by Sara Guiang
online dating for the modern-day feminist
you didn’t mean for it to happen like this, maybe for it to happen at all, but come on, the boy was cute so you liked him and he liked you and yeah his first words were “i’m a naughty boy and i don’t think you can handle it” but you didn’t leave because every conversation either starts or ends like some variation of this anyways, so the you everyone knows, the you people call the “young woman”, who pays her bills and goes to work and school, the one who handles everything, that young woman, gets quiet and lets the girl, the girl who boys want to know, who used to inhale romantic comedies and angsty teen romance novels, the girl who always fakes orgasms, you let that girl handle your dating life, and she says to you, the young woman, “don’t make a snarky comeback and walk away” so the girl takes over and she’s snarky, yeah, but not that feminist kind of snarky where she sticks a middle finger in your face and hates all men and burns her bra on fire snarky, she’s the snarky that keeps the boy interested but doesn’t scare him off because you both know he can’t handle a bruised ego, so you say something witty and sexy (because it has to be sexy, remember) and he doesn’t reply until the next day, and the girl, she doesn’t mind being treated like that because she’s “chill” so she takes over again and you start feeling lightheaded because suddenly he wants your number and the girl gives it to him so eagerly and you, the young woman, are trying to ignore the girl and the stupid fuckboy when the girl taps you on the shoulder and asks you to help her come up with something to say back and yeah you roll your eyes when the text message is a basic equivalent to “wyd?” but you both say “just got out of the shower” for a couple reasons: one is that yes, you actually did just take a shower so really out of principle were just being honest, two, the girl is just being the girl she knows the boy wants, but what is really interesting is three, which is that you, the young woman, mainly did say it to see if the boy would fall for it (they always do) but also because for a second a small part of you wanted to do it for the same reason the girl was even though you would never admit it to the girl and it makes you feel a strange combination of disgust and thrill so you both say it and the dots pop up and suddenly he has bombarded your phone with heart eye emojis and he immediately asks to come over (with weed nonetheless, the fuckboys always have weed) and you and the girl have a conversation like→ girl: i don’t want him to go away, but he can’t come over, we hardly know each other, you: who does he think is? this is not happening, i don’t care how lonely you are, girl: is this normal for Millennials now? are we being weird?, you: i mean, maybe, but this feels like a hard no to me, and so you both compromise and joke that he could be a serial killer, “sorry we just want to get to know you! *smiley emoji*” and he goes “r u serious” and for a second you both get worried, even you, the young woman, but he texts more and goes along with the serial killer joke (maybe this is when you should have known things were not going to work out) and for a little bit the banter is fun and lighthearted and yeah still a little forward at times but it’s fine but just like it always does the conversation suddenly turns hostile and the boy is saying “no but seriously can we stop playing this game i want to come over and see youuuuu *heart eyes emoji, red heart emoji, heart eyes emoji*” and a second later: “come on, i’ve got weed and a GIRTHY D let’s do this!!!” and you and the girl finally agree on something, so you decide to not reply and ignore the phone until you can choose to either reply with full on feminist kind of snark where she sticks a middle finger in your face and hates all men and burns her bra or to just not reply at all and not even a minute passes when he’s calling and the phone won’t stop vibrating and you both get freaked out and suddenly it feels like he’s in your space and he’s texting “wait answer the phone lol” and “call me” when suddenly you block him, his number and everywhere else where there is evidence of him and finally he’s gone and it’s over and then you text your friend that you have to tell her about your terrible experience in the morning because this is so routine at this point that the only way to get over it is to talk about it with someone who goes through the same thing all the time and be shocked together and eventually laugh at it and you look at the stupid app and you realize you have to start this whole stupid process of online dating again because fifteen more guys have liked you and the girl and your family and everyone with a mouth and an opinion thinks you should be prioritizing dating, so you, the young woman, in all your independence, compromise with the girl and her fantasies that maybe one of them won’t try to come over to your house at midnight with weed and a hard-on, maybe one of them will talk to you without expecting a porn star blowjob as their reward, maybe one of these guys is normal, and yeah wants to get to the fun stuff but eventually, okay, eventually, and you and the girl look at each other and you both know you hate it and you’ll be off of it for a week because you’re both so terrified of your space being invaded again and yeah, you’re tired of being sent dick pics and all the conversations being so overtly pornographic that it isn’t even flirting anymore but you’ll both be back because you’re good Millennials and you’re supposed to be used to this weird process of swiping on people like people are kitchen products you’re shopping for on Amazon and yeah the Millennial feminist is cool and independent and taking care of her shit but she doesn’t want to be alone.
Sara Guiang is a Social Work student minoring in Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is a Millennial with Sex and the City dreams of *”having it all”.
*It should be noted that this (wannabe) poet’s version of “having it all” is some form of working in advocacy and writing.