Typically when pitching a piece, you need to have a “relevant edge” — a recent news item, piece of pop culture, something beyond yourself to warrant discussing something you want to talk about.
Typically, I dislike pitching for this reason. It operates on the assumption that your lived experiences are only worth talking about if they relate to something currently trending — I have to wonder if that is part of the reason why so many women started speaking up about sexual harassment only after the allegations against Harvey Weinstein came out, and the harmful effect that “only talk about it if it’s already being discussed” mentality has on our social conversation. Also I’m impatient and don’t think my words have value beyond me saying them.
This is all to say: I want to talk about something and I have nothing to pull you in, but I feel like it’s something worth talking about (for free), so I’m blogging about it here (also: for free). Am I pathetic and dumb and just not good enough to get my pitches accepted to somewhere that wants to pay me to tell their readers what I think? Yes! So glad we cleared that up!
Let’s lay out the scene: You’re at a bar, celebrating your friend’s birthday. You aren’t very dressed up, but you showered and put on some makeup so people wouldn’t feel so sad as soon as they see you, because your un-makeup’ed face has that effect on people. Your look says: I kind of tried because I care about my friend whose birthday this is, but this whole “looking nice” thing isn’t really my thing. All the pictures taken of you that night surprise you by how scary you look and, in turn, how poorly they convey how much fun you had.
While at this bar party (hereafter “barty”), you start chatting to someone standing next to you. It’s a guy. He’s your age, looks like every other guy in a Williamsburg bar in 2018 — vaguely tech bro but without the money. You ask him if he’s here for the barty.
“Yeah, me and [MUTUAL FRIEND’S NAME WHO I’VE JUST DECIDED IS PETE DAVIDSON] go way back. We went to high school together and her boyfriend was my roommate in college.”
Oh, you thought Pete Davidson was a guy? Not very woke of you, reader.
“Oh that’s so cool!” you respond, even though you both know it’s not. “Well, not cool. But kinda neat,” you add. You both chuckle at the honesty. “I’m Dete Pavidson,” the guy tells you. You smile expectantly, politely waiting for him to make a joke about the names you’re sure he thought up years ago. He doesn’t tell one. It’s fine. It’s a little weird but it’s fine. You stick out your hand and introduce yourself.
“Nice to meet you, Dete. I’m Kylie Minogue.”
You wait another beat, expecting him to make a comment about your name like everyone always does. He doesn’t offer one. You briefly worry this guy has recently suffered a concussion, but you brush it off because it’s not unusual for guys to just completely whiff these perfect openings.
After some time, you find yourselves talking about, I don’t know, Aaron Sorkin, and you come to the agreement that Aaron Sorkin is a valuable writer for those looking to expand their existing skillset but terrible for new writers who only consume Sorkin content trying to emulate him. It’s too distinct a voice! Too easy to copy! And that’s a big part of why Sorkin has become a cliche at this point. Boy, you sure are smart and this is so well thought-out and definitely not just something you came up with right now as you’re typing this and have zero evidence to back up your claim because it’s one you made off-hand right now and holy shit stop writing this sentence.
An hour later. You’ve chatted with lots of other folks, wished your female friend, Pete Davidson, a happy birthday, and are having A Nice Time. The energy of the party is settling into a comfortable low buzz. You spot Dete sitting alone and decide to talk to him again, because you’re party pals now and hey maybe you’ll become pals in real life too?! Who knows!
“Hey, Dete!” you say.
“Hey! Kylie, right?” Dete responds.
“Yep, that is definitely my name. You enjoying things?” The conversation continues in this vein of blandness until you, expert conversationalist, manage to pivot it into something Cooler and More Intellectually Stimulating because it seems like Dete is kind of bored?
You make a comment that it’s hard putting your cats on a diet because sometimes it means having to text your roommate to ask if she can feed them because you’ll be out late, but there’s no way of telling if she has fed them because, since they’re on a diet, they act like they’re starving 100% of the time. After a beat, where it’s clear Dete has heard 0% of the excellent content you’ve just said, Dete says:
Yeah, MY GIRLFRIEND likes dogs.
In your brain, you say: Uh. Okay…
Out of your mouth, you say: Uh. That’s… cool?
And this, friends, is what I call: The GIRLFRIEND LINE.
THE GIRLFRIEND MOVE.
I’m still tinkering with it.
Despite me not having a pristine label for what this is, it is undoubtedly a thing that men do when they have made the assumption that a human female of inferior quality who is choosing to interact with a man must be doing so because she wants to sexually engage with him.
There’s never a good time to drop the G-bomb. There are natural, organic ways to mention your girlfriend or wife or partner in conversation, but the G-bomb is done in a deliberate attempt to signal to the woman talking to you that you are not sexually interested in her, even if she wasn’t asking in the first place, because you’ve decided of your own volition that you’ve gotta take a stand and make this woman know you only see her as someone who is interested in fucking you, but you are too good for her so she should stop any efforts to fuck you, regardless of whether or not they exist in the first place. The dropping of a G-bomb hinges on a failure to read the signs and to really think way too highly of yourself.
Your friendship with Dete Pavidson is hereby denied. Your acquaintanceship, socializationship, party palship, and even general comfort level at this party are all finito.
Let’s re-imagine this scene, where Dete isn’t a dumb baby and is actually a self-actualized adult capable of reading the room. Let’s see what it looks like when a guy mentions his partner without it being a G-bomb.
You start chatting. You have easy, casual conversation. You find each other agreeable and you think, hey, this is a pretty cool person!
Wait I want to interrupt myself real quick: it’s weird that these guys who drop the G-bomb never seem to have girlfriends who want to attend social gatherings with them, right? Okay, anyway!
So you’ve decided, that’s a decent human, nice to know! You continue socializing at the party and, an hour later, you spot your proto-pal Dete sitting alone. You walk up, “Hiya, Dete!”
“Hey! You enjoying the party alright?” he asks.
“Yeah, it’s pretty chill. I had to text my roommate asking her to feed my cats [etc. etc., the cat thing again].”
“Haha ah man, I know that feeling. Our dog’s been kinda under the weather lately and my girlfriend refuses to leave him alone at night-”
So that’s where she is!
“-Whenever we went out of town and couldn’t take him, it was always like, “Is our dog going to be alive when we get home?” I’m thinking about getting a nannycam just so I can see what he does during the day.”
See? No G-bomb. Not even a G-grenade. That’s just a person, interacting with another person, about a shared experience. I guess the big difference between mentioning your girlfriend and mentioning your girlfriend because you’re afraid the person you’re talking to is going to try hitting on you is with the former, you’re just sharing openly because you’re secure in your life and yourself and have bothered to do like, the smallest amount of personal growth to better interact with others. The latter is you don’t know how to interact with women because don’t they literally only exist for your consumption and sexual needs? Why would you want to be friends with an animated Fleshlight?
For several years, I was what experts would call “alright, I guess.” Like, guys wouldn’t see me on the street and immediately AWOOOGA at me, but I still had to wear a fake engagement ring to the laundromat so guys wouldn’t try chatting me up while I washed my period underwear.
Once I hit a size 12, I stopped having to wear the ring. When I hit a size 14, I could slip into a party and go completely unnoticed by every human male while I chatted it up with all the ladies. At size 16, I could be speaking to someone, making direct eye contact with them, and in the middle of my sentence, they just walk away or start their own conversation with someone else right next to us. This has happened on multiple occasions. I don’t know what would happen at size 18 and up because I’d need a more sedentary life devoid of healthy food: I’m 5'1" and work a physically rigorous job in a store full of ultra-healthy food, where I acquire a majority of what I eat.
At my height, gaining two pounds is noticeable. Let’s break it down so we can get an idea of what this [gestures to self] looks like.
I’m 5'1" and a size 14. I recently found out I weigh 183lbs. If I was 5'4", the average height for U.S. women, I’d clock in at 198lbs. If I were a 5'9" man, the average height for U.S. men, I’d weigh 233lbs. But I’m 183lbs, squished down into barely 61 inches. I look like an angry baby, but also sort of like your gramma.
A healthy weight for my body is around or below 130lbs, but there’s some wiggle room in terms of how “good” weight looks on my short frame until around 160lbs.
I’m only talking about me because it’s through my experiences that I’ve witnessed this pattern. Like I said before, I could try finding a “relevant edge” to this, with like, research backing my claim or whatever, but it’s just a culmination of me observing patterns of behavior. I’m the research, goddamn it.
I’ve been the fat girl and the thin girl, the pretty one and the one who makes the rest of the group look even hotter. After I passed 160, I have not gone longer than 20 seconds interacting with a man without him dropping a G-bomb, an ex-G-bomb, a “Sorry, I need to use the bathroom and then never talk to you again”-bomb, or any number of ways to try escaping my treacherous, chubby grasp. At this point I’ve heard so many G-bombs, I have to hold back laughter whenever a guy thinks he needs to drop one. We’re talking 30-something year old men, awkwardly mentioning their girlfriends and wives because they’re talking to a fat schlub and what if that fat schlub thinks she has a chance?!
It really is astounding that men don’t seem to realize how obvious their G-bombs are and how they only ever seem to use them on women of a certain size. But what’s really wild is having a G-bomb dropped on you and then seeing that same girlfriend-having guy chatting up a conventionally attractive woman for the rest of the night. Suddenly, the guy who dropped a G-bomb on you, or who you saw drop it on another gal, or who is dropping G-bombs on every non-conventionally attractive woman at this barty like it’s some sort of tic is fully absorbed in chatting up and joking with that one gorgeous girl who has probably never heard of a G-bomb, or the only guys who’ve dropped it on her have been outrageously attractive billionaires with perfect jawlines.
Hello! We see what you’re doing! And it’s really shitty!
I mean, I once had a guy who used to weigh over 300lbs tell me I didn’t have an “active enough lifestyle” for him, because for some reason that’s a thing men think is okay to say to a woman? I’ve had tons of guys tell me they’re “not looking for anything serious” or who tell me all sorts of wonderful things and, only after we’ve hooked up, bother to mention that they have a girlfriend, as a way of making sure I don’t get any ideas (?!?!?!?!?!?!). I understand my position in the universe and in relation to ain’t shit dudes. I also understand that men as a whole are incapable of understanding their emotions, let alone clearly communicating them to someone else without packaging it in some bullshit that just makes everyone uncomfortable.
It’s all bullshit to avoid getting attached to someone who isn’t of value to your social standing, which is backed by an assumption that you’re worth great things and society has taught you that a hot piece of ass is a “great thing.”
I don’t want people to tell me “Oh, but you’re pretty!” or “I’d date you!” or any of that nonsense. I just want to be highlight how blatantly men treat women who aren’t conventionally attractive like shit, and how the G-bomb is one of the most prevalent and worst moves a guy can make.
You’re not special because you have a girlfriend. You’re not better than the person you’re talking to. You owe it to your partner to not use them as a crutch and you owe it to yourself to look at why you assume every woman you talk to might be interested in you romantically, why you feel the need to bluntly establish romantic boundaries when engaging with women without regard for whether or not they’re even in that mindset, and why you think those boundaries might be broken if you don’t honk “MY GIRLFRIEND” at all the fat, frumpy, chubby, bland, gap-toothed, kinky-haired women you don’t want to fuck, but notably out of earshot of the smokin’ hot lean, straight-teethed, doe-eyed ladies you don’t have a chance with who you do want to fuck.
At the end of the day, the G-bomb is an ain’t shit move for ain’t shit dudes who need to spend some time examining the motives for their behaviors, how to become better at interacting with other people, and why they universally choose to drop G-bombs on specific unsuspecting women.
Also, you’re better off learning how to stop dropping G-bombs altogether because we specific women have gotten them enough times, we’ve learned how to harness them like a weapon. There is no telling how we’ll react if one more man pushes romantic boundaries onto a platonic conversation just because we don’t look like the kind of women he wants to fuck, but I can already guarantee you it’ll be painful and embarrassing.