I haven’t had a lot of boyfriends in my life; instead I’ve found myself in these ridiculous pseudo-relationships for one reason or another. In my younger years, this was often because I was too chicken (read: passive-aggressive) to ever initiate the DTR (Defining The Relationship) conversation, and lo & behold I ended up "hanging out" instead of "dating" some guys that I should have run far away from in the first place. (See also: innocence of youth, poor decision-making skills, attracted to douchebags.) And regardless of the status, official or otherwise, I’ve ended up dating people that weren’t overly complimentary. (Again, see above.) They weren’t really ever derogatory, but I’ve only recently realized that it’s been a LONG TIME since I’ve had someone in my life – besides my awesome and supportive lady friends – telling me that I looked nice. Sadder still, I only recently realized that this was completely unacceptable.
Now, that’s not to say I require or even need someone constantly blowing sunshine up my ass, but seriously, a little dose of sugar goes a long way, as long as it’s genuine. And in my last ‘engagement’ (or whatever you want to call it) I found myself at a party surrounded by people that were saying kind words about how I looked that evening, only to realize that the person I was involved with was silent. The proverbial warning bell started ringing as I thought back over the previous few months only to realize that he very rarely, if EVER, complimented me. I don’t need to be worshipped on a pedestal, but I – and I’d argue, like most women – want to feel cherished or special or even – dare I say it? – pretty. Liked. Appreciated. Wanted. I know that I do require more attention than most people, but his complete and utter inability (or reluctance) to pay me a compliment now and then made me feel like I either wasn’t worthy of it or that he actually DIDN’T find me attractive. I also realized that the person who *IS* most complimentary of me – and genuinely in his expressions – is a platonic male friend. And with this realization it was quite clear that things had to change.
I’ve talked to a lot of my lady friends about this, and they keep coming back to the fact that men just don’t court or woo women anymore. To this I call bullshit; they DO, but it’s us who often gives them the leeway to swagger in with a cocky "How YOU doin’?" and bypass all the formality of dating. I’m guilty of this myself, but am working on it; I think if we continue to settle for less, that’s exactly what we’re going to continue to get: the guy that stands aside at a party while everyone else is paying his gal a compliment and proceeds to pour himself a glass of wine, standing in silence. Honey, *you* can have him – I’ve realized that I want – deserve, need, and demand – better.