Tuesday, November 9, 2010

[uncensored]: Self-(dis)respect

As salaam alaikum,

I don't know much what to say to this. It's a surprising thing. Being with B so far has taught me that...I guess I didn't expect myself to be respected in a relationship with men. In fact, when he didn't disrespect me, I got frustrated.

I wanted him to disrespect me! I expected it and have indeed incorporated into my conception of a man so that being with him didn't feel right, a little bit...

This all sounds very cryptic. Let me expand.

For example, one day he was walking me back to my place (where he very respectfully sees me off from the lobby of my apartment building and then walks away), and he repeatedly censored himself, I noticed. Then he mentioned that he'd started cursing more since he's been in graduate school for some reason, after he hadn't cursed before. I found this intriguing, but I informed him that he could curse if he wanted to, and he said, nah, that he doesn't really curse anyway.

I was a little put off by the fact that he didn't curse. I mean, I don't curse, either...unless no one is around. Little known secret, I can actually curse very well. I learned it from my mother, ironically, who learned it from her mother (my grandmother doesn't believe that ass and shit are curse words...ass is in the Bible and Qur'an, she says...and I guess that shit is ubiquitous). But I cannot find a reason to curse when around others...

But I wanted him to curse. Boys and men used to excuse themselves around me when they cursed around me, and I liked that for a time...then they didn't, and I came used to it. I came to actually believe that cussing around me was kind of hot. Or, if I may, it was kind of hott.

And still, he censors himself so much! He won't curse around me, although I'd almost prefer that he did.

And I was like, shit, what is this? Haha, if I may tongue-in-cheek it right now...

I realize in my expectations of his behavior, to cursing to trying to forge a physical relationship, I expected to be disrespected, and became frustrated when I'm not. I think I wanted to be the gatekeeper to his actor...I wanted to be the one to draw the line, to defend myself, to keep things (relatively) halal...but he seems intent on respecting my face and not forcing anything.

He's keeping things (relatively) halal and he's not even Muslim! What?

I'm trying to figure out where he's coming from. He doesn't curse, doesn't drink, says grace over his food, gives charity, volunteers his time, but he's not "religious?" Say what now?

And he respects me apparently more than I respect myself.

My friend, whom I talked to, said, "Yes, you deserve the best."

I was like, oh, wow, I forgot that this was supposed to be good.

It reminds me of this conversation that these older girls were having when I was in the band in high school. I was maybe 16, they were 17. They were both Catholic. The 17-year-old was saying that she didn't really aspire to marry a virgin, because she felt like guys weren't really virgins anymore. Her friend, also 17, told her that she shouldn't sell herself short, that she'd marry a virgin.

Of course, me at 16 was thinking, why would you want to marry a virgin? Wouldn't you rather have someone with experience so you wouldn't be both inexperienced people? In my mind, I actually preferred that the guy wasn't a virgin.

And I think that was just the beginning of this curious pattern of what I guess is self-disrespect.

I guess I expect a guy to be loud and boisterous, curse a lot, have happy hands that I have to bat away, someone I have to physically push away, repeatedly tell no...someone who is stubborn, who has his own agenda, his own direction, and expects me to come along for the ride, with me being the regulator...

But I guess I'm supposed to want a man to be even mannered, to censor himself around me, to restrain himself around me and respect my space and my pace, someone who is considerate and takes my opinion into account as we travel together though this part of life, both of us actors and self-regulators...

I have to get used to this!

...seriously, it's hard for me. It's not that I have any doubt about how he feels about me, but...I think I'm just the product of a society in which women are disrespected on the regular, and some of us have come to anticipate it and enjoy it. Is it adaptive? I don't know.

I don't know...

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