The Vagenda

No, I Don’t Want To Be Your Girlfriend

Being single: it’s a right old lark, isn’t it? All that drinking and dancing and not being beholden to anybody on a weekend and explaining to your mum that no, you’re not a lesbian and yes, one day you’ll undoubtedly find Mr Right despite the fact that your entire dating life has only been peppered with fifty shades of Mr So Wrong It’s Kind Of Shameful. But seriously, the drinking and dancing part is great. Witnessing someone else’s boyfriend muttering moody obscenities down the phone at them as they stand outside a club demonstrably failing to enjoy themselves is enough to put a lot of us off relationships for at least another couple more years. I’ve been on the shelf for a year and a half now, since the well-overdue demise of a four year relationship, and I can honestly say that most of the time it’s been a blast. The amount of time spent having lovely sex with perfectly nice people in Single Town almost always outweighs the amount of time spent curled up in the foetal position, giving yourself a dead arm so it feels like you’re holding somebody else’s hand.

Except what I’ve noticed, in my latest wheelings and dealings, is a propensity for perfectly nice and reasonable men to suddenly balk at what they expect me to say. Lying in bed with my latest squeeze, I have been given the ‘You’re not going to be my girlfriend’ speech on at least five separate occasions. It’s wheeled out to me like a postcoital fag every time he ties a knot in the condom and flings it charmingly into the corner. ‘I hope you know I’m not ready for a relationship, you know,’ he has mused continually, as he holds his sweaty body next to mine in a half-hearted obligatory after-sex cuddle. ‘I had a Really Hard Time when I used to be in one. I just don’t want you to give me an ultimatum in a few weeks’ time. I’m sure you and I could be very happy together in another life – but just to reiterate, you’re not going to be my girlfriend.’

Now, this would all be fine if I’d said anything to him in the preceding half hour other then ‘oh yeah’, ‘harder’, ‘faster’, and – on really special occasions – ‘oh my God.’ Which of these turns of phrase has led the deluded man to believe that what I actually meant was ‘flowers, anniversaries, heart-shaped chocolates from Clinton Cards and weekend breaks away, please’? Your guess is as good as mine. Because the Thorntons’ selection wasn’t really on my mind when I downed my last cider and invited him back to mine. My most pressing concerns at that point were more to do with the logistics of the backwards cowgirl wheelbarrow position rather than the logistics of a posy of lilies on my wedding day. We’ve had pillow talk, sure; but none of it has led me to believe that the man of my dreams serendipitously fell into my bed after Magners lowered my inhibitions. His sexual prowess wasn’t so mind-blowing that I want to chain him to my bedroom door forever.

The One Before Him similarly littered his sextime speech with such caveats. ‘I’m not in a relationship place right now,’ he’d smile, or, very pointedly: ‘I really enjoy being SINGLE.’ Well, good for you. It’s a shame I’m of the female variety and therefore desperate for a ring on my finger, but I suppose I won’t cry myself to sleep too much when you go away. There’s always a cutesy little Cosmopolitan to ease the pain.

What actually worries me more about these unforgivably arrogant young men is that they think sex is a relationship pawn to us girls – a honey-slathered bait that draws them in, if you will. ‘If I just park my vagina here in the way of his throbbing member [yes, I said it] and think of England, maybe one day he will love me,’ they must assume my psyche is saying while we change from ‘girl on top’ to ‘from behind.’ ‘Frogs turn into princes, after all, and Hollywood TOLD me that someday my prince would come.’

Not only is this impression clearly about as in tune with my true feelings as Kate Moss’s assumption that I want to ‘get the London look’ when I do my mascara, but it’s really depressing. It propagates the idea that women are both manipulative and weak, and that they enter into contracts they haven’t thought through. It suggests that the cultural stereotype of ‘men want sex; women want love’ is still alive, which incidentally is horrendously awful for everyone. And goddammit, it just plain pisses me off.

So the next time a man suggests to me that I’m chasing a relationship because he felt me up on the tube ride home, I think I’m well within my rights to fuck with him, and not in the wheelbarrow way. ‘You signed the contract while you were drunk,’ I will say, wide-eyed, ‘and it’s legally binding.’ Then I’ll get out my lasso and whisper, ‘Try and leave if you think you can.’ Sure, I’ll lose a sexual partner – and possibly gain a criminal record. But at the end of the day, you can’t go pushing back with a feather when somebody’s smacking you with a rusty social brick.

12 thoughts on “No, I Don’t Want To Be Your Girlfriend

  1. oh thank goodness I’m not only in this boat. A couple months back a guy said something similar to me, albeit before sex. I dislike that there is an automatic assumption that all women who are interested in a man must immediately want to tie him down. How do we get the message across that we’re just not that into them?

    I had to bite my tongue to stop saying: “You think I want YOU as a boyfriend” before dissolving into fits of laughter. I stopped myself though. Just as he finished telling me that he can understand why I would want him because he’s such a great catch. Just shut up and take your pants off, fool. melanie

  2. God, like Melanie, thought this only happened to me! Unfortunately, the first time it happened was when I was post-divorce vulnerable so took it personally & saw it as proof of my unloveable nature. Thankfully, I’m over that now. And Melanie, next time some cock is as blatantly rude to you, don’t hold your tongue. I don’t anymore!

  3. Oh shit – am newly single after a 17 year relationship. Some men have always been like this (not all, because that’s the other side of the rusty social brick) – had hoped they’d evolved a little since the mid Nineties. Sigh.

  4. Yes I don’t really understand it… Not sure if it stems from ego or being scared…

    I had two notable friends-with-benefits things on in my single stage (got over the picking up guys at clubs things after a long-term relationship).
    The one was perfect – we both knew exactly what it was, went our separate ways after a while and still greet each other with a friendly smile.

    The other… well ended when the guy called me “clingy”… even though I’d made it clear to him exactly what I was looking for…

    meh whatever :P

  5. When I was a young warthog, before I realised how ridiculous it was, that stereotype was definitely true for me.
    And sadly I don’t think I am the only one.

    I just wanted a boy to loveeee meeeeeeeeee and would rather have been someone’s friend-with-benefits than nothing at all – whilst all the time hoping that ONE MAGICAL DAY he would realise how super amazeballs I was and ask for my hand in girlfriendship.

    Then I got over it. These days I can be found sipping coffee feeling pretty smug about my singledom.

    It’s awesome that many of us aren’t the clingy, please-go-out-with-me types, but on a personal level I won’t be forgetting how horrible it felt to be that way in a hurry. Let’s take this moment to remember some of our far-less-secure sisters who are still trapped in that ineffectual way of thinking. Amen.

  6. Yeah I think I understand. I think, probably guys like this are being ‘edgy’ or something, as though it might be their way of seeming deep and honest so that you think he’s a cool guy. Maybe he’s a single who just wants sexy partners but he believes he has to play the part of cool dude, maybe because he doesn’t want to be told by a girl that he is not boyfriend material and if you have met a few times he’ll sense you aren’t looking to ‘take things further’ so he’d want to have the final say and hence the situation. (I think)

  7. For the first two years of my relationship with my ex he continually told me that he ‘didn’t want to be in a long term relationship’, and that we weren’t ‘going to get married or anything’, and that he was ‘just being honest.’Five years later I realised I didn’t want to be in a long term relationship with him, and that I don’t ever want to get married to anyone, so I left.

  8. I had the same thing. Despite this bloke knowing full well I’d come out of a relatively long term relationship and had no intention of jumping minge first into another felt the need to tell me, after our rendez-vous that it COULD be a regular thing, as long as I was aware that’s all it would be. I mean obviously I am a woman and therefore would fall hopelessly in love with him. Despite him resembling Dangermouse’s bezzie, Penfold. Needless to say it didn’t happen again.

  9. EURGH this is why I don’t think I could do the casual one night stand thing. Too many douches making presumptions about my pretext, assumptions about my feelings, what a turn off. I would just be too worried that he was getting off on the idea of me being this stereotype (either a needy girlfriend wannabe or the double standard ‘what a dirty slut’) and I think I would only be able to get off if I imagined him as a lovely feminist which he probably wouldn’t be. So we’d both be deluding ourselves and I don’t find being deluded or with delusional people very sexy. If we lived in a wonderful world of openness, sexual freedom and equality however…

    Also I blame the media for this stereotype. Apparently as soon as a penis enters our vagina we fall helplessly in love because of science. That’s what happened in that film Zack and Miri make a porno. And that was a modern romantic classic.

  10. I’m really really glad you posted this!
    This stereotype of needy women pisses me off constantly…but I’d be lying if I said I’d never felt I fitted it a tiny weeny bit.
    But that was never as a result of being a girl! Its down to my own personal issues, like being a tad insecure, or being immature in my attitude to relationships (a mindset I have luckily since blossomed out of like a lovely big blossomy thing.)

  11. I think it’s actually nice of these gents to make their intentions clear. You may not be one of them, but plenty of women get very attached to men they sleep with very quickly and stating their position is only fair. Better than being strung along.