that men don’t deal with their own breed of expectations and misery in “finding a woman,” but, since I have only experienced the feminine perspective here, that’s what I’m writing about.

So, you know what? Fuck it. I’m done worrying about if I’m doing it right, or if I’m coming off as crazy, or whatever. I’m who I am. Sometimes I’m neurotic or anxious or obsessive or super excited about meeting someone I like. The right guy will like me, quirks and all. Or at least accept all of my crazy for what it is, and let it roll off his back. And – even more importantly – I judge myself too harshly. I’m not a fucking nutjob. I’m not a freak or a crazy person. I “handle” things better than I think, and, when I feel like I don’t, it’s probably just not a good fit. I’m learning.

A guy who I went on several dates with, but who is now just a friend, sent me a text the other day, after I complained to him that I was bad at dating:

“I don’t know, it seems like you over analyze (which of course everyone does sometimes) but I think you do it to the point of psyching yourself out. Just remember you’re fun and whip smart and cute and don’t overthink it.”

And he is fucking right. I am who I am, motherfuckers. I shouldn’t try to fit myself into an ideal that the theoretical guy will like. If it’s right, it will be right. So I’ll do me, and not worry as much about how I’m coming off. I’m coming off like Eliza. The end.

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