I enjoy dancing to 'Single Ladies' but not because I want a ring on it
I love dancing. I love Beyonce. So when 'Single Ladies' comes on at a wedding, guess what? I dance! I do the little knee bumps, the hair flips and most importantly, I do the recognizable hand motion.
As I’m dancing I can feel the stares. Not the stares of ‘Damn, that girl is hot.’ Stares of ‘Look, another girl desperate for a ring.’ But no, DJ Blow Horn Noise! That is not the case! That is not my story! Dancing is how I decompress. How I feel sexy. How I express myself. How I clear the weekly cobwebs that form in my brain. Dancing is how I’ve chosen to put my shit out there.
Women are really good at putting their shit out there. Whether alone or in groups, the attention and creativity women give to self-care is extremely beneficial to our sanities. Our dance parties, face mask nights and brunches may be brushed off as wastes of time or money but they are as self-cleansing as our beautiful vaginas.
Women want to be comfortable with themselves but we’ve also accepted there will be times we don’t. We can't always perform at our preferred 100%. It’s why singer/rapper Lizzo goes to therapy or cancels shows when she’s not taking care of herself. In our moments of doubt, we don’t judge ourselves for seeking reaffirming activities to make us feel better. “I say I love myself, and they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s so brave. She’s so political.’ For what? All I said is ‘I love myself, bitch!’” says Lizzo.
We don’t always need soul searching to be as mindful as meditation or as eye-opening (slash nauseous) as an ayahuasca retreat in the woods. If I feel like shit and deal with it by high-fiving myself, getting my nails done or bitching to my Uber driver, the benefits are the same, I feel better. I feel good as hell.
As my dating adventures continue, I’ve noticed a few of the men in my life, willingly sharing intimate details of their life in lengthy detail. I’ve also found these are the same men who aren’t willing to share a minute longer of their time and energy towards our relationship.
I’m not an idiot, I am very familiar with the ooey, gooey chemicals in our brains that spark after sex. Men (and especially women) will find themselves accidentally extra chatty post-coital. I know I’ve said a questionable thing or two. Did I really need to share the exact number of days we’ve known each other after we both came? Probably not.
But these admissions from my partners are different from the bonding, chemical reactions of sex. They aren’t meant to bring us closer together or to forge deep, meaningful connection, even by accident.
Imagine holding in your pee for months at a time and then finally finding a toilet. My ears are their toilet. Okay, perhaps a shitty metaphor (Somebody stop me!) but whereas we have spent our whole lives mastering a back and forth exchange throughout a variety of support systems, men seem to save it all up for that person they are currently connected to, no matter how ‘casual’.
Sex therapist Esther Perel said in a recent Glamour article, “The shame men deal with around their identity as a man, makes it harder for them to receive the support they need for positive interpersonal relationships.” One of her suggestions to help this problem is to create more spaces for men to connect, in particular, places that don’t involve competition. If spaces were created where men could share stories and not stats, overtime, it might become easier for them to show vulnerability in front of each other, an act which I think women excel.
Maybe being vulnerable isn’t so scary for us because we’re not saving it all up for one person. We share intimate details about ourselves to connect with others but also to connect with ourselves. We are consistently doing the work, consistently dancing to Beyonce, to Lizzo, to whatever makes ourselves feel and function better. If and when I do want ‘a ring on it’, my partner won’t be my entire support system. When my shit hits the fan, I’ll be asking more than one person to help clean up the mess. You in?
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