Her? Really? I thought to myself for what must have been the fifth time that night. I couldn’t seem to understand why the guy I had been eyeing for the past hour or so seemed to be fixated on this girl, who, by the way, was a little more than buzzed and dressed as though her only goal was to expose her physical femininity. Moments like these were not unusual anymore; in my almost year and a half in college, I realized that there was a certain girl most guys seemed to look for at parties; and it was a type I was unwilling to conform to. I have spent countless mornings after nights out on the phone with my mom, inquisitive over the same damn question: What is it about these girls?
I didn’t understand the allure of flirting with someone who wouldn’t remember it the next morning and initiating conversation that—let’s be real—would have zero substance. And I knew how most of these interactions ended: girl goes home with said guy, the couple will either a) hookup or b) fall fast asleep. I knew neither of these options appealed to me, yet I couldn’t stop the pang of jealousy that would jolt in my chest anytime I watched the charming guy go off with the less than pleasant girl. And then, one night, as the same routine unfolded before my eyes, it clicked.
As women, there is a certain guy we imagine ourselves taking home to meet our parents. I always envision that the man who will be embraced in a welcoming hug by my mother and receive the firmest-hurt-my-daughter-and-I’ll-kill-you handshake by my father will be handsome, charming, intelligent, and respectful. He will be someone I absolutely adore and am proud to show off. But guys, too, have standards and there is a clear division between the girl someone takes home for the night and the woman he brings home to mom. And that woman—the one who doesn’t agree to go home with the first guy to compliment her or bares more skin than clothes—is the type of woman we all should aspire to be.
In a college culture where One Night Stands and the Walk of Shame are social norms, it seems as though many of us lost sight of what love and respect from a romantic counterpart actually are. Somewhere along the road, women began placing their self-worth in the hands of men. We are so tangled in this web of insecurity, interwoven with uncertainty and self-doubt, that it seems as though there is no way to be set free. I will never forget the day I overheard two girls talking. The petite blonde said to the slim brunette, “I don’t get it… Things were going so well and out of nowhere, he stopped snapping me back.” This was weeks ago yet my eyes are still somewhere in the back of my head, unwilling to accept that this is the world I will grow to love in. So to the girl who feels worthless because he never reciprocated the way you wanted or didn’t return the phone call, you need to realize that his absence was a blessing in disguise. A teacher once told me, “People’s rejection is God’s protection”; and regardless of your religious stance, listen to those words and allow your heart to absorb them.
Be the girl who refuses to settle for anything less than she deserves; be the woman who knows what she wants, not just romantically but in all aspects of life; remind yourself constantly of your self-worth; love who you are and know damn well that you are a gift to all who know you. And above all, be the girl he brings home to meet mom, not the one only his roommates know.
These views expressed are that of the writer and not of the chapter as a whole.
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