I was listening to the radio today. Which is something I rarely do anymore, as I tend to be more preoccupied with listening to an audio book, and as I was flipping through the channels I heard a Ryan Seacrest sound bite. He was talking to some lady (I didn’t catch who it was) and she was telling a story how she ended up not having a second date with a guy because he used a straw during their date. Seacrest was a little flabbergasted and said, “That seems like a stupid reason to not go out with someone.” (My sentiments exactly). And she “clarified” that it wasn’t exactly because he used a straw, but because he ordered a “specialty drink” and then sipped from the straw. It was like “nails on a chalkboard,” she said. Then she and Seacrest continued to tease this guy and all the ridiculous guys who order frozen beverages.
Clearly, this dude missed the Guy Commandment, “Man Shall Only Drink Beer.” It prefaces the commandments, “Man Shall Smash Beer Can on Forehead After Drinking.” And “Man Shall Scratch Belly and Belch When in the Company of Women.”
My first thought: “Dude, this guy lucked out.” Because, she sounds ridiculously shallow. You know what doesn’t make my list of things that are important in a significant other? Whether or not they prefer to drink their frozen beverages from a straw. Things that are important: Kindness, a Sense of Humor, Compassion, Empathy, A Sense of Adventure.
My second thought: If I HAD cared about something like that, I wouldn’t be married right now. Why? Because my husband drank a strawberry margarita on our first date. *GASP* “YOUR HUSBAND DRANK A FROZEN DRINK?!” Yes he did… and he still prefers frozen or fruity mixed drinks. How do I feel about that you ask?
If I HAD cared about my Daniel’s drink preference, what would I have missed out on? I wouldn’t have given him a chance. I wouldn’t have found out he is the kindest, most compassionate, intelligent, adventurous and amazing person I would ever meet. I wouldn’t have realized I would be walking away from the love of my life. In light of all that, straws and beverages don’t even rank anywhere on my list of things to care about.
This, however, raises the issue of gender norms and feminism. (HAHA! I totally took it there… snuck over into feminism territory when you weren’t looking.) Seriously though, when it’s an “issue” that a guy wants to have a “girlie” drink (why do we even call it that?! Most girls I know prefer whiskey.), or when Target feels the need to label their toy aisles with “building sets and GIRL’S building sets, or Black Widow is left out of the Avengers merch because ‘Boys don’t want to play with Girl toys’, or when calling someone a ‘girl’ or a ‘pussy’ is a slur, or when men get teased for showing their emotions, or crying, or cooking, or being a stay at home dad… then we have a problem. Feminism is just as helpful for Men as it is for Women, because it’s about not forcing people to play a role that they aren’t meant to play. Not every Man is a sex craving, Type A, Aggressive, Beer Chugging, Thick-Skulled Jock. Not every ‘GIRL’ (because we never really use the word WOMAN when speaking about women… ever catch that subtlety?) is a Pink Wearing, Romantic, Giggly, Math-Fearing, Video-Game Hating Bitch (got to love those woman-centric slurs, right?!). I felt awful just TYPING all of that… how gross and stereotypical all of that is!
But here’s my point. People get forced into a role, sometimes whether we realize it or not. What if that guy just has sensitive teeth? What if he’s allergic to beer? What if he REALLY just likes the taste of whatever he ordered and prefers straws? Props for ordering what he likes, instead of what he “should” have ordered. What if he hears that sound bite and realizes it was about him? What if he stops ordering that drink and gets what he things a date might expect him to order. It’s a small thing, but it’s a sad thing. Each small way we stop being ourselves to meet societal expectations is a way that we betray who we are. Each small thing we change because ‘that’s what’s accepted‘ leads to the next small thing we change. Each time we change to fit into a society whose views are outdated and ridiculous we allow those views to continue.
So… Props to straw guy standing up for his frozen specialty drink beliefs. Props for weeding out a date that was too shallow to see anything about him but his beverage preference. And Cheers to a society where everyone can order what they please, without being judged!
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