For The Women Who Are Both Cynics And Romantics


This might shock you, but I’m a romantic at heart.

It’s not immediately obvious. I wear far too much black, and I tend to scrunch up my nose and look away at the mushy scenes in movies. Romance, as exemplified by Marianne Dashwood and Cathy Lindon, is not something I openly endorse or even like all that much. (Having said that, Colonel Brandon is bae.)

I do believe in love, though. I believe in being with someone that sees you as you are and doesn’t expect you to make yourself more palatable for their sake. I believe in being unapologetically you and growing together as partners. I believe in people having boundaries and still knowing each other better than anybody else in the world.

Clearly, that’s radical and I should not talk about it in public. Quick, deploy some snark to throw people off the trail!

Romantic girls get a lot of bad rap, although in all fairness all women do, just for different things. Pumpkin spice latte? Basic bitch. Short hair and androgynous aesthetic? Butch bitch. Wears pink and hearts unironically? Baby bitch. And, if you live in Williamsburg and use analogue to take pictures, you’re a pretentious bitch. There is no end of ways to call a woman a bitch, it’s just that every type goes through a moment when they are slightly more popular than the rest.

And so the Hunger Games continue.

Which sucks because being a romantic doesn’t mean you are weak or stupid or need help or expect men to do everything for you. I write my own checks. If I want something, I don’t hint and wheedle my partner for it — I save up and buy myself. I once put a piano bench together myself, using the wrong screwdriver. To my knowledge, that bench is still working fine. I lived in foreign countries by myself for years, somehow managing to stay alive and finish school. So yeah, I think I can do basic adulting just fine, thank you very much.

That doesn’t mean I don’t secretly appreciate girly things or romantic gestures. I would love to receive flowers. I can write letters for days, but I truly appreciate receiving one in return. I take joy in giving a meaningful present or message. And dancing! How I enjoy a good dance! Hell, I might even put on a skirt for the occasion.

Sorry. Breaking the snark habit is hard.

A cynical romantic is not an oxymoron — it’s a state I live in every day, so I get it, guys. It’s hard. We want to enjoy it, but we just can’t seem to. Signalling that we care, that we might genuinely harbor a belief (in… I don’t know, the better nature of our fellow humans, I guess) makes us seem weak, and we can’t have that. Better put on some spiky armor, load up the sarcasm cannon, and shoot down any detractors. The best defense is a well-mounted offense.

I hear you.

And hell, I won’t tell you to drop it to show your softer sides. I know how scary that is, how unsafe that can be. But let me say this: my life, my relationships, and my self-esteem got about a hundred times better once I admitted to myself what I actually wanted and started looking for it instead of  surrounding myself with cynicism and assholes.

Just a thought.