App Dating, Part 2
Recently my therapist gave me an assignment: make a list of my dating rules. That’s it. No suggestions. No tips. Just make the list. Uhhh. Okay. I thought about that list for a week but didn’t write one thing. Nothing felt right. I kept thinking that I hadn’t dated enough to know what my rules (or any rules) should be. Until one night it came to me. I had my list of rules, 10 to be exact.
I’m not going to list all of those rules here, but I wanted to present one that has proven to be my most challenging: I will not pick and choose which parts of me to share. I need to share them all. My interests and passions. My goals and dreams. Me.
You see, what so often seems to happen with me and dating is that I pick which parts of me to highlight based on what I see my date is like. It’s a choose your own Jacqs of sorts. I think many women do this and it sucks. I shouldn’t feel like I need to be a certain version of myself to be loved. Hell, I love ALL the versions of myself. How’s that for ego? But in all seriousness, as I embarked on following this dating rule I noticed something that fully pissed me off.
Here I am with these avid climbers, hikers, mountaineers, backpackers, canyoneers (I apparently am drawn to very outdoorsy men) and I would show interest in their activities. We would bond over the hobbies I shared (namely, climbing, hiking, and camping). Then it would be my turn, they would ask “What do you like to do?” or, my favorite, “What gets you going?” I’d share the usual, reading, being outside, baking, etc. And then I’d share the hard one: fashion. Sustainable, ethical fashion to be specific.
Then, silence. Or laughter. They both suck.
Why is it so hard for me to share my love of fashion? Because I know this will be the reaction. Suddenly, I can’t be taken seriously. I’m not intelligent. I’m not interesting. I’m shallow. Fuck. That.
Who or what in our society decided that fashion was shallow? Because it definitely gets a bad rep. Yes, fashion is outwardly facing. It’s appearance. But it’s so much more than wanting to look good. I love fashion because it’s a creative outlet, it’s a way to express myself and who I am to the world. I love it because I love beautiful things. I love supporting small business. I love engaging in a community that is considering how to make the fashion industry better and fighting for change, tackling problems like sustainability, ethics, human rights, economic impact, and inclusivity. I love fashion for so many reasons that are most definitely not shallow.
So this is my PSA to people who probably aren’t reading this, but I’m going to say it anyway. Fashion is not shallow. It’s not any less of an interest than climbing or woodworking or canyoneering or making art. Fashion matters. So if you can’t appreciate that, I don’t have time for you. And the next man that meets my interest in fashion with silence or laughter. Just wait. I have a lot to say, and you’re my captive audience.