I’m done picking the “casual” outfit. I would stand at my closet, staring back at the extensive rack of dresses, but my gaze would often flit back to the “casual” clothes. The t-shirts, the jeans. The clothing I hate wearing because it’s uncomfortable and it chafes and it doesn’t match my personality. The clothing reserved for when I want to fit in, to look like I’m not “trying.” I’m done considering the reaction of others when I choose my outfits. If you don’t like me in a dress, then you don’t like me. Period.
I’m done considering who I’m with before I do my makeup. “Men don’t like women who wear makeup.” You know what–who cares? The idea that a woman is unworthy because she wears makeup plays into the idea that femininity is inherently bad. But I don’t wear my makeup for men. I wear it for me, because I like the way it makes me feel. Because it fits my personality. Because it’s fun. And if it weeds out the men looking for low maintenance girls, then bullet dodged.
I’m done dulling my shine for a first date. I used to have a “first date makeup look.” It was the pinnacle of minimal. A little mascara, a bit of neutral eye shadow. Of course, no lipstick. As if, by avoiding bright colors, I’ll somehow show that I’m an ideal mate. As if I’m saying, “If you pick me, I won’t make you wait because I’m busy getting ready.” If my putting in effort makes you uncomfortable, then maybe you aren’t putting in enough.
I’m done saying, “it’s no big deal.” Being the low maintenance girl isn’t just about throwing on a pair of jean shorts and a swipe of lip balm on your way out the door. It’s so much more about downplaying your opinions. But I’m done going with the flow when it doesn’t serve me. I’m done letting my opinions fall by the wayside in favor of the men who surround me. If being low maintenance means compromising myself for someone else’s fragile masculinity, big no thanks.
I’m done pretending I don’t care. Because I do care. I care where we go to eat. I care if you invite your friends. I care about how long this hike will take. I don’t want to embrace the unknown. And, more than anything, I care about having agency, of being an equal participant in a relationship. I matter.
I’m done pretending I’m something I’m not. So what if the casual girl without a care in the world is the archetype of everything a man wants? I’m not that. I like being on time. I like knowing what I’m getting into. I love wearing dresses and makeup and doing my hair. It’s what makes me me. And if someone isn’t happy with that, then they weren’t meant to be a part of my glorious, magical life.