[I write these guidelines as a woman looking for love, unwilling to settle for less than that. This article is not really directed towards the casual dater, or for females who are looking to simply hook-up or just have a bit of fun. This post is written with the explicit goal of divine love and partnership in mind.]
This post was provoked by the buzzworthy New Yorker story “Cat Person,” written by Kristen Roupenian on December 4, 2017. As a follow-up to this explosive tale, The New Yorker released an interview with the writer “Kristen Roupenian on the Self-Deceptions of Dating,” by Deborah Treisman, shortly after. If you intend to read my post, you must first read “Cat Person,” and then read this follow-up article. They almost work together as a diptych, and you cannot experience one fully without the other. Roupenian’s articulation is powerful and her words are nauseatingly relatable. I felt ill after I read “Cat Person,” and coincidentally—actually, this goddess does not believe in coincidences, so let’s just say, cosmically—, the same evening, I went on a rare date (this goddess does not date very often) and experienced an overwhelming amount of harassment and disrespect from this non-god-like fellow.
Roupenian’s words bring up so many nuances and have opened up this jar of dating goop for a larger, broader, perhaps somewhat uglier, and more honest discussion about AY-THANG. Although as a goddess I try to remain sympathetic to the male party as well, I can only speak from the female perspective. Please do not mistake my heroine-focused tone for man-hating agendas. I love men. But I can only speak on what I have experienced as a female in the dating world, and accordingly offer the goddess solutions I have up my sleeve.
After reading Roupenian’s story, this image may gross you out. It grosses me out. Photograph by Elinor Carucci for The New Yorker
As I share the following guidelines for goddess dating, please know that these are standards I have developed over time, after experiencing lots of painful and humiliating dating and relationship scenarios with men—in many cases, the man was not to blame, and I was the person in the situation who had more of the growing up to do. Of course, there were also many situations where the man had an insane amount of growing up to do, and the only thing this goddess did wrong was to doubt herself and undermine her own feelings.
I will say that as women, as much as we have the right to point the finger at men, whenever we have been or have felt disrespected (or worse), we ultimately need to cultivate a stronger responsibility to ourselves and to each other. I believe we as women are so quick to discount our own—and even our fellow females’—feelings and reactions to men. Often, we relinquish our tender, delicate, and beautifully accurate red flag radar power to the man, without even realizing this unfortunately non-progressive tendency. Moving forward, all we can do is continue on our goddess paths, speaking our goddess truths, and taking deliberate and thoughtful goddess actions in every moment; and hope that some, many, or ideally all hurtful, un-checked, irresponsible, non-god-like attitudes transform into more god-like behaviors over time. The end goal is reached when a woman/goddess does not ever have to feel frightened, or ashamed, or less than, from any encounter she experiences with a man…ever.
In Treisman’s article—which you have hopefully read by now—I am moved by the truth of this:
“’Men are afraid women will laugh at them, women are afraid men will kill them’…talking about how the equivalent of a woman going on a date with a man would be a man going on a date with a half-bear, half-lion.”
Do men truly understand what it is like for a goddess to put her body—even if this body is fully clothed and in a public venue—in the presence of a man and trust that he will treat her with care, respect, and kindness at the very deepest level? Can men gauge how vulnerable we actually are in their presence? And do men—and women—actually realize how often women accommodate the man’s requests and preferences for fear of what might happen if we object? Will we receive verbal abuse in the form of insulting titles such as “high maintenance,” “bitch,” “prude,” or “slut?” I was once called “cranky” by two guys in a bar who wanted to buy my friend and I another drink, after we politely declined their offer. That incident was so overlooked, and I remember feeling so terribly un-likable that evening. But the problem was not my unwillingness to drink, but rather the attitude adopted by those two bar-hopping males, that because I was not giving them what they wanted, and doing it with a smile, I was the one with the problem. And sadly, I believed them at the time.
Worst of all, in the back of all females’ minds, we worry that if we somehow make a false move or two in the course of a date or a casual encounter with a male, that if we change our mind, or no longer feel comfortable or interested; we may receive not only verbal abuse, but physical and/or sexual abuse as well. How do we navigate finding a loving and honest partner, establishing a deep attraction, and a soulful connection with someone, when we are out on a date, concerned about these basic issues of safety and care? The sad truth is that many women are less concerned about their safety—not that women are not concerned, but we have learned that for us to be preoccupied with these needs makes us come across as “crankier” than other women, so we have instead adapted our needs to match what we think will make the man most happy and least potentially aggressive—and more interested in doing whatever it takes to make a man want to see her again. I understand the fear of rejection, but I would rather be cranky than raped. And even more frightening, some women express their “crankiness” and still get assualted or disrespected in some capacity—just to clarify, being called “cranky” from declining a drink is a mild form of disrespect, an attitude that is alarmingly insidious and ultimately the root of the entire problem. Unfortunately, there are women out there trying to assert themselves and still getting bulldozed.
The time has come for women to start expressing their truths to men, no matter what. If that makes us bitches, or annoying, or difficult, or unattractive, or whatever other horrid adjective we may have assigned to us, I am not very concerned about that. Because none of those adjectives are accurate. And I believe in a goddess’ worth. I believe in her tender heart and the gifts she has to offer the world. If those gifts are not cherished from the beginning of an encounter with a man, then this man does not deserve to be in a relationship with a goddess.
In terms of safety, goddesses need to cultivate their street smarts and learn to TRUST AND OBEY THE RADAR. We always know when something does not feel right. Women have this gift. It is built-in. To not use this radar would be like driving a brand new car in the dead of winter without turning on the heat and the defroster. We have this radar for a reason. It is our duty to utilize it. And when these icky feelings surface, we need to get better at removing ourselves from the situation as quickly as possible—while we are still in public. I know it can feel difficult to speak our truths in the face of potential insults, but truth expression keeps a goddess from harm. And the men worthy of our trust and love will be STOKED to see that we ask to be treated like the goddesses we are. I have yet to find a man like that, but I believe he exists—okay, maybe I have met a few men like this, and I should have appreciated them more…definitely a rookie mistake. Hopefully, the more goddess energy I spew at men, the more I am communicating to the Universe what I want and need. It is bound to come back to me eventually, like a goddess boomerang headed straight for my goddess heart.
I also think we attract what we believe. Perhaps I have always believed that this world is ultimately rather unsafe for females, so I have unknowingly attracted experiences to prove this belief. Perhaps there are women out there who have not been so traumatized. Or perhaps, it has just never occurred to them to label their experiences as traumatic and/or share them openly with anyone. I don’t know. Fortunately, I have never been physically or sexually assaulted by anyone—probably because I’m so cranky. However, my reasons for believing I am vulnerable and ultimately unsafe in the dating world, may stem from simple facts. Almost every woman in my family has been the victim of sexual assault and/or sexual abuse at some point in her life. One attacked by a stranger on the street, one gang-bang raped, one taken by a man in a closet at a party, one raped by her boyfriend of one year, one abused by a stranger as a child, and one assaulted by her husband after years of marriage. After hearing these tales, how can I venture out into the dating world as a carefree woman, willing to openly share my body and everything else with someone? I can’t. I am guarded and cautious, and I do believe it has helped to keep some of the riffraff at bay, even if many of those riffraff think I’m cranky.
As a super fan of stand-up comedy, I often reflect on my own life experiences in reference to comedic bits I have seen over the years. This particular bit by Chris D’Elia struck me when I first saw it, and has always stayed with me. In this moment, he is sincerely empathizing with the female species, and I find it reassuring and refreshing. I also think that his take on what it would be like to be a female, is much more progressive than even many females allow for themselves. Perhaps it is because he has the luxury of empathizing from a safe distance within his male body, without ever having to truly know what it is like to be vulnerably female—not his fault. But I believe his attitude is something women should consider adopting for themselves in a more open and deliberate way.
Please enjoy this short comedic bit before proceeding: https://vimeo.com/247602379
As you venture out into the dating world, keeping all of the above in mind, I now share with you some powerful and valuable guidelines to help get you into the goddess mind-set before you enter into your dating experience. I hope you find these guidelines helpful and I hope you dare to use them out in the field. If you are doing many or most of these things already, then I hope this post validates how far you have come. You are on the right track. Keep going!
WHAT TO WEAR
Dress for yourself and for how you want to feel on the date. Do not dress to try to impress your date or to try to make sure your date finds you attractive. If your date does not find you attractive when you are wearing something that you love to wear and that you feel good in, then a goddess has no apologizing to do, should feel proud and good that she stayed true to herself and expressed herself in the way that she wanted to, and needs to simply move on. Also, your date will absolutely find you attractive no matter what you wear, because after all, you are a goddess!
Honestly, I dress incredibly strategically for a first date, and my level of attractiveness is in the forefront of my mind, but not how you think. I never want to look mind-bogglingly hot on a first date. I never show a lot of skin or wear anything super feminine—okay, showing a lot of skin and dressing super feminine is not really my style anyway. I even often debate whether or not to wear make-up, because when I do, men tend to react in a super-charged kind of way. And I would rather them be as least distracted by my looks as possible, in the hopes that he might actually be interested in who I am and what I am saying, thinking, and feeling.
Dating is no longer—and never should have been—about making ourselves as gorgeous as possible to attract a man. That is an outdated, Aphrodisian mode of thinking. The modern-day goddess must instead channel her inner Artemis and make all of her decisions based on this archetype. If you are not familiar with Greek mythology, think: Aphrodite = Marilyn Monroe = seductress, ultra-feminine, receptive, romantic, beauty-focused, highly sexual VERSUS Artemis = Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games) = protective, independent, nurturing, free-spirited, chaste, healer. These are archetypical attributes and are not meant to be taken literally, but you get the idea. The shift from Aphrodite to Artemis in terms of dating is major. It has already taken place in the work world—and is still in progress of course—, but to bring Artemisian energy into the world of dating, sex, and men is a bit more revolutionary, yet something that I feel comfortable pioneering.
Artwork by mohtz of society6. Please note that Artemis pointing her arrow is not an angry “shoot your d-ck off” kind of energy, but more of a protective, focused, inner-strength kind of attitude. Don’t be scared, her heart is soft and pure. See, even I am conditioned to apologize for her power.
Express your dating preferences and desires honestly, clearly, unemotionally, and unapologetically. There is nothing wrong with letting your date know that you do not like something. You are allowed to have lots of different kinds of likes and dislikes. You can do no wrong here. You can still be casual and you can still go with the flow, while stating how you feel. A goddess does not need to demand or insist on her preferences. Simply stating them and observing how the other person responds to those preferences is all a goddess needs to worry about. Dating is all about gathering information about another person. If your date does not take your preferences, desires, and needs into consideration, then a goddess should move on.
If you struggle with expressing yourself in a healthy way—perhaps you never express how you really feel and/or who you really are; or perhaps you express yourself in a way that may be overbearing and off-putting to others—then it is worth taking a deeper look into the level of balance within your throat chakra. The throat chakra is the 5th chakra and is located in and around your neck area. This energetic chakra represents your creative flow and self-expression, and is a beautiful bridge that links your heart (4th chakra) with your mind (6th/7th chakras). If you have neck pains or problems in this area of your body, consider your ability to clearly express your heart feelings, and your true self, and open yourself to healing and balancing this chakra. Read more about expressing yourself and throat chakras here.
Blue is the color associated with the 5th/Throat Chakra. Image borrowed from here
Do not tell your whole life story or unload lots of deep and heavy details about yourself, until your date has earned your trust. You have many precious gifts to offer in the form of who you are, where you have come from, and what experiences you have had. You are a precious jewel and do not need to offer up your heart rubies and soul sapphires to anyone and everyone who crosses your path. Once your date has proven to be a respectful, trustworthy, and kind individual, then you can reveal the deeper parts of yourself when the time is right for the both of you, whenever it feels natural.
Rubies! Image borrowed from here
NIX ON THE ROMANCE
Keep the first date unromantic and casual. Our culture glorifies and glamorizes romance, but in reality, you are sitting across from a complete stranger whom you have just met. Romance is a force that is built on trust, love, and deep attraction. Two human beings paired together for a few hours do not have enough time to establish any of these attributes. Deep attraction is not to be confused by superficial attraction. Deep attraction encapsulates a person’s everything—mind, body, soul, personality, energy, and much more; and this attraction takes time to develop, as you learn new things about your date with each visit. A superficial attraction encapsulates just the shell. You might love what your date is wearing, your date’s body, and/or how your date looks in general, but those are just the exterior traits. If you do not want the world to judge you by your appearance alone, then you must be sure to not jump to any conclusions about your date, based on exterior facades—even if you love the look of the facade. Keep the romantic feelings at bay in the beginning. Otherwise, you run the risk of entering into a pattern of harboring romantic delusions and making false conclusions about a person.
Film still of Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction, 1987. For those of you who have never seen this movie, you should—because it’s insane! Moderate spoiler…it does not end well for Glenn Close’s romantically delusional character.
GO WITH THE CASH FLOW
This one is tricky and brings up lots of issues surrounding gender bias and feminist arguments, but I am only speaking from my experience. I have learned that it is best to come prepared to pay for whatever food/drink/ticket that is purchased on a date. Some women might think, “Yes of course I’m paying for myself!” Other women might resist this idea. I honestly still don’t know how I feel about this whole subject, so I take it case by case. I am not going to lie. I love when a man pays. Perhaps it is because I am thrifty and on a budget, and in my ultra-organized and anal-retentive Virgo mind, I think, “Awesome, that’s one less thing I have to budget for this week!” I also do feel somewhat cared for and protected when my date pays. It’s that primal chivalry thing that I still react to, and I do enjoy being treated in that way. However, I understand all of the strange issues it brings up. For instance, if he pays, am I now obligated to do something for him? Is that an unspoken contract that I am now breaking, if I allow him to pay but don’t kiss him goodnight? Or, what if I actually earn more money than he does? Then why is he the one expected to pay? I honestly don’t know.
I have had a man refuse up front and tell me before the date even began that he would not be paying for me. This was a fairly extreme case and he had some baggage of his own in terms of being used for his money in the past. I can sympathize. I have also had men refuse to let me pay. And I have had men who appreciate when I offer, sometimes taking me up on my offer, and sometimes not. These days, I think the general consensus is that it is nice to offer, and be genuinely prepared to whip out some cash without any bitterness or resentment or weirdness, but most men still feel as if they should pay. Whether or not they actually want to, I have no idea. Either way, in those awkward figuring-out-the-bill moments, just go with the flow, and don’t make a big deal one way or the other. It is honestly not a big deal and it is a strange thing for both people to navigate in this modern-day, equal-pay world. Once the date is over and you have retired to your HOBBIT NOOK for the evening, you can think further about how you actually feel about it, and approach the subject with thoughtful care, if you continue to date this person.
This is my final guideline, and I believe this is the most important. I have experienced feelings of threatened discomfort on almost every date I have ever been on. I used to think I was some kind of maladjusted, uptight prude. Now I know that I was and am an incredibly sensitive, empathic, intuitive goddess who feels all forms of misalignment, almost immediately and quite viscerally. It is not a pleasant feeling, and since I thankfully have a terrible poker face and am very poor at faking much of anything, as ashamed as I still sometimes feel, I almost always blurt out my feelings of discomfort to my date, in the moment.
At any point of the date, no matter what, if you begin to feel uncomfortable, tell your date immediately. Not only is this for your protection, but this is also a beautiful test to see how he responds to your assertive and vulnerable admittance. You permeate true goddess energy in these awkward and somewhat terrifying seconds of honesty, so do not doubt yourself. Be brave.
Every woman’s radar is different and there is no incorrect radar, as it is goddess-soul-specific, so go with your gut, even if your girlfriend thinks you’re a prude, or overreacting, or being silly. And then, get a new girlfriend who supports and validates your feelings.
Unfortunately, during my most recent disappointing date encounter with a non-god, I had to tell him repeatedly how uncomfortable he was making me, as he continued to shower me with aggressively sexual commentary. I had never met this man before and had known him for a span of about 45 minutes. In between his off-putting verbiage, he also proceeded to deceptively reassure me that my comfort level was his utmost concern. I was not harmed on this date, but I believe I may have been if I had continued to date this person. Also, that aggressive insistence and focus on sex in such an early stage of the date was a complete turn off for me, and rather frightening. At what point do the words “you are making me uncomfortable,” actually register with a man? And if these words do register, at what point does he actually believe me, or even care? My date never ceased his commentary and actually continued to sexually harass me via text, even after I arrived home safely. The strongest thought that has been circling through my mind has been, “Did he care about anything I had to say, or was he just thinking about my lips and other parts? Does he know I have a soul? Does he have a soul?” This may sound dramatic, but it is not. This kind of mental “drama” is not drama at all, but is in fact the very dialogue that we as women tend to negate within our own minds. This man was not behaving as if he had any interest in my soul whatsoever, even though he claimed to truly care, asking me thoughtful questions and responding appropriately. And when a man disregards the soul and expresses his preference for the body instead, it feels emotionally crippling and tragic to a tender goddess spirit—why would a man opt for one and not the other? If he would have treated me with gentlemanly respect, he could have had both, but instead he acted out of laziness, or horniness, or impatience, or heartlessness. Why are women so afraid to admit how much this hurts? If a man knew how much it hurts, would he perhaps rethink his actions? I am not a prude, or uptight, or difficult; I am just rather heart-broken and horrified by his lack of sensitivity.
To wrap up this rather long post, in conclusion, I will say that I do believe everything happens for a reason. I believe I was meant to read the New Yorker story on the same day as my date from hell, in order to spark this written expression that has been churning within me for several years—or perhaps even decades. I know not everyone may agree or relate to my angle of dating frustration horror. We are all on different paths and no one really knows what to do—that much I know.
My main focus as a goddess, is simply to gently alert other goddesses that I believe we have a sickness within our female species, and this sickness needs to be treated. Our ailment is that of self-neglect, self-deprecation, and low self-worth; and it is very serious indeed. What makes this illness so dangerous is the fact that I don’t think many of us even realize we carry around this affliction. I know I never realized this about myself, until I did. And now that I see all of the ways in which I abandoned myself within the dating world, year after year, I never want to do that again. It is as if I found a crying little girl in the middle of the street and scooped her up in my arms. And now that I have her in my arms, safe and sound, why would I choose to put her in harm’s way ever again? I suppose this journey is about reclaiming myself in some way. And I also suppose I must express my gratitude to all of the men I have ever had an experience with, because it has led me to this humble goddess existence.
From the bottom of my heart, and with true forgiveness and utter sincerity, I thank every man from my past. They have all moved my soul in some way and nudged me to where I now stand, in peace, in confidence, and basking in open-hearted love. I need no apologies from anyone, and offer my authentic apologies to those whom I have harmed.
I feel better.