As I have spent the better part of this evening doing down the Taylor Swift rabbit hole in Youtube one of the many they have, not that I would know anything about being lost in the world of retro makeup or geeky desserts, I have come to the following question.
Are men taking their dating cues from T Swizzle?
I will qualify this by saying I will give a pass to any 14 year old and under who looks to her for dating advice because they're young enough that the swallow depth of her lyrics are not likely to cause to much trouble. Now for a 31 year old male.... I will give you that she is attractive (but she's also crazy); however, she is more, she also represents our cultural demand for a counterbalance to the "modern successful, even sexually forward" woman. She represents the cute woman more a girl than not yet a woman demographic. It is for this reason for Charlotte in Sex and the City or Jess in New Girl. She's often meek, often overly dream focused, flouncy and girly. She does not by her actions, words or carriage portray a deep held direction, conviction or even the ability to steer herself through life, she is at the behest of whatever male-force wind blows through her life. This concept shares similarities with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope which has been utilized in the art of covert misogyny in film. The issue is not that there are women who behave like Charlotte (most clips are NSFW so feel free to go down that rabbit hole on your own) or Jess but rather that these cinematic two dimensional characters are seen as normative rather than a masculine ideal. When women, are upheld to an idealized standard, one that in this case requires that they be emotionally, socially or even intellectually limited to be appealing, this is a problem (there is a growing degree of this occurring within women in regards to how they view men and that is not okay).
The problem manifests in dating, especially online dating as the double C's, the cute and cookie-cutter.
I am not cute.
I might have moments that are cute or silly or even truthfully juvenile, but it is not my desire nor is it appealing to be classified as cute. However, as this one profile notes, "appreciates the differences between genders and attempts to understand the mind of a man...reflective/quiet personality...little financial debt, and I got to say... oh so very cute."* First off, I love ellipses but maybe consider some of the other grammatical devices available, like say a sentence. On the idea of cute. Puppies are cute, bunnies are cute, even sometimes small humans (ie. children) are cute. Is an adult woman? Well maybe before I wrestle with that one, what is or more so what does it mean to be cute in this context? Cute in this case exposes two underlying actions/thoughts. Cute is not sexual, as a good evangelical woman she would not in any way be sexual because that would imply that she's either not modest, holy or even more horrifying that she may want sex and thus pursue, even more horrible initiate, said action with her husband. It also suggests malleability, as the second C in the double C's is cookie cutter. Yes, often that phrase implies pre-arranged, pre-packaged two dimensional persons but it also holds with it the desire to have someone moulded to that exact shape and specification that works for you.
So with that in mind I do not want to be cute. I am me, just me. I am a whole person, full of quirks and awesomeness and all that stuff in between.
But that being said I have a confession to make.
I know that somewhere in the evangelical dating curriculum that went out and around almost two decades ago and the time that followed that there was this idea that if we complied this perfect list we would not have superfluous dating relationships as we already knew what we wanted. For the record my list was HUGE. I could have and I would have gone all Frankenstein in that moment. Since then? I tossed the list and got a really simple one. I'll know. I will spend time with people who interest me, men I have chemistry with and that combined with what I know of myself and what I need, it will all pan out, maybe, somehow, or not. But that's the issue in the cute and the cookie cutter. It isn't about the learning. Life, never mind love, is not about a list or a pre-determined shape I want to fit my life or a flavour I like best (apricot rugelach) it is about change, growth, definitions and redefinition. And that process has never and will never be cute, even for the small humans change is not cute, it's hard, but it can also be beautiful, fierce and fragile. That is what I want. That is what I want to be wanted for the beauty, the ferocity and the fragility that is life lived honest and whole hearted.
*per the fine print, this quote is word for word, a typos and ellipses are the individual's, in this case italics and bold are mine for emphasis.