It’s not uncommon to hear the phrase Bitches be crazy* when sitting at a bar next to a group of men. Or when checking out Fuck Jerry‘s latest post on Instagram. Or when you’re one of two girls on a hike.
“I can’t believe I acted that crazy,” I said to Claudia. Fog swallowed the trail in front of us like a bored whale searching for plankton and we paused. Claudia paused, cocking one hip to the side as she swung her small hiker’s bag around and fished a bottle of water out.
“I’m done with women accepting the title of crazy,” she said. “Especially in situations like yours.” Claudia took a long pull of water as I gazed at the foggy tube we were about to walk into. On dead horse day I felt I had acted undeniably like a lunatic. I’d ignored polite company behavior. I’d ignored my own moral compass. I’d behaved in a way that was shameful to tell my mom about a few days later, when as always, I confessed the sins she didn’t necessarily need to hear.
“Here’s why,” Claudia continued, rightful interpreting my silence as disagreement. “The guy was a coward.** Hands down. He was afraid to tell you whatever it was that was going on with him. Maybe it was second thoughts about you, sure. Maybe it was an emotional issue of his own – about his divorce, about another girl, about not being ready. And instead of talking to you like an adult, he took the quote-unquote easy way out. The cowardly way.
“And then you responded like a human. One who got jerked around and then dropped without explanation. One who tried to take being treated like shit in stride, only to find you were unable to because you have an ounce of self worth and feelings on top of it. And you had an emotional response because your emotions were on the line. What makes me crazy – er, pissed as hell – is that even though he fucked up, you’re the one who will take all the blame because of your reasonable reaction to an unclear situation.”
She capped her water bottle and we kept walking.
It seems there are lessons in dating – and in life – that I’ll have to learn again and again. That everyone is doing the best they can, and sometimes that best is kind of bad (my own fully included). That when it comes to ending quasi-relationships (or datingships, as they properly are), people of any or no gender are mostly cowards. That’s it’s okay to have a reaction. That girls, myself included, aren’t crazy.
*Wording often different, sentiment the same.
**Forgot about this post in which I basically say the same thing at the end.