I have dated my fair share of pricks. Sure, I haven’t always been the best girlfriend myself, but in my defence, every bad habit I’ve ever picked up has been learned from one of these bastards.
Chances are that at some point you too have picked someone who is wrong for you. A whole heap of wrong.Wrong on so many levels you have to take the elevator.
Most people will burn their fingers once and learn their lesson. Me? I made a habit of it.
My dad always told me the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Well then, by this I definition I was definitely insane.
My love life was ruled by three rules:
Men had to be:
(1) Taller than me
(2) Older than me
(3) Wider than me.
God, what a shallow list right? Maybe. But it is also testimony to a teenage girl’s poor self esteem.
I wanted a guy who was older than me because I had learned early on in highschool that guys my own age didn’t fancy me. So I threw the net wider.
I wanted a guy who was taller than me, AND wider than me for the same reason – because I wanted to feel more feminine.
I had been teased for being like a bloke in my life – usually in good humour because I was (and still am) a self professed TomBoy. Athletic, strong and muscular, I should have embraced my shape. But it was a sore point, made even worse by workplace bullying.
Once, I was the recipient of a hurtful email that was sent to me but also blind-copied to almost my entire company. The sender shamed me; pretending to ‘fancy me’ for reasons such as my man-like thighs and Pop-Eye biceps. Saying he had always had a thing for girls who looked like guys. I cried in the toilets when I received it, not knowing at that point that so had around 100 other people. When I found that little tidbit out, I went home and cried some more.
The bloke got a formal warning from HR. I got much worse. I was bruised so deeply inside my heart that even today – a decade on – is still tender.
I will never truly believe I am pretty because of what he said. I am comfortable with how I look, but he has ripped me of the opportunity to ever look in the mirror and see real beauty.
I look in the mirror and I just see “butch”.
Bad boy no1
My bad boy experience started long before this dickhead though, when I fell in love with an older guy who was so charismatic you’d think he was made of honey. As soon as you got near him, you were stuck. You weren’t going anywhere until you sampled his deliciousness.
And boy, didn’t he know it? The guy had more girls buzzing around him than I have had hot dinners in my life. And he didn’t have the decency to enjoy them all separately, as I found out to my heartache. He liked to have them all flying around at the same time.
Bad boy no2
My next choice was around for a lot longer and much more harmful to my health. He was tall, strong, blokey, handsome. And a drinker. Turns out his booze was more important than me but it took me years to realise that one. He loved me, I know it, but he was also stupid and had no idea how to properly demonstrate it. He did stupid things when drunk. Like going AWOL for days at a time. And cheating on me. The best was when he slept with a girl the night before my 21st birthday and then told me about it at my party. I ended up with alcohol poisoning and spent most of this ‘celebration’ vomiting in my bed.
I broke up with him that day.
And got back with him the next.
How to avoid bad boys
At the time a good friend told me that your choice in a partner is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. In effect, you partner is a mirror into your soul.
At the time I didn’t understand. But now I see her wisdom.
Before you start dating, make sure you’re happy with what is staring back at you in the mirror. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with another dud.
I met the love of my life at a time when I was happy being single. I was happy in myself.
He met none of my criteria. He was younger than me. He was my height. He was my weight. It was normally enough for me to walk away.
But he was funny. I gravitated towards him. He was warm. He was kind. He was cute. He had ambition. We could have an intelligent conversation. (He was Scottish, but I didn’t hold it against him.)
When we started dating, I began questioning my list. The physical attributes were poor cousins to things like intelligence, honesty, kindness and humour. Sure, my man was good looking, but his personality made him smokin’ hot.
Recently I realised that I had picked a genuine “nice guy”. And I want to tell all those girls out there who have superficial lists of their own that sometimes we need to look beyond ‘our type’ to actually find the type we need.
What’s your bad boy or mean girl story? What did it teach you?