Kirsten is an LA-based writer, actor and all around slave to the entertainment industry. Most days she can be found drinking way too much coffee, playing one of three songs she knows on the ukulele, and genuinely over-thinking every interaction she has with every other human being she encounters. You can read more about her silly adventures on her blog (Love and ADD) or follow her on Twitter @KirstenKnisely.
I am easily won over with a mixtape.
While the more tangible mixtape of the 80s is relatively extinct, the concept behind it is alive and well. I’m referring to when you’re gifted a musical playlist by that special someone, filled with random pop-hits and – if you’re lucky – a promise that he’ll make love to you, like you want him to as this mix provides the soundtrack to your falling for one another. Better yet, for the communicatively challenged, the mixtape has been known to provide hints pertaining to your relationship; a sort of figurative progress report for your burgeoning young love.
“Why, yes, that’s correct: my magic number is like 1022, I think. I lost track a while ago,” Kirsten Knisely–outspoken 26 ¾ -year-old single white feminist, and author of her very own blog Love and ADD–said from the soapbox of her small apartment in the early hours of July 16. “I’m like a modern-day Carrie Bradshaw.”
This statement shocked the women of the Internet when it came in direct response and contradiction to sex expert Tracey Cox’s article, “No matter how many people you’ve slept with, it will always be too many’; Sex expert Tracey Cox on why women should NEVER reveal how many lovers they’ve had.”
I found myself in an interesting conversation about vaginas today.
Actually it wasn’t so much a conversation as it was a group of my PA brothers calling each other vaginas, giggling like schoolgirls and making lewd gestures with a cannoli. I’m the only sister in a PA family of ten on this particular job, and I think in that moment they forgot that I do, in fact, have a vagina.
On the flip side, it was in that moment that I was poignantly reminded that they all do, in fact, have penises. Penises intact, they were acting like Neanderthals. So just like the great Jane Goodall did before me, I took this opportunity to study their behavior.
In that 30-minute lunch break I learned that it was, alas, not a good thing to be a vagina and if your PA brother offers you a tampon–boy, did he get you. Every true dude in the vicinity will be [heartily] laughing at that one. But through careful observation and analysis, I discovered that this web of insults surrounding the female anatomy has far less to do with the actual vagina as it does the absence of the penis. The main message:
Have you noticed that men are always imploring one another to be Men? If you’re a Man you’re strong. If you’re a Man, you’re a provider. If you’re a Man, you don’t even need to take your pants off to pee. A prideful species indeed, men find it a great honor to be Men; and that pride has given them a vast amount of power in this world.
So, to my fellow vaginas out there, my message is as follows:
It all began when I was working as a barista in a small coffee shop, crafting lattes with care and laughing too hard at the dad-jokes my boss would use to induce the family-friendly-atmosphere Midwesterners crave. And, as is the plight of young female baristas everywhere, it was not a rare occurrence for a prowling bachelor to misconstrue my cheery [corporate-mandated] disposition as an invitation into my pants. In no other world could one so easily mistake “2% or skim?” for “your place or mine?”
You should know, dear reader, that I am not a young woman easily exploited. I have absolutely no problem telling a man that I am not interested in him romantically. Thanks a latte, but cappucci-NO, sir. I do not give my number to customers. And as awkward as these encounters could be, they were hardly any more than the occasional annoyance.
Until the day I met Jerry.
For a first date, the evening was moving along beautifully. Real casual: a slice of pizza and a movie. I had decided to wear my leather jacket over a light winter sweater, with a pair of chunky, librarianesque boot heels–because what’s sexier than a librarian from the wrong side of the tracks, ya feel me?
The dialogue was fantastic; we reminisced about growing up in the 90s, expressed our great obsession admiration for Jay-Z and Beyonce respectively, and all around just seemed to make each other laugh. Eventually we were discussing our professional aspirations, as you do on a first date, and he said one of the sexiest things I have heard in a great while:
I think my honest to god dream job is to find a sugah mama and be a stay at home dad.
I can’t tell you why this turned me on the way that it did, but the thought of this baby-faced 29 year old as Mister Mom with a burp cloth on his shoulder and a frying pan in his hand brought a smirk to my red-painted lips. He winked at me confidently and excused himself to the restroom. My left eyebrow arched inquisitively. He was playing to my career woman ego, and it was working.
I was in Barstow, CA on a commercial shoot that required the crew staying on site, overnight. It was the first time since I started work in the film industry back in June that I would be on set with my dad. I wanted to work hard, prove myself a kick @ss professional young woman, and bring great honor to my producer father.
But I also wanted to fit in and, you know, make new friends and stuff.
So when the coordinator on the job said the crew would be meeting for margaritas in the Barstow Motel bar, I feigned my concern about “drinking the night before an early call” for all of about a minute and a half before he “twisted my arm” into joining the party. I wore my super rad The Amazing Spider-Man sweatshirt, wide-framed geek glasses and had a small handful of party-time facial expressions on the ready. In short, I was feeling puh-retty fly.
And boy did this crew love to drink. It was on in the Barstow Motel bar.
I wasn’t surprised when my gal-pal told me her date with The Writer was textbook romance, breathtakingly lust-filled. He took her to all the best spots in LA. Wined and dined her. He kissed her in the rain, for goodness sake.
And then three or so days later, The Writer was struck with a brilliant idea that required him composing a short novel, disguised as a Facebook message, wherein I think he invited my gal-pal to visit him somewhere in Europe. He also said a bunch of other stuff. This was one of my favorite chunks:
“I really enjoyed my time with you. It was a small sample size, but I feel rather confident in saying that you’re unique. I’m normally a philanderer (*this is a fancy word for “womanizer”), and don’t put much care into the long term pursuit of a woman. There are two reasons for this. A) great men in history and fiction tend to be free and independent. B) American women tend to bore the very core of my soul. [...] I can’t even be bothered to chase my liquor. So I can’t very well be bothered to chase women. So I’m not asking you to come. I’m telling you.”
12 lengthy paragraphs filled with a bunch of other stuff just like that. Misogyny, wrapped in pretension, all intended to make the lady swoon. How lucky was she to have caught his eye.
I am a recently single 20-something female. The dating world, as my coupled-up girlfriends like to remind me, is my oyster.
Picture this: a naturally beautiful type glides into a bar, tosses her sweetly auburn hair and smiles–disarming every man in the joint long enough for her to bat her eyelashes and ask for a drink. She’s offered more than she can count, and so she spends the evening giggling and discussing post-Modern literature; nursing her cocktail and delicately swiveling on her bar stool. She’s powerful, and so she has her pick.
I am definitely not that girl.
Instead, picture this: a girl with chronic b*tch face stands with her arms crossed, refusing to let loose and ride the mechanical bull with her girlfriends (because, of course, overtly sexual behavior gives her anxiety). A man approaches her and says, “hey there, sweetheart, can I buy you a–” Before he has time to finish, she spins to face him, batting his hand off her shoulder and snaps, “don’t call me sweetheart, homie. You don’t even know me.” He walks away and warns his friends. The girl pays for all her beers. Of which she can afford only two.
For much of my life, I have been what they call a people pleaser.
The Urban Dictionary defines people pleasers as “doormats that let high expectations, resentment, and saying yes when they mean no run their lives. They are set on being perfect and nice. It affects mostly women because they are socialized to do for other people instead of for themselves. This has been linked to codependence.”
Additionally, I recently learned that I have likewise been what they call a serial monogamist.
UD defines this term as “one who spends as little time as possible being single […]. The defining aspect of serial monogamy is the desire and ability to enter new relationships very quickly, thus abbreviating any period of single life, during which the serial monogamist may begin to ask questions of an existential nature.”
It’s true: I am a young woman of 26 years, fresh out of a relationship that has defined me for a long time. And when that relationship started, I was fresh out of a different but equally significant one. The last time I was single for any noteworthy period I was a girl, 19 years young.
People pleaser + serial monogamist. You can imagine what such a combination does for one’s personal growth.
Everyone is familiar with the expression dance like nobody’s watching.
Dating & Hookup’s own Megan Snyder explored that very concept a few months back in her article, “I Can’t Dance Like Nobody’s Watching.” It’s a poignant piece about the trouble with being the single girl at your high school buddy’s couple-ridden wedding. Your friends and family want to make sure you’re having fun, so they coax you into the conga line with a liquored up smile. And then they remind you how beautiful you are, and urge you to be confident and let loose. Come on, our only single friend; dance like nobody’s watching!
This past week, I experienced first hand the single girl at a wedding phenomenon (SGaaWP). And I, like Snyder, was urged to be confident and to let loose. To dance. And one thing became perfectly clear:
I have absolutely no problem dancing like nobody’s watching. And it’s a problem.
I started officially calling myself a feminist in college.
From my liberal arts point of view, The University of Michigan was a fantastic place to be a young woman. I was exposed to an excellent education on the history of feminism as a civil rights movement, what it meant, and what it means to be a woman in this country then, and now. It was exciting to discover that I was a feminist that way.
That being said, I was always sure to say, “I’m a feminist. But, don’t worry, I don’t, like, burn my bras and stuff. I’m, like, normal.”
Looking back, I’m sure both disrespecting my foremothers, and saying like in the same sentence would have gotten me booted from club We-Can-Do-It. But, honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure who I was and, really, just sort of talked too much because I didn’t know much. I knew that I was proud to be a woman, and that suffragettes were the coolest, and that maybe people would think I burned my Target bra if I called myself a feminist. I was in my early 20s, so I was still pretty stupid. In my older, wiser nowadays (representin’ the mid-late 20s, y’all), I leave that part out.
Simply put: I’m a feminist.
I started “going out with” my first boyfriend at a very awkward 16.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of my being an active participant in the modern dating world. And, in honor of such a milestone, on my birthday I did something very nerdy and pretentious. I wrote a letter to my younger self–or more accurately my 16-year-old self.
When I was that very awkward 16, I was a theatre kid, and I felt things deeply; so deeply that for many years I could-not-would-not re-visit those feelings. It was just (sniff) too (sniff) painful. But now I’m 26 and I will say this: when you’re 16, and your boobs are sort of starting to come in, and the bass player of local teenage boy band Tony Flow is just hormonal enough to think you’re cute and call you his–you’ve got it made. And that’s the easiest dating will ever be.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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