All the girls that I am

A couple of months ago, I was talking to a man, and I expressed doubt of my own attractiveness. He said, “That’s the refused girl talking.”

Yes, I am a refused girl, because I’m in a relationship that’s supposed to be a love and sex relationship with a serious boyfriend. But because he is my refuser, and for a number of other reasons, I feel like I don’t have a boyfriend. Instead, I feel like I live with an elderly relative who’s sick all the time. One of those old-fashioned relatives for whom you have to pretend you agree with the morals of the 1950s.

He has lost all interest in sex, so I’m supposed to pretend I have, too.

Too bad I suck at pretending.

But I feel like I’m supposed to. So the refused girl, the refused woman, isn’t quite sure how to get needs met. She isn’t sure what male pronouncements she should trust. “I love you”? When he says it, her refuser really needs to add, “the way a grandpa loves his granddaughter,” because that’s what his love feels like. Not a scrap of eroticism or romance about it.

The refused girl wonders if she’ll ever again hear those words from a man who kisses her hungrily, as a prelude to nibbling, caressing, fondling, teasing…mutual explorations of every inch of skin…hands and mouth giving and receiving….mutual undressing…and the ultimate acts of love.

I’m also the neglected girl. I’m still the little girl whose parents were so worried about her brother that they didn’t always see her needs. “Oh, Kat will be okay; it’s Steve who’s got the *real* problems.” And the neglected girl learned not to ask for help or comfort; learned not to lay more burdens on her already stressed out parents. The neglected girl became the woman who is still wary of approaching  others, afraid of making a move and being brushed off. The woman who wonders sometimes if she is *too* cautious – and missing out on possibilities. The woman who would love to send the first PM or IM or email or text or whatever….but who fears hearing, “Not now,” or, “Not ever,” or worse – no answer at all.

I’m also the independent girl. When the neglected girl was noticed at all, she was bossed around and spoken to brusquely by a father who was oppressed by demons of his own. The independent girl learned to keep out of his way, to avoid being spoken to harshly or given an unpleasant task to do. She learned that asking daddy for help was likely to result in unpleasantness.

So, she learned to be wary of assertive men. She became quite capable and competent as a result. But as a woman, she often became involved with men who were no help at all with problem solving. Her first husband bought a TV and home entertainment system in the 90s, then got it home, faltered and said, “Maybe you’d better hook this up.” So, the independent girl hooked it up.

And her feminist friends would cheer; but something about that incident was painful for both of them. He already felt bad because she earned more money and tended to learn things more quickly. And she couldn’t help wondering: what would happen if something came along that I couldn’t handle? Could I relax, knowing he could handle it? (No.)

As cranky and irritable as her father was, she always felt secure in the knowledge that he could solve problems and take care of things. And so the independent girl learned the good thing about an assertive man: she could relax and let him take care of things.

But would an assertive man handle her feelings roughly? And did a man even exist who could be the man, in the living room and in the bedroom – without turning into a dictator?

She once had a romantic but manly boyfriend who delighted in the struggle with her feistiness. Now she wonders if that was the guy she should have married.

The refused girl wants to believe love can be erotic again someday.

The neglected girl wants to believe it’s okay to ask for what she wants, and reach out to people.

The independent girl wants to believe a man can be strong and take charge without hurting her.
Posted by SmartKat at 11:57 on September 10th, 2014 at 11:57AM
1-6 of 6 Comments


Posted on 07:18PM on Sep 10th, 2014
{Hugs} to all of you.


Posted on 10:14PM on Sep 11th, 2014


Posted on 10:34AM on Sep 12th, 2014
Well, except I’m wondering now if blanket avoidance of assertive men might not be a mistake for me. If I could believe in – and find – a man who could be assertive, who could have passions, desires, strong feelings; and take charge – without being abusive, bossy or just running over my feelings like a bull in a china shop…….


Posted on 09:16PM on Sep 12th, 2014
An assertive man does not equate to a bully.


Posted on 10:07PM on Sep 12th, 2014
It has taken me a long, long time to figure that out, Jim. And I’m still trying to figure out how to tell the difference – they have superficial similarities.


Posted on 10:44AM on Sep 23rd, 2014
I am amazed that you and I are not friends. We same to be the same woman. We may have different paragraphs, but it’s the same story. The same lessons being learned. The same morals being taught, if even in some unnecessarily harsh ways. 😦

I think all of my girls love all of your girls. 😉

*runs off to add you as a friend now*


Published by


Born, went to school, went to work, will die someday. Fluent in English, sarcasm, and profanity. Open-minded skeptic, INTP in the Myers-Briggs, 5-Investigator (or Observer) in the Enneagram, Sagittarius in astrology, Pitta/Kapha in the Ayurvedic system. Likes: Music, books, reading, paid time off from work. Dislikes: Authoritarians, micromanagement, illogic, and asparagus.

3 thoughts on “All the girls that I am”

  1. An aside:
    OMG guys, Myers-Briggs is like iridology, astrology and remote healing with a radionics machine… I once published a lengthy rant about it on EP. It’s not validated, it’s not standardised, it doesn’t have any kind of baseline, and it’s wishy washy enough to make no sense whatever. Every single one I’ve taken has come up with a different result. Only too often I can’t even honestly answer the questions because they don’t even juxtapose logical or emotional opposites. Maybe fun anyway, if you don’t take it seriously 🙂 I just find it annoying (to do). It gets my scientist’s dander up. I prefer crosswords, LoL. I leave M-B to the acolytes of the arcane arts, the prophets and the fervent disciples.
    If you’re interested in where I am coming from, read the wikipaedia article, particularly the “precepts and ethics”, criticism, reliability headings. Eysenck on the subject is also interesting (if pretty obscure to the non-initated).
    {end of aside}


    But, more importantly, Kat: those men exist. I have known men who were assertive, resourceful, loving, caring, nurturing, supportive without trampling their partner, without degrading their partner, without the need to be ‘stronger’ or ‘better’ or ‘smarter’, with the ability to let themselves go, to deliver themselves to their partner as they hope their partner will deliver themselves to them. I’ve known …. a handful of them, at most.

    That other kind of assertive, that’s the crippled control freak who cannot care about their partner above their own need to maintain control At All Times (which incidentally totally impairs their ability to let go and enjoy the passionate side of the relationships they’re in).
    Oh, and that sort exists in both gender versions. They need control over their partner, they need control over themselves and their own feelings, they need control over the dynamic of the relationship because somewhere in their past there’s something so fucked up and so horrifying to them that they cannot relinquish control because things might just end up that way again. Dose of Irony, anyone?
    (Well I know of one case where a bullying arsehole has found a match in a submissive woman who seems to be happy being bullied and controlled in the relationship — not to my taste though).


    1. We are cool people, aren’t we? (Although sometimes I take the online version of the test and it comes back INFP. When I took the official test from a person who had been trained on it, they had to ask me extra questions to figure out if I was a T or an F.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s