The Feminine Mistake

By Payton Aper, Blog Staff

     College students love to discuss the type of person they are at parties: loud, sad, vomiting, and so on. And I’d say, from relatively limited experience, that I turn into a social butterfly at parties. I love to announce random facts about myself, like the amount of homework I have due next week, or scream song lyrics. I talk to people I don’t know very well and flirt where I’d normally be too nervous to do so. Which was all well and good, until I ended up admitting to a guy I’d only recently met that I had a crush on him. 

     Readers here are likely unfamiliar with the excellent romance sports anime that is Yuri on Ice, but the premise of the show goes something like this: Yuri Katsuki, dropout Olympic skater, goes all out at his sports banquet and unashamedly flirts with skating legend Viktor Nikornikov, who doesn’t even know him. Only unlike Yuri, I am not a professional athlete, and did not have the luxury of forgetting my fateful interaction. I woke up the next morning with a grade-A headache, the recollection of singing “Gasolina” by Daddy Yankee, and of making an absolute fool of myself in front of the guy I was interested in. I had talked about the difference between Kpop boy bands and girl bands, and explained how I would pack up my entire life if Andrew Garfield would simply ask. If he still liked me, it would be an absolute miracle. So why, then, are these types of confessions such a romantic cliche? As someone who’s listened to “Gorgeous” by Taylor Swift a ridiculous amount of times in the past 48 hours, I’d say there’s at least 2 factors: 

  1. Authenticity shoots through the roof. You’re telling me most people will have the mental capacity to lie about their feelings when they’re struggling to hold in their dinner? No. Not that most people would lie in a confession, per se, but you know it comes from the heart even if it’s not Pulitzer-prize worthy. Which, I can guarantee, nothing I said that night was.
  2. More importantly, you get to be the one confessing- which is so, so fun. Why don’t girls, in heteronormative relationships, get to be the ones scheduling dates and boldly asking to be kissed? Why, in relationships with any gender, does there have to be a “masculine” and “feminine” persona? It isn’t uncommon to hear about queer couples as viewed through a heteronormative lense, where one partner is more masculine and assertive, and one partner is more feminine— even if these labels don’t align with their identities. But taking romantic initiative is so empowering and thrilling (give, of course, that you’re still respecting consent). And why should it matter who’s doing what in a relationship as long as you’re happy?

      For whatever reason, when talking to guys that I’m interested in, my feminine attributes are on extra display (read: “Oh my gosh, my hands are so much smaller than yours!”) Realizing that gender performance is miniaturized into your own relationships is daunting to say the least. And then there’s the issue of authenticity in chivalry, which is of course another gendered thing. Do I really not want someone to pay for my meal, or am I just afraid of the gendered implications it has for me? Plus, I’m struggling to think of a chivalrous act a nonmasculine person could traditionally do. Offer a kiss? Look like arm candy in all respects, and bid my 1940’s sitcom-father away from his shotgun? How dreary. And if it takes a couple dollars worth of recyclables to make me more ambitious with romance, then at least that’s a place to start.  My escapade at that party wasn’t the first time in college I’ve outwardly flirted with people, and it’s definitely landed me in some embarrassing situations. So while I can’t necessarily recommend going all Yuri-Katsuki on your romantic prospects, because mixed results will arise, I can say that being romantically bold is a major confidence boost. I’m starting to realize how important it is to express my femininity how and when I want, and have relationships that allow me to do that. And that’s definitely something worth raising a toast to.

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