I had strum up this idea 5 vodka sodas deep a night at the bar about a week after Thanksgiving.
Men are cancelled.
I had been “breadcrumbed” by a guy who had been chasing me for about a year, then got a fiancé, broke up with said fiancé, took me on a date where we got wine drunk and went home together. Let’s call him James.
I gushed over James. I hadn’t really given him a second thought before (partially because I was sort of dating the chef at the same spot we met), but I had always found him extremely attractive and charming. Part of me kept him in the back of my mind…what if?
So the story goes. We went on a lovely date (or so I thought). I wore a cute black jumpsuit and spent a little extra time on my make up. I had forgotten what it mean to be genuinely excited to go on a date. I had ended things with yet another toxic dude, and was ready for some normalcy in my life.
What happened next? Well, he texted me a little bit. Enough to keep me interested, but not as much as I wanted.
He breadcrumbed me.
Thanksgiving comes and goes and it must have been two months since we last spoke. “Hope you had a good Thanksgiving, Beth.”
I felt the blood rush to my head with a strange mix of excitement and fury. I screenshotted and sent to my guy friend who always tells me like it is. When it comes to guys, he keeps me grounded.
“He wants to keep you in his back pocket and know you’re an option to have sex with.” (hey, Noor, thanks for being the realest).
But, like, where we on the same date? What happened to the restaurants he wanted to try with me? The laughs, the emotional and physical connection? Did I make that up in my head?
4-5 vodka sodas later I finally admitted to myself, he’s just not that into you.
In my hangover state the next morning, I was fairly confident that men were ~cancelled~. What do I mean by that? Like, literally, men are cancelled. I made a promise to myself that I was giving up men for the time being. No more breadcrumbing, no more giving away my mental space to men to whom I am just an afterthought.
Men are cancelled.
When I made this claim, there was no real purpose behind it. It was more of a decision out of frustration towards James in addition to the exhausting dating life that was all too familiar.
It didn’t last.
Charlie was tall AF — which is obviously attractive in itself. He also had dog. Like, marry me. We had met on Tinder and he seemed super chill. We had only been talking for a few days and were in that *who’s gunna ask out who first*. My friend (hi Taylor) decided I should be bold and make the first move. What she sent was super bold and totally not my usual vibe, but it’s Tinder, whatever.
The next day he asks if I want to come down to Navy Yard for drinks on the water. Sounds fun! It’s hot as fuck that day, so I decide to go home and change before I Uber down.
In typical Beth fashion, I locked myself out. Welp, at least I was already wearing a cute outfit. I had sweat most of my make up off and was wearing a giant backpack — but what’s that saying? ~Take me as I am or watch me as I go~
I warn him of the sweaty, backpack situation — he laughs about it.
I walk into his gorgeous apartment, beautifully decorated with white accents and plants everywhere — I could’ve decorated it myself. We head down to Bluejacket for some beers and he asks if I want some cooking lessons. We had joked about how I’m embarrassingly bad in the kitchen. We head back and he cooks me dinner over a few vodka sodas.
The entire date was about 10 hours (!!). We had sex. It was nice.
That was it. Nothing more. Another, were we on the same date? scenario.
I’m not sure I was totally ready to go on a date with Travis, but I’m so happy I did. That same day, I had been sexually assaulted in broad daylight (read about that here, don’t really feel like rehashing this) and had a date planned for that evening — one that I had been excited for all week. I debated back and forth — can I handle a male stranger’s energy? Will I break down? Should I let this traumatizing event define my life today, or should I go do something that I genuinely want to do?
I decided on the latter — and didn’t regret it for a second.
Within the first ten minutes, he suggested what we should do on the second date.
Oh, you’re already planning on seeing me again? Pump the brakes. I joke. Internally, I already knew that I wanted to see him again too.
The date was fantastic — despite me accidentally spilling nachos on his lap. Neither one of us wanted the night to end, we bar hopped (at the time I wasn’t drinking but that impact anything) and tried to find a spot that would stay open, even for 15 more minutes.
I was off to Colombia the next week, but was fairly confident we’d pick right back up where we left off. Upon my return, the conversations lessened, eventually gravitating to solely Snapchat and a few late night texts with no real plans to see each other again.
I decided that I didn’t want a pen pal.
It becomes nothing.
Then there’s Phil. I met him on a random Tuesday night while bartending. Tuesdays are always slow as fuck, so when he strolled in with his five friends, they were the only ones that I had to converse with.
Phil was meh-attractive. Cute, but not hot. He seemed nice. Drunk as fuck, but nice. Even though he lives RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the bar I work at, I had never seen him before. The night goes on and I’m entertaining is friends — but they are also entertaining me. They order out six rounds of green tea shots and Phil is now blackout.
He makes a complete fool out of himself, but I have a feeling he’s into me.
The next couple of weeks, he makes it a point to come in 2-3 times a week. Bell’s Amber? I ask with a flirtatious tone. You know me too well.
Phil has a mediocre personality at best, but I pursue him — well, because, attention > no attention.
We meet up one night. Drunk as fuck. We have sex. Well, try to have sex. It’s pretty horrible actually. The next morning he offers breakfast. Sure.
Breakfast is fine. But even after, I still want his attention even though I shouldn’t. Like, why am I settling for mediocre?
He ghosts. I’m for whatever reason…like…sad? I see him a few weeks later at my bar. Hey Beth! So good to see you!
I go on a series of mediocre dates. One with a dude who used the word “faggot” and “gay” in the same sentence. Another who showed up in a wrinkled t-shirt and cargo shorts (I’m not superficial, but c’mon). I won’t waste my time explaining why these didn’t work.
But again, I’m frustrated.
I hadn’t seen my ex in well over a year. I was over it. Moved on. Although, I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about him — more times than I want to admit.
Oh, fuck. There he is. My knees go weak over his tattoos and his “don’t give a fuck” aesthetic. Do better, Beth.
He approaches me. I half-jokingly raise my hand and yell “SECURITY!” He laughs.
Fuck. I shouldn’t let this happen.
We catch up a little bit. I have no energy for animosity towards him. I let him talk about himself because that’s what he does best. The conversation isn’t’ horrible.
I’ve been thinking about you so much. I apologize for everything I’ve done to hurt you — but I will always regret not valuing you and your work. It honestly hurts me to see you on social media and realize what I could’ve had. A lot has changed over the past year, and I can now be that person for you.
He knows the right things to say. That was always the fight between us. He was God and I was nothing. He never gave me what I needed (which was very minimal) and never even tried to.
I try not to believe him, but it’s hard.
We *talk* for a few weeks until I realize that I had fallen into the trap. He consumes my mind again and distracts me from my goals.
He can’t give me what I need, nor does he try to.
James comes into my bar every so often. After about 4 gin & tonics, he asks me to “catch up.” This should be a HARD NO from me, dawg.
But instead, I get like, excited that he asked (?????). Even after he breadcrumbed me and pretended to care about something more than vagina without being openly honest about only caring about my vagina?
This hurts my soul. HE doesn’t hurt my soul — the fact that I still give a shit hurts my soul. Which brings me to my next point.
I’m a highly complicated canvas. I know this about myself. I feel all the feels and internalize them. I understand more about people than they think I do. I wouldn’t call myself naïve, despite my desperate attempts to make toxic relationships work. But, I like attention (mostly from men), and that impacts me a lot.
Since James, a lot of things have come to surface. I celebrate my independence and ~don’t need no man~ mentality, but on the other end of the spectrum, I feel like I do use men to validate myself.
I have a crippling fear of rejection — and when men “ghost” or “breadcrumb” it fucking hurts — even when I’m not interested. I fall into a viscous cycle of confidence downturning into major self esteem issues when men no longer show interest. And sometimes they are interested, and it’s the opposite issue. They can be perfectly nice people, but just not filling what I need. I then question if I need to manage my expectations while also not wanting to settle. It’s mentally exhausting.
I think most of you reading can relate. You get SO excited about a ~new guy~, you over analyze all texts and asking your friends for advice while trying to “play it cool.” This cycle goes on for a couple weeks, maybe you hook up, but you’re never truly satisfied– even if you convince yourself that you are. Eventually you grow tired of this cycle, unable to keep up and manage your own expectations while simultaneously not wanting to be labeled the “crazy girl.”
Then it just turns disappointing.
In short, men take up too much fucking space in my brain. Constantly.
I feel like I’ve re-entered this state of allowing men to control how I feel about myself. And honestly, I don’t blame the men. I don’t even know if I blame myself.
I’ve been writing a lot, trying to figure out what triggers my anxiety, and men ALWAYS make the list. How do I fix this?
Well, this may sound extreme, but I’ve decided to “cancel men.”
What do I mean by “cancel?” Simply put, I’m not going to pursue anyone or act on anyone who pursues me. No dating apps, no giving out my number, no dating, no sex.
I’m gunna date my fucking self — and be ok with that.
I do have a timeline on this “Men Are Cancelled” thing — set at 90 days, for now. It might be more, might be less. But I want to give myself enough time to start to be ok with being, well, me — regardless if I have a man in my life or not. This is not an attack at men (can we PLZ stop making everything about men!?!!?), it’s an introspective experiment, if you will.
This sounds extreme and sort of ridiculous, but I’ve realized that this important for me and my goals. I have priorities and at this point, finding a guy is not on the top of the list, yet, it might as well be because I freak the fuck out over them.
Call it a “cleanse?” Idk. I just need more brain space to plan my world takeover.
Thanks for reading.