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Perfect, As Is

As a young adult, and even deep into my thirties, I was told by “well-intentioned” friends that I was too much, and that it impacted my attractiveness to men. I imagined them whispering with each other, “that’s why she’s still single.” And the worst part was I never understood what I could do to remedy it, except become a different person. 

Illustration from this isn’t happiness


20 comments for “Perfect, As Is”

  1. Karen says:

    Thank you, Wendy. I sound like a broken record, I am sure–but I am thankful to have found this corner of the internet and community.

    As a 34 year old, yeah–I have heard this a whole lot, along with puzzlement at my contentment that isn’t predicated on a partner (i like having them and being one, but I try to be the same me, whether I am with someone or without.)

    All to say–I don’t think people realize how much words matter and how much words hurt. I am glad to be growing past the feeling of needing to change–beyond the usual work I do for myself in therapy and processing and learning, etc.

    Thank you (again and again.)

    • Jess says:

      Karen, I agree with all you wrote. I’ve heard those same things as well for much of my life (I’m also 34). And for that reason I’m also grateful to Wendy for creating this site, and reminding us all that likeminded people are out there.

      A girlfriend of mine recently got engaged, and she asked (somewhat nervously) if I “felt bad” about her getting married, while I’m still single. It was so hard to explain that her engagement doesn’t bother me in the least… it’s the fact that she felt the need to ask that question in the first place that makes me feel bad.

      People mostly mean well, but I do get tired of having to defend my life choices at times. Sigh.

    • wendy says:

      And thank you Karen for being a part of changing the world.

      • karen says:

        Jess, I agree–it is tiring.
        Three cheers (all the more) for this place and like-minded people.

        Thank you, Jess.
        Thank you, Wendy.

  2. Claire says:

    “Dear Woman,
    you’ll just be too much woman.
    Too smart,
    Too beautiful,
    Too strong.
    That makes a man fee like less of a man,
    which will start making you feel like you have to be less of a woman.
    The biggest mistake you can make
    is removing jewels from your crown
    to make it easier for a man to carry.
    When this happens, I need you to understand,
    You do not need a smaller crown –
    You need a man with bigger hands.”

  3. Karen says:

    A couple of years ago I was walking down an office corridor behind two male colleagues who didn’t realize I was there. I overheard one of them describing to the other the woman he was dating as follows: “She has the perfect level of intelligence — you know — just enough to be interesting, but not so much so as to be in any way challenging.” The other guy nodded, “yup, I hear you.”

    Both men are lawyers, as am I. I am senior to both of them — one by just two years, the other by about a decade. It was the older of the two who made the comment, but the younger man was in full agreement. So here were these two Ivy League-educated men, in a top-tier New York City law firm, espousing these views. No wonder I’ve been dateless for a decade. (And the one before that wasn’t great, either…)

    • Claire says:

      Karen I applaud your restraint for not punching them both in the back of the head. Unless you did?! I’m sorry you have to deal with that kind of disrespect. I have only been working in a large regional firm for less than a year. As far as firms go this place is on the more progressive end, to the extent a larger law firm can be progressive. Nevertheless these kind of douche-bro lawyers in corporate work are pervasive. And I loathe them so so so much. I don’t think I’ll ever not miss criminal defense.

    • wendy says:

      I believe there are good men out there (even in corporate law). And in this political environment, lawyers have become sexy again.

  4. Leyla says:

    Thanks, I needed this reminder. Sure, I might have an easier time dating if I were less opinionated, less outspoken, less emotional, whatever, but then I wouldn’t even be me.

  5. lauren says:

    Wendy, thanks so much for this reminder. I need to take this to heart.

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