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Monday, November 7, 2011

Fairytales are SO "once upon a time"

What I want to say to women is this: it’s time to claim your slice of the cake when it comes to romantic relationships.
And the guest post saga continues, with dear friend of the blog "Fluffy". If this goes on I might never have to write again.. Enjoy !
I've been wanting to write a "relationship column" for Life with Subtitles for quite a while.
What pushed me to do it now is that I recently got engaged, and since it's a little thanks to Fadi, I think I owe him one.

About a year ago, on a lonely winter's day (cue in violins), I was chatting with our dear Geeky Pants (Fadi's note: that would be me), and telling him that I was sick of dating and train-wreck relationships. After all the hardships, it was time for my happy-end (not THAT kind of happy-end, you pervs.) I told him that I longed for the day Prince Charming would come on his white stallion, fall in desperate love with me and ask me to marry him. And Fadi said "why don't YOU propose to him?" People, my mind was boggled. What do you mean, "propose to him". What kind of a fairytale is this! And he said that if I loved a guy enough to want to marry him, it wouldn't be any less romantic if I popped the question, and the end-result would be the same anyways (given that this is what the guy wants as well).

I kept this piece of advice in the back of my head, but after years of brainwash by sappy romantic comedies and Disney cartoons, the idea wasn't quite sitting well with me.

And then, I met him. I will not go too much into details, but I'll just say that it was a fairytale from the start. Just not the kind you'd imagine. In this tale, you make friends with the trolls, the princess wears a leather jacket and army boots, and the prince doesn't have a white horse but a cat that he takes for walks in the neighborhood. There is no dragon to slay because if we did bump into a dragon, we'd think it's pretty awesome, share our poutine with him, pet him and call him Rapunzel just for shits and giggles.

And I knew it was “him”. I proposed, and he said yes. And since then I've been thinking of how much of a feminist act that was.

See, when I watch movies, or hear girls talking about their boyfriends, it always feels like they're scared shitless of "scaring him away". "Scaring him away" means expressing your true emotions to someone who is not ready to receive them. That, to me, is wrong on quite a few levels. First of all, it means that you're willing to be with someone who's probably not reciprocating your feelings, and that's always painful - and relationships, despite what you read in teenage literature, hear in all the songs on the radio and see in movies, are actually supposed to be pleasant, at least most of the time. Second, it means that there is a power struggle going on, where you're feeling vulnerable and trying not to let the other person take advantage or hurt you, and relationships shouldn't be power struggles. Third, waiting for the other person to express their love (be it by saying the dreaded L word or by proposing) means that you're allowing them to leave you hanging until they make up their mind as to how they truly feel for you, while you've already made up yours a while ago. And usually, from my experience at least, it's always the girls who are left hanging, because they allow guys to take their sweet time when it comes to commitment. Yes, they enable that behavior, by not coming up to their man and saying "I love you", straight up, and assuming the consequences if he doesn't feel that way, and by handling him like he's going to break under the weight of these 3 words. If you can’t express your feelings to someone who’s potentially going to be your companion for life, then who can you express them to? Why is it that we feel safe talking openly to our friends, but not to the person who shares our intimacy?

Another point I would like to bring up, and I feel that I must since we live in Macho-land: guys, if your girl proposes to you, it won’t make you less of a man. I like to believe that in the 21st century, in a civilized country * cough, choke *, we’re moving past gender roles. We can be fully man and fully woman without having to submit to stereotypes. In fact, we are more man and more woman when we don’t let age-old precepts define us. What defines us is our confidence in our identity, which is left unshaken by unconventional behaviors.

What I want to say to women is this: it’s time to claim your slice of the cake when it comes to romantic relationships. You want romance? When’s the last time you got a flower to your man? (Shocker!) You want a ring on your finger? Go ahead and propose (and buy the goddamn ring. Despite those infamous commercials, jewelry isn’t “your right”). Why wait around for him to take the initiative? I’ve often heard “but he has to work for it!” and that makes me facepalm (yes, it is a verb). If you feel that someone has to “work” to be with you, like you’re an art object sitting in a gallery waiting for the person who’ll be able to take you home, then… something is off. Because as far as I’m concerned, a couple takes two people (or more, whatever rocks your boat), and you’re in it together. It’s about taking just as much as it is about giving. And if you feel that you’re not on the same page emotionally, it probably means that the communication got broken at some point, because you were both in the same relationship, you both lived the same things. So why do this to yourself?

“I don't need you to tell me I'm pretty
To make me feel beautiful
I don't need you to give me your strength
To make me feel I'm strong
I've got all of the strength that I need
Here inside my own two hands”

Natasha Thomas – I don’t need you to
(I tried to look for an empowering love song, but that’s apparently impossible to find. Subject for a future relationship column? )


Recommended media:
Tangled (Animated movie)
"I accept you as my equal … but nobody told me I'd have to cook” (An early post on Life with Subtitles)

[image credit]

comments

November 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM Anonymous

Haha, great post!

November 7, 2011 at 10:36 AM oxana

Gives me some inspiration! :)

November 7, 2011 at 10:43 AM ritakml

Fantastic piece! I have been waiting for this for a long time :) I remember the last time I got him a huge sunflower :) His family and him were overjoyed. I wasn't afraid. My feelings wanted out :) I don't see this as 'avant-guarde' nor courageous but the normal thing to do. I'm whole by myself, I have my 'strengths and weaknesses'. The idea is not to find someone who 'completes' you but to find someone with whom you feel like sharing everyting with, happiness and sorrow.. I see the couple as 2 independent persons who made the CHOICE of sharing.

I'm so happy that you popped the question :) It only shows that you are confident. And even if he turned the offer down, it's not the end of the world. At least you get to know where you are standing. There are no protocols in the matters of the hearts. I wish you all the happiness in the world. You make me feel proud!

November 7, 2011 at 6:33 PM Ask Fluffy

Rita: "The idea is not to find someone who 'completes' you but to find someone with whom you feel like sharing everyting with, happiness and sorrow.. I see the couple as 2 independent persons who made the CHOICE of sharing. "

Yes, exactly :) I'm glad you liked my article!

April 5, 2014 at 4:01 PM Haitham Jafar

Firstly, I`m not a perv :D
Secondly, this dates to 2011. Things have changed and a lot of you-people are popping the question, no worries :D

Seriously though, many thanks for the post especially for inserting some personal info throughout it.
"What defines us is our confidence in our identity, which is left unshaken by unconventional behaviors" - author KNOWN, it`s you and u R a confident person apparently, good on you! :)

I liked Ritakml`s comment and I do believe a loooooot of people share the same thoughts too.
It is all being honest actually and acting accordingly based on that.

Once again thanks for the post and may I say congratulations.
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* Thanks for teaching us a new verb
** you misspelled Rapunzel. According to our daughter it is ----> Repunnzel (plz don`t argue, plZzZz!)
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"Honey,, honeeeeeeeey... remind me when was the last time you got me a rose (any colour!) and invited me out for a fancy dinner"

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