I watched the movie About Time recently which was mostly lovely and thoughtful except for that one little thing that continues to bug me: the main character tells his father he would like to use his time-travelling ability to “get a girlfriend”. Then, in a comedy of errors-type pseudo montage, he tries to woo his sister’s friend and fails. He cute-meets another woman later but through the magic of time travel, manages to undo the meeting and instead has to trick the woman into getting to know him in an alternate timeline.
Movie boys always be trickin’ girls into stuff. Movie girls always be fallin’ for it.
A man I know personally, although at this point I wish I did not, has been very public about his life goals this year, posting a list and real time updates on Facebook (this man posts a lot of things on Facebook. I may have mentioned him before. Unfavorably.) Among getting a new job, a functioning car, and meeting a particular weight is Getting a Girlfriend.
Psst, what he hasn’t posted is that he already got laid off from the new job which means he won’t be keeping that new car very long and if how he treats his “friends” is any indication, any woman willing to date him might not be willing for long either.
I was a Girlfriend once to a man who staked his self-esteem on such things. He felt that as long as he had this list of things, he was succeeding at life: job, car, apartment, girlfriend. Even when the relationship fizzled, long after all intimacy ended (ALL intimacy, like hugs and high-fives were more than we could handle), he refused to break up because in order to be ok, he had to be able to check off the things on his success list.
Little did I know (or care), he was using our failing relationship to woo another woman so as not to interrupt service in the transition from one girlfriend to the next.
And what are women for if not to give men a little more prestige? It was never about affection or attraction or emotional investment with these three (until perhaps the end of the movie) and it certainly wasn’t about the individual woman or her wants and needs. It’s just a goal for some men to aspire to, a trophy to put on the shelf, a item to mark off a list.
And it feels awful to be that woman, knowing that who you are doesn’t matter as long as you fill that role in that man’s life for however long he deems you worthy.
Girlfriends aren’t goals. Women are people. Why is this still an issue?