“Did you intimidate him, Beth?” my friend asked in response to my recent grievances about a guy.
The question caught me off guard. Immediately my fingers violently tapped on the glass screen of my iPhone, firing back a response to defend myself. The question felt like a burning arrow aimed straight at my ego, roaring bright with intense red and orange flames.
“Wait, what? How is that a bad thing?” He asked, as if it was a shocker to him that I took it as such. I replied with something snarky, continuing to defend myself. “It’s not because you give him dirty looks. That isn’t intimidating,” he continued, “You’re very bubbly. Always have something to say. You’re witty and you’re driven. Not just looking to get laid. I don’t doubt you can be perceived as intimidating at a UMass bar.”
It took me a couple of minutes to decipher this statement, caught between avoiding the idea that maybe I am actually “intimidating,” and figuring out why guys may perceive me this way. I spend a large amount of time writing about the balance between showing interest and coming off as “crazy,” I have the “crazy” stigma down to a science. However, “intimidating” is something I have never been confronted with.
It reminds me of the word “feminist.” We support what it stands for, but too often we avoid labeling ourselves as such because of the stereotype that falls behind it. We focus our attention too often to the word itself rather than what it embodies. If you’re a feminist you hate men, if you’re a feminist you shave your head, if you’re a feminist you’re unapproachable. You don’t believe in equality, you believe in a woman-dominated society. Right?
If you’re intimidating, you’re a large, loud-mouthed, strong-opinionated, resting bitch-faced individual.
I’m 5 feet 6 six inches with a 4/6 figure. My eyes are various shades of greens and browns, only intense looking if you look at them in the right light. My fashion sense is anything but “edgy,” and I avoid trying to make a statement simply because I know I’d fail miserably if I tried. I don’t have any tattoos, and the most exciting my hair has ever been is when I ombre’d it using a $13 kit from Target. From the outside, nothing about me screams “intimidating.”
I haven’t always been confident in my abilities until I’ve more recently learned how to be. I don’t have quick temper, and I’ll probably run away if you try to start a fight with me. I don’t engage in intense political debates, or really any debates for that matter. I’m outgoing, but not confrontational. I’m friendly, but I wouldn’t consider myself outspoken. However, I’m confident in who I am and where I’d like to be. I’m driven, I have goals, and I’m probably not going to be your one night stand. Is that intimidating? I guess it depends on how you define it.
I have always tried to approach life with a positive outlook, I invest myself in relationships with people whom I care about and in conversations with people whom I find particularly enjoyable. I have experienced a lot in my short 21 years, which may contribute to my zest for life and my anticipation for an even better future. I’m open to conversations about pretty much anything with anyone, which might leave me vulnerable, but it also allows me to learn so much more about myself.
I vent about my various frustrations about guys on here, and tell me if I’m wrong (please), but I wouldn’t classify myself as “crazy.” I won’t continue to pursue you if you aren’t interested, I won’t follow you around like a puppy dog at the bar, and I won’t invest myself in any type of relationship with you if it leads me to question my sanity. Like I’ve said before, I have a long list of “Starbucks lovers,” some of whom disappointed me and some of whom changed my outlook on men all together. Maybe some did find me “intimidating,” I can’t be sure. Maybe I scare some people off when they click on my blog and read my posts. Or, maybe they know I won’t be used for sex within 3 minutes of conversation and that turns them away.
I’m at a pivotal, and perhaps the most thrilling, part of my life. The future doesn’t scare me, it excites me. Maybe my drive and certainty about who I am and what I want for myself is scary to some people, but perhaps I’ll just have to wait for someone who enjoys confidence rather than discrediting it.
Some people may read this post as pretentious, as a desperate attempt to place myself on a pedestal to give some tangible reasoning for why not everything works out the way I hope it will. “She’s just crazy,” you might be saying. However, we’re all some level of intimidating. We all know to some degree what we want and what we expect out of other people. We shouldn’t feel ashamed of the confidence and self-worth that we have worked so hard to attain. We should feel proud of our abilities, and proud to be called intimidating in a world full of male-dominance.
I’m not a large, loud-mouthed, strong-opinionated individual with a resting bitch face. In fact, I’m almost the complete opposite. And even if I was, so what? Stigmas create weakness, they strip the powerful meanings away from words and replace them with nothing more than something to look down upon. Intimidating doesn’t mean you’re a bitch. It doesn’t mean you’re a self-proclaimed know-it-all who has life all figured out. Intimidating is confidence. Intimidating is passion. Intimidating is knowing what you stand for and not wanting to settle for anything less.
…Or maybe I am just crazy. But people call Taylor Swift crazy, too, so I guess I’d be OK with sharing a characteristic with someone who gave meaning to my long list of Starbucks lovers.