One of the sections I love in Lindy West’s Shrill is when she goes into detail about the fat women role models she saw on television growing up.
This post is somewhat inspired by that; however, it is not filled with role models. It is filled with characters I fear I turn into (or men think I am) while dating.
Pam Nunan shot Agent Booth in an episode in the third season of Bones. You know, the fat woman Booth was nice to (despite Sweets’ advice) so obviously she became obsessed with Booth. She gave him socks because she noticed that he wears odd socks. She tries to shoot Bones, but Booth takes the bullet.
Observant? Gift-giving? Men being nice to her makes her fall for them? Uh oh.
Joanna (Rachel’s Boss on Friends)
Joanna goes on a date with Chandler. She thinks it went very well, but he thinks she is a dud. Still, he told her that he would call her. She obsessively asks Rachel when Chandler is going to call, whining about it. He said he would call, so why didn’t he. Rachel badgers Chandler into calling, Joanna and Chandler go out to lunch (she is still obviously smitten). He ends it by saying he’ll call her until Rachel makes him confess that he won’t.
I don’t want to be this person! I worry that I am this person.
Dr. Leah Murphy
Murphy has sex with a bunch of different doctors (especially attending) and gets hung up on them even though they won’t commit. Leah has an obsessive nature, first with Alex. When she starts a fling with Arizona, she tries to be “easy peasey” about it, but later ends up heartbroken when Arizona and Callie attempt to reconcile their marriage. Her work suffers because she is so caught up in the relationship stuff and she is eventually fired.
Can I just say *gulp*?
I love Parks and Recreation. But there is a part in the episode “Sex Education” where Leslie calls Ann out for adopting the lifestyles of the men she dates. When she dated Andy, she wore flannel. When she dated Chris, she wore spandex (she also hunted him down when she thought he was cheating; he wasn’t). And when she dates a cowboy, she dresses like a cowboy. She loses herself. She embarks on dating herself.
I don’t think I need to spend time dating myself to find out who I am and what I want. I feel like I’ve done that groundwork. I do worry, however, about losing myself in another’s interests. I watched pro wrestling in order to try to appeal to Same Dude Different Day. I bought way many more Halloween decorations than I intended because I wanted to impress P (yes, I’ll admit that, but they are cute goddammit!).
Big Fat Friend
In high school and college, I really liked Stephen Lynch, a singing comedian. He had a song called “She Gotta Smile.”
The song is about how Stephen is trying to get with a cute girl, yet her Big Fat Friend is getting in the way. He has a “Non-Discriminating Friend,” who, once he has drunk enough, is willing to fuck that “cow” because with every shot of jaeger she loses a couple pounds. In the special where this song is featured, his friend playing the “non-discriminating” guy says some really ugly things.
I’d like to hope that men would not have to be desperately drunk to flirt with me. But I do question men’s intentions given attitudes like the ones expressed in this song. I don’t want to be that character.
I am not an airhead as Kelly is portrayed on The Office. This is the extreme clingy and crazy character. I do not think I have much in common with her. At least I hope not. I have never, nor will I ever, fake pregnancy in order to get a guy to go on a date with me.
Do I think men know who these characters are? Not the first two for sure.
I could also point to Liz Lemon and Mindy Lahiri and, to a certain extent, my spirit animal Leslie Knope as characters that aren’t terribly successful when dating (at least at first) or who make mistakes along the way. At least those characters, in my mind, are not as “scary” as those named above.
What do these characters seem to have in common? Infatuation and obsessiveness (perhaps not Big Fat Friend, though that character’s standards are incredibly low). The level of infatuation varies, but it all happens very easily.
Let me be clear: I am afraid that I come across like these women. I do not want to be like these women (Ann excepted in non-dating circumstances). That is why I try not to let my anxiety get the best of me. That is why I concern myself with communication, especially since I don’t want to come across as “too much” even though I crave it badly.
Overall, I promise not to shoot anyone.